Netanyahu looking to shut down Al Jazeera in Israel for 'inciting violence'

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 28, 2017

News outlet also accuses Netanyahu of supporting a regional blockade of Qatar.

Accusing Al Jazeera of inciting recent violence in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he wants to close the offices of the Qatari broadcaster in Israel. The events have been widely reported, including in hourly, live updates by Al-Jazeera.

A number of Arab countries have recently shut down their local al-Jazeera offices amid an ongoing spat with Qatar but Israel, which often touts its press freedoms, has allowed the station to continue operating.

The plan, first presented by Lieberman in 2004, and in particular, its provision that stipulates that Arab Israelis will have their citizenship revoked once the towns they live in are relinquished, drew ire from the majority of Arab Israelis and has not found support with Israeli political establishment.

"Al-Jazeera stresses that it will take all necessary legal measures (if Israel) acts on its threat", the network said in a statement issued in Doha.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu's threats to close Al-Jazeera's Jerusalem office or to rewrite the law to allow the broadcaster to be expelled smack of authoritarianism and are wholly inconsistent with the democratic image Israel wishes to project overseas", CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington, D.C. "Netanyahu should stop threatening the media and should respect all journalists' right to do their jobs without fear of retaliation".

Qatar's iconoclastic approach has meant it is more open to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, but it also has meant that it is the Gulf Arab state with the most open ties with Israel.

Netanyahu, who frequently warns about Shi'ite Iran's threat to the region, has said Israel should cooperate more with Sunni Muslim neighbours such as Saudi Arabia against Tehran.

Noura al-Kaabi, the UAE minister for the federal national council, said the Emirates sought "fundamental change and restructuring" of Al Jazeera rather than to shut it. In 2014, the Arab state jailed three of the network's staffers for seven years and closed its offices. Two staffers have been released but a third remains imprisoned.

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