(JNS.org) The Israeli government Sunday announced a plan to shutter the Jerusalem offices of the Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent accusations that the Arab network is inciting violence in Israel.
Israel would join Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in curtailing Al Jazeera’s operations in their countries amid similar accusations of incitement, coming against the backdrop of the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Qatar and Arab states over Qatar’s support for terrorist groups.
In addition to closing down Al Jazeera’s bureau in Israel, the Israeli government would revoke the media credentials of journalists affiliated with the network and pull the station’s broadcasts from the Jewish state’s television and satellite services, Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said Sunday.
Kara urged Israel’s Government Press Office to revoke the press cards of Al Jazeera reporters, and outlined a five-point plan that would see the Qatari network gradually shut down in Israel. He also announced plans to advance legislation that would enable the Israeli government to place security concerns above freedom of expression in special cases.
“Our citizens’ security and welfare overcomes freedom of expression in times of terror, period. Freedom of expression is not freedom to incite,” Kara said.
Al Jazeera said Sunday it “denounces” the Israeli government’s decision. Previously, the network had vowed to pursue “all necessary legal measures” to prevent the closure of its Jerusalem offices.