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August 6, 2017 11:40 am

Netanyahu Praises Communications Minister’s Decision to Close Al Jazeera’s Israel Office

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Al Jazeera’s English newsroom in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised Communications Minister Ayoob Kara’s recent decision to close the Qatari-based news channel Al Jazeera’s Israel office.

“I congratulate Minister of Communications Ayoob Kara,” Netanyahu tweeted on Sunday, “who, in accordance with my instructions, took practical steps today to stop Al-Jazeera‘s incitement in Israel.”

Earlier on Sunday, Reuters reported that Kara decided to close the station for “supporting terrorism” and that he will “revoke press credentials of Al-Jazeera TV journalists, close their Jerusalem bureau and pull the Qatar-based station’s broadcasts from local cable and satellite providers.”

Haaretz World News Editor Asaf Ronel, however, tweeted that Kara only “wants” to close the channel but has not yet taken action. Indeed, Reuters notes that “further legislation” will be necessary in order to do so.

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Al Jazeera has met with accusations of anti-Israel bias and antisemitism for years. However, it is also controversial within the Arab world. In particular, it has been accused of serving as a mouthpiece for the government of Qatar and a supporter of Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al Jazeera journalists have been arrested in Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan have shut down its offices in their respective countries. Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states issued a series of demands to Qatar in February that included the station’s immediate and permanent closure.

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