Netanyahu Vows to Shut Al Jazeera in Israel Over Temple Mount Coverage

The news network incites to violence, the prime minister says, amid heightened tensions over the Temple Mount

he Al Jazeera Media Network logo is seen on its headquarters building in Doha, Qatar.
he Al Jazeera Media Network logo is seen on its headquarters building in Doha, Qatar. NASEEM ZEITOON/REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Wednesday he would work to close Al Jazeera’s office in Jerusalem, accusing the Qatar-based TV network of inciting to violence amid tensions over the Temple Mount.

“The Al Jazeera network continues to incite to violence over the Temple Mount,” Netanyahu said in a Facebook post.

“I’ve several times appealed to law enforcement agencies demanding to close Al Jazeera’s office in Jerusalem. If this does not happen due to legal interpretation, I will work to enact the required legislation to expel Al Jazeera from Israel.”

Last week, amid clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Al Jazeera last week published a video in which an Israeli officer is be seen kicking a Palestinian kneeling on what looks like a prayer mat. The network's reporter claimed that Israeli officers attacked the non-violent Palestinian protesters near the Temple Mount.

Israel on Tuesday removed contested metal detectors and security cameras that were installed at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount last week complex last week, following an attack in which two Israeli policeman were killed. As an act of civil protest, Palestinian worshippers refused to step through the metal detectors, and over the course of the following week, held their prayers outside the Temple Mount compound instead.

The government resisted the pressure and clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, in which four Palestinians were killed. On Friday, three members of an Israeli Jewish family were stabbed to death in the West Bank settlement of Halamish by a Palestinian assailant from a nearby village.