Israel minister says he wants to revoke Al Jazeera's press cards

Aaron Brown
August 7, 2017

The closure did not appear imminent, however, and an Israeli official said a legal process was still required to implement most of the proposed steps.

He said he wants them [Al Jazeera] banned altogether.

The minister, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, gave no timetable for such measures.

"Al-Jazeera will follow the folder through legal procedures and appropriate legal", he said. It said it will continue operating in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The events were widely reported, including by Al Jazeera.

As the Guardian noted, Al Jazeera has faced crackdowns in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, with the latter four countries blocking its channel and "affiliate sites".

During a press conference, Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara announced his intentions to limit Qatari-owned Al Jazeera's activity within Israel.

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".

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The head of the Israeli government press office (GPO), Dr Nitsan Hen, said that according to GPO rules, press cards would not be permitted if it could be a "risk to national security". "I contacted other sources requesting to restrict the network's broadcasts to open satellites".

A decision will be made after receiving that opinion, he said.

Israel accuses for years this chain of bias in its coverage of the conflict against the Palestinians.

The Israeli ministry said it would also demand the revocation of the credentials of journalists working for the channel and cut its cable and satellite connections.

"We have identified media outlets that do not serve freedom of speech but endanger the security of Israel's citizens, and the main instrument has been Al Jazeera", Kara said. You can not fool me with Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic. The station defended its policy, saying the messages were newsworthy.

"The collusion by Netanyahu with his Arab autocratic neighbors leaves little doubt that free independent media and truth are ready to be sacrificed as collateral damage in the power politics of the region", Al Jazeera's Jerusalem bureau chief, Walid Omary, wrote in an opinion piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Aidan White, director of the London-based Ethical Journalism Network, described Israel's decision as "a full frontal attack" on press freedom.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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