Israel’s Communications Minister confirms talks underway for shutdown of Al Jazeera in Israel

Communications Minister holding talks on Al Jazeera shutdown; Network threatens to take Israel to High Court; Israel following paths of Jordan, United Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain

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Israel has reportedly begun taking action on shutting down Al Jazeera in Israel with talks beginning this week.

According to Israel’s Communications Minister, Ayoud Kara, talks are underway to shut down the Qatari news station that has been inciting violence against Israel in its news reporting, Kara announcing on Monday that talks are being held on the “closure of Al Jazeera’s incitement broadcasts in Israel”.

Kara referred to action taken by Arab states before Israel, including the Bahrain, the United Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan which boycotted Al-Jazeera, with Jordan and Saudi Arabia shutting down the network in June of this year. All fives states officially cut ties with Qatar in early June over its support and sponsoring of terrorism.

Kara stated on Monday “We [Israel] identify with the moderates in the Arab World who are fighting terrorism and religious extremism. Here in Israel, there is no place for a channel that backs terrorism either. We will act like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and more, which expelled the inciting channel from their countries. We must join forces and cooperate in the war against channels that preach terrorism.”

Last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that Israel would be next to ban the news network, stating “The Al-Jazeera network continues to stir violence around the Temple Mount. I have spoken several times to law-enforcement authorities demanding the closure of Al-Jazeera’s offices in Jerusalem. If this does not happen because of legal interpretation, I will work to enact the required legislation to expel Al-Jazeera from Israel.”

Al Jazeera responded, accusing Israel of violating free speech and of acting like a dictatorship, its Bureau Chief in Jerusalem, Walid al-Omari, threatening to take Israel to the High Court. He stated following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement last week, “If they try to discontinue our activity in Israel and close our office here, we will petition the High Court of Justice. How can Israel continue to argue to the world that it is part of a democratic and universal dialogue if it behaves like a dark dictatorship?”

It referred to Netanyahu’s actions as a “crusade” against the network, claiming that “In an effort to repair the damage to his image caused by the Temple Mount crisis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he will attempt to shut down Al Jazeera’s Israel bureau, again.”

Last week, Al Jazeera claimed that Israel’s accusations as “arbitrary” and “hostile”, announcing that if removed, “Al Jazeera stresses that it would take all necessary legal measures in case they act on their threat.” It claimed that its “network moreover reiterates that it will continue covering the news and events of the occupied Palestinian territories, and elsewhere, both professionally and objectively.”