Al Jazeera slams Netanyahu bid to shut Jerusalem office

Doha-based news outlet says Israeli leader’s defamatory claims are the latest episode of an ‘ongoing vicious attack’ against the network.

An employee walks inside an office of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network in Jerusalem
Benjamin Netanyahu threatens to shut down Al Jazeera's offices in Jerusalem, accusing the network of inciting tensions around Al-Aqsa Mosque [Reuters]

Al Jazeera has denounced a threat by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to close the network’s Jerusalem office, saying it will continue to cover events in the Palestinian territories professionally and objectively.

The Doha-based media network responded on Thursday, hours after the Israeli leader posted defamatory comments about the outlet’s coverage to his Facebook page, saying Al Jazeera journalists “incite violence”.

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Al Jazeera “denounces such arbitrary accusations and hostile statements”, a press release from the network said.

Netanyahu’s comments mark “yet another episode of the ongoing vicious attack” against Al Jazeera, the statement read, referring to calls by a Saudi-led group boycotting Qatar to close the network.

“Al Jazeera stresses that it would take all necessary legal measures in case they act on their threat,” the statement continued.

“The network moreover reiterates that it will continue covering the news and events of the occupied Palestinian territories, and elsewhere, both professionally and objectively.”

Netanyahu has long complained about Al Jazeera’s coverage.

His latest comments come amid a major fallout between Israeli authorities and Palestinians over Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“The Al Jazeera network continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount,” he wrote on social media late on Wednesday, referring to recent events at the Muslim holy site in Jerusalem that is known as Temple Mount to Jews.

“I have appealed several times to law enforcement authorities demanding the closure of the Al Jazeera Jerusalem office,” he continued. “If this does not happen because of legal interpretation, I will work to legislate the required laws in order to remove Al Jazeera from Israel.”

Source: Al Jazeera