Al-Jazeera dismisses Netanyahu's threat

Qatari-owned network rejects Netanyahu's call to have it expelled from Israel due to incitement.

Elad Benari,

Al-Jazeera
Al-Jazeera
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The Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network on Thursday rejected calls from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to have it expelled from Israel due to incitement.

Netanyahu had pledged on Wednesday to work to remove Al-Jazeera from Israel.

"The Al-Jazeera network does not cease to incite to violence around the Temple Mount. I have appealed to law enforcement agencies several times to close the Al-Jazeera office in Jerusalem. If this is not done due to legal interpretation, I will work to enact the necessary laws to remove Al-Jazeera from Israel," he declared.

The network responded on Thursday, condemning what it called "arbitrary accusations and hostile statements."

It added it would "take all necessary legal measures in case they act on their threat," saying its coverage was professional and objective.

The Yediot Aharonot newspaper reported last month that Netanyahu is considering closing Al-Jazeera's offices in Israel, and that the government press office, foreign ministry, and defense establishment began work on the matter.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman later said he backed the move.

"There is no reason for Al-Jazeera to continue to transmit from Israel. It is not media, it is a propaganda outfit in the style of the Soviets or Nazi Germany," he said, adding, "All the reporting on Israel is biased and hostile, while the channel says nothing about Iran."

Most of the network's 34 employees in Israel are Israeli Arabs whose dismissal will likely lead to petitions to the Supreme Court of Justice.

The Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera has come under fire over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has accused Al-Jazeera in general, and its Egypt affiliate, Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, in particular, of doing Doha's bidding by serving as Islamists' mouthpiece at a time of a ferocious crackdown on their ranks.

The station denies any bias, saying it is simply covering Islamist protests.




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