(JNS.org) Nitzan Chen, director of Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO), decided Wednesday to “suspend his decision” on rescinding the press credentials of Al Jazeera reporter Elias Karram. The Arab journalist had faced the suspension over allegations of biased reporting on the Jewish state and support for armed Palestinian “resistance.”
Israel’s decision was based on findings from Karram’s Aug. 21 GPO hearing and investigations by Israeli security agencies. During his hearing, Karram said he “had no intention of supporting or expressing sympathy for armed resistance,” according to the GPO.
“Freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of the GPO, but we will not accept a situation in which an official certification issued by the State of Israel will serve as a tool for those who exploit it for public struggle against the country,” said Chen.
“Unfortunately, there have been reports lately, on Al Jazeera television network, which do not meet factual, public and professional standards,” he said, adding that the GPO will “monitor” Al Jazeera’s reports in Israel, in both Arabic and English.
In mid-August, Chen said Karram’s press credentials would be revoked due to the correspondent informing the television station Dar al-Iman that he actively supports the Palestinians over Israel in his reports.
The move followed the Israeli government’s announcement earlier in August that it plans to shutter the Jerusalem offices of the Qatar-based broadcaster. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently accused the Arab network of inciting violence in Israel.