TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to close the Jerusalem office of Qatari news agency Al-Jazeera, accusing it of inciting recent violence over a Jerusalem holy site.
“The Al-Jazeera network continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount. I have appealed several times to law enforcement authorities demanding the closure of the Al-Jazeera Jerusalem office,” Netanyahu said on Facebook late Wednesday.
“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,” Netanyahu added.
The Al-Jazeera Jerusalem office was not immediately available for comment.
Al-Jazeera, a main conduit for news from Israel to the Arab and Muslim world, extensively covered recent tensions in Jerusalem over Israeli security measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Israel on Thursday removed the last remaining security installations it had put in place at the holy site after a deadly attack sparked Palestinian protests, and Jerusalem’s Muslim leaders told worshippers that they can end their protest, apparently ending the stand-off.
The network has been banned in several countries – including Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Syria – and has been accused of harbouring biases towards Islamist organizations.
Al-Jazeera has been repeatedly accused of bias by Israeli authorities, and in June, Netanyahu met with top security and intelligence officials to discuss potentially shutting down the news bureau, Israeli media reported.