Israel to expel Al Jazeera, block broadcasts & revoke journalists' credentials

Workers at the al Jazeera offices in Jerusalem

Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara announced during a press conference about his intentions to constrict Qatari news agency Al Jazeera's activity within Israel due to Qatar's "support of terrorism".

Israel also wants to shut down Al Jazeera's cable and satellite transmissions in the country, the network reported.

There was no timetable given for the implementation of the measures.

The move follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call for the station's offices to be shut down, accusing it of inflaming tensions around Al-Aqsa mosque, the Jerusalem holy site where Palestinians staged an nearly two-week protest last month against Israeli security measures installed after a deadly shootout.

Al Jazeera has accused Israel of siding with Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, that are imposing an economic blockade on Qatar and have severed diplomatic relations with the kingdom.

An Al Jazeera official in the Qatari capital Doha told AFP that the channel "deplores this action from a state that is called the only democratic state in the Middle East, and considers what it has done is dangerous".

"I congratulate minister Kara, who upon my instructions, took practical steps today to stop Al Jazeera's incitement-filled activities", Netanyahu wote on twitter. Journalists and representatives from Al Jazeera were not permitted to attend.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses the broadcaster of "incitement".

"Freedom of expression is not freedom to incite", he said, according to a ministry statement.

Jordan also closed Al Jazeera's offices.

Israel has long presented itself as a bastion of press freedom in a region where government restrictions on the media are commonplace, and has pointed to Al Jazeera's presence in Jerusalem as proof of the nation's liberal values.

The official defended Al-Jazeera's coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, saying it is "professional and objective" and gives both sides of events.

The logo of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network is seen in one of their offices in Jerusalem June 13, 2017.

Netanyahu has, however, frequently criticized news media in general, accusing various outlets of seeking to undermine his government.

Last month, when reports first surfaced that the channel may be taken off the air, Al Jazeera stresses that it will take "all necessary legal measures (if Israel) acts on its threat".



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