Israel moves to silence Al Jazeera, ban its journalists

Al Jazeera
August 7, 2017

Doha, Aug 7: Israel plans to revoke media credentials of Al Jazeera journalists and close the network's office in Jerusalem, the country's communication minister has announced.

Ayoub Kara made the announcement on Sunday during a press conference in Jerusalem, where Al Jazeera was barred from attending. 

"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 - an accusation the network has denied.

Kara said he expects Israel's parliament, the Knesset, to consider his request in the next session.

"I will go through the [legislatorial] mechanism to create the authority in which I can act freely. We will try to end it as quickly as possible."

Al Jazeera denounces measures

In a statement, the Doha-based media network denounced the measures from a country it says claims to be "the only democracy in the Middle East".

"Al Jazeera stresses 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 read.

Al Jazeera also denied the charges its coverage of al-Aqsa Mosque unrest was unprofessional. 

"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)."

The pan-Arab network's offices in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah would not be affected by the current Israeli move.

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, also known as Adalah, challenged the plan, saying it would be subject to scrutiny before the Supreme Court, adding that "it would fail the test of legality".

Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler, reporting from Jerusalem on Sunday, said that the request to revoke the credentials cover all the network's journalists in both the Arabic and English channels. 

It was unclear when the government will act on the request.

Our correspondent reported that Israel is also seeking to shut down Al Jazeera's cable and satellite transmissions in the country.

During the press conference, Kara also said that the interior ministry will also be involved in shutting down Al Jazeera's office in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly threatened to shut Al Jazeera's operations in the country, accusing the network of inciting violence against Israel. His most recent attack on July 27 accused the network of "inciting violence".

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera senior political analyst, said the latest move by Israel shows a "synergy" of "dictatorships" in the Arab world and "dictatorship of military occupation in Palestine".

"It is as if closing down a network will diminish violence, when everyone knows that repression and military occupation, and aggression is the reason for violence in the region. Not reporting it," he said.

Attack on press freedom

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Rami Khouri of the American University in Beirut, denounced the plan saying it is "very typical of regimes" in the region. 

"Regimes that want to control power will almost always go after two targets - the media and the foreigners. Everybody goes after the media." 

Aidan White, director of the London-based Ethical Journalism Network, called Israel's decision "a full frontal attack" on press freedom.

"It is a shocking statement, and it completely undermines Israel's claims to be the only democracy in the region, because it gets to the heart of one of the most important institutions of democracy.

"This attack on Al Jazeera is really an attack on all critical independent journalism."

The Committee to Protect Journalists has also criticised the Israeli move.

"Censoring Al Jazeera or closing its offices will not bring stability to the region, but it would put Israel firmly in the camp of some of the region's worst enemies of press freedom," CPJ Middle East and North Africa Programme Coordinator Sherif Mansour said in a statement.

"Israel should abandon these undemocratic plans and allow Al Jazeera and all journalists to report freely from the country and areas it occupies," it said.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia and Jordan both shut down Al Jazeera bureaus as part of a coordinated diplomatic and economic campaign against Qatar, where the headquarters of Al Jazeera Media Network is located.

Al Jazeera's signal has also been blocked in the United Arab Emirates. 

Egypt, which is also part of the blocking group, banned Al Jazeera several years ago. 

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News Network
April 27,2021

Makkah, Apr 27: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah reiterated that parents are prohibited from bringing along their children for Umrah or prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah during the holy month of Ramadan.

The ministry said that this is part of the regulations it announced regarding the issuance of permits for Umrah and prayer at the Grand Mosque during Ramadan.

The regulations include obtaining a permit for Umrah and prayer from Eatmarna and Tawakkalna applications; immunization through two dozes of vaccination or completion of 14 days after taking the first dose of vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus infection.

The ministry said that vehicles of only those who have a permit will be allowed to enter the central Haram area. The regulations also stipulate that vehicles of those who have a permit will be allowed to enter various entry points to Makkah only within the stipulated period of time specified in the permit.

With regard to performing Umrah, the ministry earlier confirmed that the permitted ages for Umrah from within the Kingdom range between 18 and 70 years as per the instructions of the Ministry of Health.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had previously stated that all prayers of the day could be reserved, and prayers could not be reserved for more than one day at the same time, and after the expiry of the permit of one day, it can be booked for another day.
 

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News Network
May 8,2021

israeliraid.jpg

Several Muslim countries have denounced a violent Israeli assault on Palestinian worshipers in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.

More than 200 Palestinians were injured as Israeli forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at hundreds of Palestinians attending night prayers at the compound.

The clashes took place on the International Quds Day, the last Friday of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The Palestine Red Crescent ambulance service said 88 of those wounded were taken to hospital, adding, one of them lost an eye, two suffered serious head wounds and two had their jaws fractured.

Dozens of worshipers were also arrested by the occupation forces, according to Wafa news agency.

In a televised statement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held the Tel Aviv regime fully responsible for the “dangerous developments and sinful attacks that are taking place in the Holy City, and for the consequences thereof," urging the United Nations Security Council to hold an urgent session on the issue.

Tensions have increased in the occupied West Bank during Ramadan, with nightly clashes in East Jerusalem al-Quds’ Sheikh Jarrah, which sits near the Old City's Damascus gate.

Numerous families face eviction in the Palestinian neighborhood due to illegal settlement expansion policies of the occupying regime.

