Israel’s Netanyahu Threatens to Shut Al-Jazeera Yerushalayim Office

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -
The Al Jazeera office in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said he would work to close the Yerushalayim offices of Qatar-based al-Jazeera, accusing the news network of inciting recent violence in the city.

Yerushalayim is experiencing one of its most tense periods in years as Palestinians protest heightened Israeli security measures near the Temple Mount compound, one of the city’s holiest sites, and the events have been widely reported, including by al-Jazeera.

“The al-Jazeera network continues to stir violence around the Temple Mount,” Netanyahu wrote on his social media page in Hebrew.

The Qatar-based network was not immediately available for comment.

The spike in tensions and the deaths of three Israelis and four Palestinians in violence on Friday and Saturday raised international alarm.

“I have spoken several times to law-enforcement authorities demanding to close al-Jazeera’s offices in Yerushalayim. If this does not happen because of legal interpretation, I will work to enact the required legislation to expel al-Jazeera from Israel,” the Israeli leader added in his post.

Al-Jazeera has also faced government censure in neighboring Egypt when, in 2014, the Arab state jailed three al-Jazeera staffers for seven years and closed the network’s offices. Two staffers have been released but a third remains imprisoned.