On Sunday, Israel moved to close down Al Jazeera's Jerusalem offices and expel its journalists, with interesting results for the ongoing Gulf diplomatic crisis.
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said at a press conference that Israel had made a request to revoke the credentials of the pan-Arab network. The news came after last month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the channel of inciting violence over al-Aqsa.
Closing down Doha-based Al Jazeera was among the list of demands on Qatar issued by four Arab nations in return for lifting their “blockade”.
- Following Saudi Lead, Israel to Ban Al Jazeera
- Al Jazeera’s Offices Shuttered in Saudi Arabia in Row With Qatar
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade, accusing the tiny Gulf state of supporting terrorism. Over a fortnight later the four states issued a list of 13 demands, which Qatar did not accept, including shutting down a number of news outlets directly or indirectly funded by Doha.
Given that attitudes towards Israel in the Arab world are largely antagonistic, for the Saudi-led bloc it does not look good for their crusade against Al Jazeera to be backed by Israel.
Quickly realizing this, Saudis took to Twitter to claim that the move was a ploy to help Al Jazeera regain its standing among Israel-hating Arabs.
Journalist for Saudi paper Okaz, Saleh al-Fahid:
After #AlJazeera_Channel lost a lot of its reputation, prestige and professionalism [then] #Israel_closed_AlJazeera_Channel to polish and improve the image of the channel "in the Arab street" [among Arabs]!
Do not believe this broken recordو it is only an attempt from their Israeli brothers to ease the pressure as they said in their previous statements.
Meshal al-Nami, writer and political researcher:
اسرائيل تغلق مكتب قناة "الجزيرة" في القدس وتسحب ترخيصها— مشعل النامي (@Meshal_Alnami) August 6, 2017
..محاولة مكشوفة لتلميع القناة التي سقطت مصداقيتها بعد أزمة قطر
Israel closes Al Jazeera in Jerusalem and withdraws is license. A clear attempt to polish [the reputation of] the channel, whose credibility fell after the Qatar crisis.
Israel’s move to ban Al Jazeera certainly does seem to have sealed the deal for many of those already sceptical about the so-called ‘boycott’ of Qatar. Individuals from across the Arab world tweeted that the decision was the result of a Saudi-Israeli deal.
#إسرائيل_تغلق_قناة_الجزيرة— كويتي بالصميم (@fahadqtm) August 6, 2017
بعد هذا الخبر ..لاتستحون وقولوا الاجتماع الثالث من بعد اجتماع القاهره والمنامه سيكون في تل أبيب الشقيقه!!
After this news... do not shy away from saying that the third meeting after the Cairo and Manama meetings will be in their sister Tel Aviv!!
يبدو ان قرار #اسرائيل_تغلق_قناة_الجزيره كان بالتنسيق بين دول الحصار وسيدهم نتنياهو اثناء اجتماع وزراء اعلامهم الماضي الامور بدات تتضح— Bomhammed (@Bomhammed10) August 6, 2017
It seems that the decision of Israel to close the channel was in coordination with the countries of the blockade and their master Netanyahu during a meeting of their media ministers, things are began to become clear.
Egyptian journalist Osama Gaweesh:
Netanyahu congratulates his ministers on the closure of Al Jazeera and we congratulate the #blockade_states Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain for becoming brothers of Israel.
A thaw in relations between Israel and Saudi had been noted by some commentators in recent times.
Talking about Netanyahu’s calls to shut down Al Jazeera, Israel’s communication minister Ayoob Kara had previously said that "we identify with the moderates in the Arab world who are fighting terrorism and religious extremism.”
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- 'Saudis Support Naturalization’ with Israel: What’s Behind the Surprising Hashtag?
"In Israel, there is no room for a channel that backs terror, just as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and others who have expelled the inciting channel."
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