Israel to close Al Jazeera offices, take network off-air

Posted August 07, 2017

Al Jazeera news vowed to continue reporting on "events of occupied Palestinian territories professionally and accurately", despite official plans by Israel to shut down its offices in Jerusalem.

The official, who declined to be named, said the broadcaster "will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures".

Israel said yesterday it planned to close the offices of Al-Jazeera in the state, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Arab satellite news broadcaster of incitement.

The revocation of credentials includes journalists from Al Jazeera's Arabic and English news networks.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan both shut down Al Jazeera bureaus as part of the diplomatic and economic campaign against Qatar, home to Al Jazeera's headquarters.

"Al-Jazeera is surprised by the announcement of the Israeli minister of communications in his justification that the decision is consistent with what has been done by Arab countries. namely Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt", the Al-Jazeera official said in Doha.

"Al Jazeera will continue to cover the events of the occupied Palestinian territories professionally and accurately, according to the standards set by global agencies, such as the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom)".

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Mr Turnbull was later asked why the government hadn't beefed up resources along with stepping up security. What is the impact on travel? Mr Turnbull said the arrangements could remain for some time.

Mr Netanyahu accused the pan-Arab TV channel of fuelling a recent crisis around a holy site in Jerusalem known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Al Jazeera has come under attack from several governments in the region in recent months to the concern of free press campaigners.

There was no immediate comment from Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar but journalists working for the station in Israel said they did not expect imminent moves against them. "Here in Israel, there is no place for a channel that backs terrorism either". Netanyahu heads what is seen as the most right-wing government in Israeli history.

Palestinians refused to enter the site for almost two weeks over the new security measures imposed after three Israeli Arabs shot dead the policemen nearby.

Qatar's Arabic-language news channel first launched in 1996, and shook up the media landscape in the Middle East by airing criticisms of governments and rulers in the region.

Israel accuses for years this chain of bias in its coverage of the conflict against the Palestinians. "Israel should abandon these undemocratic plans and allow Al-Jazeera and all journalists to report freely from the country and areas it occupies".