Israel targets Al Jazeera offices; to take the network off-air

Israel targets Al Jazeera offices; to take the network off-air

Israel targets Al Jazeera offices; to take the network off-air

Israel said on Sunday it planned to close the local offices of al-Jazeera, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Arab satellite news broadcaster of incitement behind deadly terror attacks.

Kara also noted that a Saudi Arabia-led alliance that severed ties with Qatar last month had demanded the closing of Al Jazeera among its conditions for ending the dispute.

Al-Jazeera "deplores" Israel's decision to close the broadcaster's offices in the Jewish state and will pursue the matter through legal channels, an official at the Doha-based news channel said Sunday.

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera senior political analyst, said the latest move by Israel shows a "synergy" of "dictatorships" in the Arab world and "dictatorship of military occupation in Palestine".

Al Jazeera journalists have been arrested in Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan have shut down its offices in their respective countries.

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Al Jazeera news vowed to continue reporting on "events of occupied Palestinian territories professionally and accurately", despite official plans by Israel to shut down its offices in Jerusalem.

The minister said that both Arabic and English-language channels of Al Jazeera would be banned. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has likened its coverage to "Nazi Germany-style" propaganda.

Al Jazeera says its journalists were barred from the press conference where the announcement was made.

Al Jazeera has condemned the decision.

Al Jazeera said in July it would take all necessary legal measures if Israel acts on its threat.

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Mr Netanyahu had accused the pan-Arab TV channel of fuelling a recent crisis around a holy site in Jerusalem known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

"Regimes that want to control power will nearly always go after two targets-the media and the foreigners", the American University in Beirut's Rami Khouri told Al Jazeera.

Netanyahu's statement came as Jerusalem experienced one of its most tense periods in years after Israel installed new security measures including metal detectors at the entrance of the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

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

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