On Friday, scuffles broke out near Sheikh Jarrah as Israeli forces used water cannon mounted on armored vehicles to disperse protesters.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the Islamic Republic “strongly condemns” the Israeli raid on the al-Aqsa Mosque, the first Qiblah of Muslims (a place toward which Muslims pray), on the Quds Day.

"This war crime once again proved to the world the criminal nature of the illegitimate Zionist regime and the need for urgent international action to stop the violation of the most fundamental principles of international humanitarian law," he added.

"In addition to condemning this definite crime against humanity and offering condolences to the families of the martyrs of this incident and wishing a speedy recovery for the wounded, the Islamic Republic of Iran calls on the UN and other relevant international organizations to fulfill their decisive duty against the war crime.”

Khatibzadeh also noted that Iran “proudly stands by the heroic people of Palestine and calls on all world countries, especially Muslim states, to honor their historic task and stand by the Palestinian nation in the face of the Zionist aggressors.”

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it "strongly condemns" Friday’s attack by Israeli forces on Palestinian worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque. 

"We call on the Israeli government to put an end to this provocative and aggressive attitude as soon as possible by targeting the freedom of worship of the Palestinian people and the status of the al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan, and invite them to sanity," the statement read.

"Turkey will continue to support the just cause of the Palestinian people.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu took to Twitter to say, “It is inhumane for Israel to target innocents praying during Holy Ramadan."

Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also tweeted, "Israeli occupation forces, which don't respect any religious values during the holy month of Ramadan, must leave al-Aqsa mosque immediately.”

Qatar said the Israeli raid “was a provocation to the feelings of millions of Muslims around the world, and a severe violation of human rights and international accords.”

The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed in a statement that the international community must “move swiftly to end the repeated Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and Al Aqsa mosque.”

It further emphasized Doha’s “firm position of the fairness of the Palestinian cause and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their religious rights and right to establish an independent state based on the borders of 1967 with al-Quds as its capital.”

Kuwait's Foreign Ministry blasted the mosque attack, calling it a blatant affront to the feelings of Muslims and rules of human rights.

It also held Israeli authorities responsible for a dangerous escalation and consequences that may result.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry similarly denounced Israeli forces for breaking into the al-Aqsa Mosque and attacking worshipers.

Egypt’s al-Azhar University, the highest seat of Sunni Muslim learning, condemned the "brutal Zionist terrorism in the light of shameful international silence" toward what is going on in Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Islamic Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), instead, hailed the steadfastness of Palestinians in al-Quds in the face of Israeli aggression and plans to displace them from their homes.

IUMS Secretary-General Ali Qaradaghi encouraged the Muslim world to support the Palestinian cause materially and morally, calling it a religious duty and necessity.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry refused to condemn the attack, only saying Israel’s unilateral measures undermine chances to resume "peace" talks.

"We reject Israel's plans and measures to evict Palestinians from their homes in al-Quds and to impose Israel's sovereignty on them," it said.

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News Network
April 25,2021

April 25: Israeli forces have for the third consecutive night attacked Palestinian worshipers outside one of the gates leading to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

The scuffles took place at Bab al-Amoud (Damascus) Gate overnight into Sunday, as the Israeli forces tried to prevent the Palestinians from holding their usual prayers during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The regime forces attacked the worshipers using teargas canisters, stun grenades and foul-smelling water cannons.

They also physically assaulted some of the Palestinians while attempting to forcefully evacuate them from the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

In response, the Palestinians threw rocks at the Israeli forces and burned tires.

No serious injuries were reported, but at least one worshiper was arrested, according to Wafa news agency.

"The police are causing the problems. People want to sit down here at Damascus Gate in Ramadan," said Fares, a young Palestinian from East Jerusalem al-Quds.

"Everywhere else is closed because of the coronavirus, everybody is at home. Damascus Gate is very important to Palestinians, it's in the name and it's the way to our holy places."

Across the West Bank, Palestinians held protests in solidarity with the al-Quds residents.

Israeli forces launched a crackdown on the demonstrations, leading to clashes in the cities of al-Khalil (Hebron) and Tulkarm as well as the town of al-Ram and al-Quds at-Tur neighborhood.

In Jenin north of the West Bank, a child was injured by live Israeli gunshots at al-Jalama military checkpoint.

Additionally in Deir Sharaf west of the city of Nablus, several cases of injury from tear gas inhalation  were reported.

Solidarity protests also took place in the Gaza Strip along the fence separating the Israeli-blockaded enclave from the occupied territories.

Gaza tensions

On Saturday evening, a rocket fired from Gaza landed near a place of gathering for Israeli troops in the community of Kibbutz Nirim east of southern Gaza, causing alert sirens to go off.

Between Friday and Saturday, Gaza resistance fighters launched almost 40 rockets into the occupied lands.

Only seven of the rockets were intercepted by Israel, whose tanks and warplanes targeted Gaza.

Israeli army chief of staff Aviv Kohavi held a security assessment meeting with senior officers as well as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, minister of military affairs Benny Gantz and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, among others.

After the meeting, Gantz warned that Gaza “will be seriously hit” if rocket fire resumes.

“At the moment there is calm in the south, but if the calm is not maintained, Gaza will be seriously hit… and those responsible will be the leaders of Hamas,” he said in a statement, adding that the Israeli military “is prepared for the possibility of an escalation and will do what is necessary so the calm is preserved.”

Similarly, Netanyahu said that he had instructed security chiefs in the meeting to prepare for all scenarios with Gaza. 

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