Netanyahu Praises Communications Minister's Decision to Close Al Jazeera's Israel Office

"We have based our decision on the move by Sunni Arab states to close the Al Jazeera offices and prohibiting their work", Kara said, adding that the channel is being used by groups to "incite" violence - accusation that the network has denied.

Jordan and Saudi Arabia have recently closed al-Jazeera's local offices, while the channel and its affiliate sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.

That has changed in the past month since Netanyahu blamed Al Jazeera's reporting for stirring passions against Israel that led to violent demonstrations, after the government installed metal detectors at the Jerusalem shrine following a shooting attack that killed two policemen. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has likened its coverage to "Nazi Germany-style" propaganda.

"Al-Jazeera deplores this action from a state that is called the only democratic state in the Middle East and considers what it has done is risky", said the official who declined to be named.

Al Jazeera's Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walid Omary told Anadolu Agency that no official notification has been received from Israeli part so far.

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Al Jazeera said in July it would take all necessary legal measures if Israel acts on its threat.

"Israel claims that it is the only democratic State in the Middle East and boast about it, but it follows, by its decision, that of dictatorial countries that do not recognize freedom of expression and freedom of information", stressed the head of Al-Jazeera.

In his news conference, to which Al Jazeera was not invited, Kara said steps had to be taken against "media, which has been determined by nearly all Arab countries to actually be a supporter of terror, and we know this for certain".

That includes Al Jazeera's reporting of the recent protests over the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. It said it had become "ridiculous that the channel continued to broadcast from Israel".

There was no immediate comment from Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar but journalists working for the station in Israel said they did not expect imminent moves against them. He has frequently criticised the news media, accusing outlets of seeking to undermine his government. Al Jazeera continues to defend itself by saying that it was the first Arabic channel to present Israeli politicians and commentators on its various programs.

  • Sonia Alvarado