Over the weekend, the nation of Israel joined other Middle Eastern nations in moving to ban the news network Al Jazeera from operations within the country and also the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israeli communications minister Ayoob Kara announced Saturday that press cards for the network’s reporters would be revoked, and the network’s Jerusalem bureau closed with cable and satellite transmissions shut down.
These actions follow four Arabic nations in the region — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — demanding Al Jazeera close, following diplomatic strains with the nation of Qatar, which is accused of promoting terrorism in the region. Al Jazeera Media Network receives significant funding from the ruling royal family in Qatar.
“Lately, almost all countries in our region determined that al-Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalization,” said Kara. “And when we see that all these countries have determined as fact that Al Jazeera is a tool of the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, and we are the only one who have not determined that, then something delusional is happening here.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post that tensions with the network centered over a holy site in Jerusalem.
“The Al-Jazeera channel continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount,” he wrote. “I have appealed to law enforcement agencies several times to close the Al Jazeera office in Jerusalem… If this is not possible because of legal interpretation, I am going to seek to have the necessary legislation adopted to expel Al Jazeera from Israel.”
The networked denounced the announcement, saying Israel could not substantiate their allegations by referring to “a single news bulletin or situation” to defend their actions. They called the actions “undemocratic.”
Al Jazeera said it would take all necessary legal measures, and would continue to cover “news and events in the occupied Palestinian territories in a professional and objective manner in accordance with the common journalistic standards set by the relevant international organizations, such as the British Broadcasting Code of Ofcom.”