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Israel attempts to shut down Al Jazeera's office and ban journalists

07 August 2017

The Shin-Bet, Israel's domestic security agency, has started investigating Al Jazeera's operations and will produce a report that will determine whether it should be shut down and if its journalists' credentials should be revoked, Nitzan Chen, director of the Government Press Office in Jerusalem, said in a telephone interview.

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.

Israeli Communications Ministry on Sunday announced to close the local offices of Al-Jazeera, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Qatar-based TV news broadcaster of incitement. Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to Kara "who on my instructions took concrete steps to end Al-Jazeera's incitement" in Israel. You can not fool me with Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic.

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

In his news conference, to which Al Jazeera was not invited, Kara said steps had to be taken against "media, which has been determined by nearly all Arab countries to actually be a supporter of terror, and we know this for certain".

Al Jazeera reported on its website that it was blocked from attending the news conference where Mr Kara made the announcement.

"Al Jazeera will continue to cover the events of the occupied Palestinian territories professionally and accurately, according to the standards set by worldwide agencies, such as the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom)".

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Palestinians refused to enter the site for almost two weeks over the new security measures imposed after three Israeli Arabs shot dead the policemen nearby.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan both shut bureaux of the Qatari-funded broadcaster as part of their diplomatic campaign against the tiny Gulf state. "It was aberrant in these conditions that this string continues to emit" from Israel, added the minister, Ayoub Kara.

Shutting the network was on a list of 13 demands by the four Arab nations leading a boycott of Qatar that were tabled in June.

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

Al Jazeera says it was the first Arabic channel to feature Israeli politicians and commentators on the air.

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

Israel attempts to shut down Al Jazeera's office and ban journalists