Israel plans to revoke the media credentials of Al Jazeera TV journalists, close its Jerusalem bureau and pull the Qatar-based station's broadcasts from local cable and satellite providers. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
Israel says broadcaster Al Jazeera will be kicked out of the country. The government says it plans to revoke the credentials of Al Jazeera journalists, close its Jerusalem bureau and pull the station's broadcasts from local cable and satellite providers. The Israeli government accuses Al Jazeera of inciting violence in Jerusalem - a charge disputed by the Qatar-based station. It's now threatening legal action if the situation escalates from threats to action. Reuters correspondent Dan Williams in Jerusalem says communications minister Ayoub Kara gave two reasons for acting now: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, DAN WILLIAMS: "One he mentioned the recent surge of Palestinian unrest over Israel's handling of a contested holy site in Jerusalem and the other he referred quite frankly to moves in the Sunni Arab world against the channel, there is a wider fracture here, we've seen in recent week countries like Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan all moving in what appears to be a co-ordinated campaign against Al Jazeera on their territory." It doesn't look as if the closure will happen soon though, with several legal hurdles ahead. But the move will increase pressure on Qatar, already embroiled in a dispute with many of its Arab neighbors. It's not the first time Al Jazeera has been threatened with a switch off. In 2014 their offices were closed down in Egypt and some of their staff jailed. Now some see Monday's move as Israel's way of telling Qatar to change how it operates in the region.