Al Jazeera Says Netanyahu's Shut-down Threat Part of 'Ongoing Vicious Attack'

Qatari-based broadcaster promises to 'continue covering the news and events of the occupied Palestinian territories'

The Al Jazeera Media Network logo is seen inside its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, June 8, 2017.
NASEEM ZEITOON/REUTERS

Al Jazeera released a statement on Thursday in response to threats by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to shut down the media network's Jerusalem bureau. Al Jazeera said it was "yet another episode of the ongoing vicious attack" that the Qatari-based broadcaster is currently facing across the Middle East. 

Referring to the prime minister's Hebrew-language Facebook post in which he charged that the network's coverage of the Temple Mount crisis amounted to incitement to violence, Al Jazeera denounced the accusation as "arbitrary" and "hostile." It claimed it was part of an attack the news channel is currently facing from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt as part of their embargo on Qatar.

"The Al Jazeera network continues to incite to violence over the Temple Mount," Netanyahu wrote on Wednesday.

"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."

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

In its statement, Al Jazeera stressed that it would "take all necessary legal measures in case they act on their threat."

Seemingly unperturbed, the network said that they would "continue covering the news and events of the occupied Palestinian territories and elsewhere both professionally and objectively, in accordance with the common journalistic standards."