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Israel targets Al Jazeera offices; to take the network off-air

The Israel government is planning to take action against Al Jazeera’s local offices in Israel and wants to revoke the licenses provided to its journalists. Israeli communication minister Ayoub Kara said that the news channel has been found to be supporting terrorism, which is why it would be taken off the air. The minister said that both Arabic and English-language channels of Al Jazeera would be banned. The decision comes in wake of the recent statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wherein he had said that Al Jazeera was inciting violence and promoting terrorism. Netanyahu had accused Al Jazeera of encouraging a recent crisis that took place around a holy site in Jerusalem known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif. The Jews call it the Temple Mount.

However, Al Jazeera has denied such allegations and said that it is an independent media agency. In recent times, Al Jazeera has been accused of airing biased news stories by several governments in the region. Earlier, Saudi Arabia and Jordan had shut bureaux of the Qatari-funded broadcaster. This was done as part of the ongoing diplomatic isolation campaign against Qatar. Completely shutting down the network was one of the 13 demands that were proposed by the four Arab nations. Al Jazeera continues to defend itself by saying that it was the first Arabic channel to present Israeli politicians and commentators on its various programs. However, Israel has been consistently accusing Al Jazeera of featuring biased news stories related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

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