Israel Moves Forward With Plans to Ban Al Jazeera From Country

Communications minister says Qatar-based Al Jazeera 'supports terrorism and religious radicalization'

A Qatari employee of Al Jazeera Arabic language TV news channel walks past the logo of Al Jazeera in Doha, Qatar
A Qatari employee of Al Jazeera Arabic language TV news channel walks past the logo of Al Jazeera in Doha, Qatar Kamran Jebreili/AP

Israel plans to 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, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said on Sunday. 

Kara accused the station of "supporting terrorism" and said cable broadcasters had agreed to his proposal to take the station's Arabic and English channels off air. Closure of the station's office would require further legislation, he added.

"Lately, almost all countries in our region determined that Al-Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalization," Kara said. "And when we see that all these countries have determined as fact that Al-Jazeera is a tool of the Islamic State [group], Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, and we are the only one who have not determined that, then something delusional is happening here," he said.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his support for Kara shortly after the communications minister spoke to the press. "I congratulate Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, who, following my instructions, today took a series of practical steps to stop Al Jazeera's incitement in Israel," he wrote.

Two weeks ago, Netanyahu announced his intention to remove the pan-Arab network from the Israeli capital in a Facebook post. "The Al Jazeera network continues to incite to violence over the Temple Mount," he wrote. "I've appealed to law enforcement agencies several times, demanding that Al Jazeera's office in Jerusalem be closed. If this does not take place because of legal interpretation, I will work to enact the required legislation to expel Al Jazeera from Israel."

The network released a statement the next day that claimed that Netanyahu's threat was "yet another episode of the ongoing vicious attack" that the broadcaster is currently facing across the Middle East. Qatar, and Al Jazeera by extension, is currently facing an embargo from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.