Israel to ban al-Jazeera media company

Israel to ban al-Jazeera media companyIsrael prepared to ban al-Jazeera from operating in the country and in the occupied territories, joining a boycott by Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

This is reported by The Guardian.

The communications minister, Ayoob Kara, said press cards for al-Jazeera reporters would be revoked. His announcement follows a vow the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made in July to close the Jerusalem office of the Qatari state-funded news network.

The move had been foreshadowed in recent weeks as a diplomatic standoff simmered between Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which had made shutting down the network central to a list of demands delivered to the ruling family in Doha.

The GCC was following a cue from Riyadh, which moved to isolate Qatar in June, whose leaders it accuses of backing Saudi Arabia’s regional foes Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, and of sowing division in the region.

Qatar has long argued the channel gives a voice to all stakeholders in regional affairs and has regularly scheduled interviews with Israeli government officials – one of the few Arab networks to have done so.

The Israeli announcement came as the standoff shows no sign of ending. “Lately, almost all countries in our region determined that al-Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalisation,” said Kara. “And when we see that all these countries have determined as fact that al-Jazeera is a tool of the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, and we are the only one who has not determined that then something delusional is happening here.”

Al-Jazeera did not respond to the development, and the Israeli government offered no timetable for the shutdown. Nor was not immediately clear if the announcement included reporters from al-Jazeera English, which has a separate editorial team and is not considered by the network’s critics to be as strident as the Arabic network.
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