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Israel boycotts Al Jazeera news channel

author Saturday March 15, 2008 07:31author by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies Report post

The Israeli government decided to officially boycott the Qatar-based Al Jazeera News channel after claiming the its coverage of the incidents is unbalanced and biased towards the Palestinian people.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued this decision on Wednesday after it was “outraged” by the channel’s coverage of the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The Ministry considered this coverage as “incitement to terror”, Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported.

 Waleed Al Omari,  head of Al Jazeera bureau in Jerusalem denounced the Israeli decision and labeled it as an attack on the freedom of expression.

Al Omari added that this falls under the deliberate Israeli targeting of media outlets and reporters.

He also said that the campaign against Al Jazeera is not new and that its started before the recent Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Al Omari further said that Israel cannot claim that it respects the freedom of press and expression while it carries this boycott against Al Jazeera, and is limiting the movement of reporters.  Meanwhile, the Israeli government said that the Foreign Ministry intends to send a letter to Qatar in the coming days in order to explain this decision.

 Under this boycott, Israeli officials would refuse to be interviewed by Al Jazeera, while the Channel’s correspondents would be banned from entering government offices in Jerusalem.

 Also, Haaretz said that Al Jazeera staged a candlelight protest last month after the Israeli government decided to reduce electric and gas supplies to Gaza.

Moreover, Israeli officials claimed that Al Jazeera is in favor of the Hamas movement and its government in the Gaza Strip.

 Yet, some Israeli officials were not in favor of the boycott and described it as counterproductive.

 Zvi Mazel, the Israeli ambassador to Egypt said that although “it is clear the Al Jazeera is not OK”, he does not think that the boycott would help.  

category israel | israeli politics | news report author email saed at imemc dot org
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