Israel seeks to ban Al-Jazeera in the country

August 06, 2017 - 9:44 am
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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel seeks to ban Qatar's flagship Al-Jazeera news network from operating in the country, joining regional Arab states that already shut the station after accusing the broadcaster of inciting violence, Communications Minister Ayoob Kara said Sunday.

Kara, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, said he wants to revoke press cards from Al-Jazeera reporters, which in affect prevents them from working in Israel.

Kara added he has asked cable and satellite networks to block their transmissions and is seeking legislation to ban them altogether.

No timetable for the measures was given.

Jordan and Saudi Arabia have recently closed Al-Jazeera's local offices, while the channel and its affiliate sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.

"Lately, almost all countries in our region determined that Al-Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalization," Kara said. "And when we see that all these countries have determined as fact that Al-Jazeera is a tool of the Islamic State (group), Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, and we are the only one who have not determined that, then something delusional is happening here," he said.

Israeli officials have long accused Al-Jazeera of bias against the Jewish state. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has likened its coverage to "Nazi Germany-style" propaganda.

Doha-based Al-Jazeera did not immediately respond to a request for comment, though its Arab and English channels immediately reported on the news.

Al-Jazeera, a pan-Arab satellite network funded by the Qatari government, already has been targeted by Arab nations now isolating Qatar as part of a months-long political dispute over Doha's politics and alleged support for extremists.

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Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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