Israel’s Communications Minister, Ayoob Kara, speaking August 6th, said he plans on revoking the press credentials of Al Jazeera’s journalists, and in effect banning the news channel from operating in Israel.
Al Jazeera, in response, says it will take legal action against the decision, and described the threats as “undemocratic”. The channel said it will continue operating in the Gaza Strip and out of the occupied West Bank region.
Kara added that he has already asked Israel’s cable and DTH satellite operators to block Al Jazeera’s transmissions.
However, Kara would need approval from the Knesset (parliament) to move forward with some elements of the plan.
“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.”
Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, condemned the move. “Al-Jazeera had a big role conveying the Palestinian narrative with a high professionalism,” said Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman.
The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories for international news organisations, speaking to the Voice of America, said the move was “certainly a cause for concern,” adding that it would study the issue and decide how to proceed.