Netanyahu backs push to shut down Al Jazeera's Israel offices

Israeli minister asks for closure of Al Jazeera's offices in Jerusalem

Israel's communications minister announced on Sunday that he wanted to shut down the operations of Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera in the country.

Israel also wants to shut down Al Jazeera's cable and satellite transmissions in the country, the network reported. No timetable for the measures was given.

Israel announced on Sunday its intention to close the offices of Al-Jazeera, accused by the authorities of engaging in "incitement" to violence, announced that the israeli ministry of Communications.

"Lately, nearly all countries in our region determined that Al-Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalization", Kara said.

As the Guardian noted, Al Jazeera has faced crackdowns in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, with the latter four countries blocking its channel and "affiliate sites".

That has changed in the past month since Netanyahu blamed Al Jazeera's reporting for stirring passions against Israel that led to violent demonstrations, after the government installed metal detectors at the Jerusalem shrine following a shooting attack that killed two policemen.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently accused the broadcaster of incitement.

Al Jazeera has condemned the decision.

"Freedom of expression is not freedom to incite", he said, according to a ministry statement.

Walid al-Omari, the broadcaster's bureau chief in Jerusalem, said on air that his office has not been informed by Israeli officials of any possible measures the government might take. "The Al-Jazeera channel continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount", Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post, referring to the Haram Al-Sharif compound in Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Israel has long presented itself as a bastion of press freedom in a region where government restrictions on the media are commonplace, and has pointed to Al Jazeera's presence in Jerusalem as proof of the nation's liberal values.

"Al-Jazeera had a big role conveying the Palestinian narrative with a high professionalism", said Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman.

It also denied the charges its coverage of al-Aqsa Mosque unrest was unprofessional.

Kara claimed that such extreme measures are ostensibly meant to improve journalistic practice in the country by creating "a situation that channels based in Israel will report objectively".

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