Al Jazeera to be blocked in Israel

Employees of Qatar based news network and TV channel Al Jazeera are seen at their Jerusalem office

Employees of Qatar based news network and TV channel Al Jazeera are seen at their Jerusalem office

Al-Jazeera said it "deplores" Israel's decision to close the broadcaster's offices in the Jewish state and will pursue the matter through legal channels, an official at the Doha-based news channel said today.

Asked if shutting down Al Jazeera's operations would make Israel appear to oppose freedom of the press, an official close to the prime minister said the country accepted diverse opinions but not incitement.

He said the broadcaster "will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures".

Earlier on Sunday, Reuters reported that Kara made a decision to close the station for "supporting terrorism" and that he will "revoke press credentials of Al-Jazeera TV journalists, close their Jerusalem bureau and pull the Qatar-based station's broadcasts from local cable and satellite providers".

Al Jazeera journalists have been arrested in Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan have shut down its offices in their respective countries.

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

"Our coverage of events in the palestinian territories is professional and objective, and the Israelis have acknowledged a few times because we are keen to present the views and their opposites", he said. "Here in Israel, there is no place for a channel that backs terrorism either".

According to Al Jazeera, the Israeli authorities had also sought to shut down the network's satellite transmission into the country.

Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to Kara "who on my instructions took concrete steps to end Al-Jazeera's incitement" in Israel.

An employee walks inside an office of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network in Jerusalem. Netanyahu heads what is seen as the most right-wing government in Israeli history.

Netanyahu has, however, frequently criticized news media in general, accusing various outlets of seeking to undermine his government. The site saw violent clashes in recent weeks.

The pan-Arab network's offices in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, however, would not be affected by the current Israeli move.

Israel accuses for years this chain of bias in its coverage of the conflict against the Palestinians. Under a decades-old agreement, only Muslims are allowed to pray inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, although anyone can visit, including Jews.

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