By Ghita El Hafidi
Rabat – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to shut down Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem office, claiming that “it continues to incite violence.”
Amid the growing uproar after the fatal shooting of three Palestinians and two Israelis led to the “unprecedented” closure of Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Netanyahu accused the Qatari broadcaster of encouraging Palestinian protesters atthe holy site.
“The Al Jazeera network continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa compound),” Netanyahu wrote in French on his Facebook page.
“I have appealed to law enforcement agencies several times to close the Al Jazeera office in Jerusalem” alleged Netanyahu. “If this does not happen because of legal reasons, I will work to legislate the laws required to remove Al Jazeera from Israel.”
As Palestinians continues to resist Israel’s security measures near the holy Temple Mount compound, tensions in Jerusalem are high.
The recent use of metal detectors by Israel outside the holy site led to lethal clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters. The government said the security measures were needed to prevent weapons entering the holy grounds, after two Israeli policemen were killed by two protesters. The measures taken include banning Muslim men under the age of 50 from the compound, installing security cameras, and deploying thousands of officers around the compound.
Al Jazeera: Netanyahu’s Removal is a “Threat”
Just few hours after Netanyahu’s statement, the Doha-based channel published an article denouncing the “threat” to remove Al Jazeera from Israel.
Al Jazeera vowed to “continue to cover events in the Palestinian territories professionally and objectively.”
According to a press release from the network, Al Jazeera said that it “denounces such arbitrary accusations and hostile statements,” adding that it “would take all necessary legal measures in case they act on their threat.”
Amid the current Gulf crisis, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE all blocked the access of Al Jazeera within their borders and demanded Qatar close the channel in a list of demands.