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

Israel plans to follow the lead of several Arab countries by banning broadcaster Al-Jazeera

"The collusion by Netanyahu with his Arab autocratic neighbors leaves little doubt that free independent media and truth are ready to be sacrificed as collateral damage in the power politics of the region", Al Jazeera's Jerusalem bureau chief, Walid Omary, wrote in an opinion piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Israel has long presented itself as a bastion of press freedom in a region where government restrictions on the media are commonplace, and has pointed to Al Jazeera's presence in Jerusalem as proof of the nation's liberal values.

"I will go through the legislatory mechanism to create the authority in which I can act freely", Kara said.

The minister accused the network of "supporting terrorism", Reuters reported. Al Jazeera said in a statement late on Sunday.

According to Kara, this announcement came as a direct continuation of the decision made by a majority of the Gulf Sunni states, who determined that Al Jazeera supports terrorism and religious extremism.

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.

Kara announced his intentions to request that the Government Press Office revoke Al Jazeera reporters within Israel of their press passes and to contact the cable companies, who expressed willingness on their part towards blacking out the news agency's broadcasts.

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The broadcaster "will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures", he added. However, it is also controversial within the Arab world.

"The prime minister is not too pleased with the constant incitement that you see and hear on Al Jazeera, a lot of it in Arabic".

The Foreign Press Association in Israel criticized the planned measures.

The move follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call for the station's offices to be shut down, accusing it of inflaming tensions around Al-Aqsa mosque, the Jerusalem holy site where Palestinians staged an nearly two-week protest last month against Israeli security measures installed after a deadly shootout.

Others, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have blocked its channel and websites.

The Al Jazeera official defended its coverage, saying it was "professional and objective".

Palestinians refused to enter the site for almost two weeks over the new security measures imposed after three Israeli Arabs shot dead the policemen nearby.

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