Joining Arab states, Israel to ban Al-Jazeera
JERUSALEM, Middle East — Israel has said that it plans to ban Qatar’s flagship Al-Jazeera network from operating in the country over allegations it incites violence, joining Arab nations that have shut down the broadcaster amid a separate political dispute. The news organization, in turn, said it will take legal action.
Communications Minister Ayoob Kara said on Sunday that he plans to revoke the press credentials of Al-Jazeera journalists, effectively preventing them from working in Israel.
Kara said he has asked cable and satellite networks to block Al-Jazeera transmissions and is seeking legislation to ban them altogether.
“We are going to set steps to demonstrate our war against terror and radical Islam,” he said.
The minister, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, gave no timetable.
Doha-based Al-Jazeera, on its English language website, condemned the measures as “undemocratic” and said that it will take legal action. It said it will continue operating in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Walid al-Omari, the broadcaster’s bureau chief in Jerusalem, said on air that his office has not been informed by Israeli officials of any possible measures the government might take.
Al-Jazeera, a pan-Arab satellite network funded by the Qatari government, already has been targeted by Arab nations now isolating Qatar as part of a political dispute over Doha’s politics and alleged support for extremists that started in June.
Jordan and Saudi Arabia have recently closed Al-Ja- zeera’s local offices, while the channel and its affiliate sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.
“Lately, almost all countries in our region determined that Al-Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalization,” Kara said.
Israeli officials have long accused Al-Jazeera of bias against the Jewish state. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has likened its coverage to “Nazi Germanystyle” propaganda.
Lee Jae-yong, vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, arrives for his trial at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul on Monday.