Al-Jazeera rejects Israel’s decision to close its Jerusalem bureau

JERUSALEM: Al-Jazeera has denounced Israel’s decision to close the Jerusalem bureau of Qatar’s flagship satellite network, saying that the measure is “undemocratic” and that it will take legal action.

Israel’s move follows in the footsteps of four Arab countries that are aligned against Qatar as part of a months- long political dispute over Doha’s politics and alleged support for extremists.

The channel and its affiliate sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.

Israel yesterday announced it would revoke the press credentials of Al-Jazeera journalists, effectively preventing them from working in Israel.

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Al-Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara noted the irony of Israel following the lead of Sunni Arab states.

“Those dictatorships now dictate to Israel what it does about press and press credentials,” Bishara said on-air. “Israel is taking its cues from Arab dictators.”

The news organisation, in turn, denounced the decision it said came from a country claiming to be “the only democratic state in the Middle East” and said it would take legal action.

“Al Jazeera denounces this decision made by a state that claims to be “the only democratic state in the Middle East,” the statement says. The network also warned that “it will closely watch the developments that may result from the Israeli decision and will take the necessary legal measures towards it.

The statement concludes: “Al Jazeera will continue to cover the events of the occupied Palestinian territories professionally and accurately, according to the standards set by international agencies, such as the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom).”