Israel to Revoke Credentials, Close Local Operations of Al Jazeera

Israeli minister asks for closure of Al Jazeera's offices in Jerusalem

Israel plans to shut down Al Jazeera's Jerusalem office, stop transmitting its broadcasts and strip the Qatar-based channel's journalists of their credentials, the country's communications minister said Sunday.

Israel plans to ban the Al Jazeera news network from operating in the country over accusations it is "a supporter of terror".

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's Scott Heidler, reporting from Jerusalem on Sunday, said that the request to revoke the credentials cover all the networks journalists in both the Arabic and English channels.

Mr Netanyahu wrote on Facebook on 26 July that he wanted Al Jazeera expelled amid tensions over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site.

Kara, who is of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, said he wants to shut down pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera in the country because the station is allegedly used by militant groups to "incite" violence.

"Al-Jazeera will follow the folder through legal procedures and appropriate legal", he said.

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According to Kara, this announcement came as a direct continuation of the decision made by a majority of the Gulf Sunni states, who determined that Al Jazeera supports terrorism and religious extremism.

The ministry added that it had become "ridiculous that the channel continued to broadcast from Israel".

Journalists working for the station in Israel said they did not expect imminent moves against them and Walid al-Omari, the broadcaster's bureau chief in Jerusalem, said his office has not been informed by Israeli officials of any possible measures the government might take.

The Doha-based media network denounced the measures from a country that claims to be "the only democracy in the Middle East". "If this does not happen because of legal interpretation, I will work to enact the required legislation to expel Al Jazeera from Israel", Netanyahu added. The site saw violent clashes in recent weeks.

The Al Jazeera official defended its coverage, saying it was "professional and objective".

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

Kara claimed that such extreme measures are ostensibly meant to improve journalistic practice in the country by creating "a situation that channels based in Israel will report objectively".

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