Al Jazeera threatens legal action over Israeli censorship

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"Al-Jazeera condemns this action on the part of a State that claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East", said to AFP this official, adding that the chain will be challenged in the justice of this measure, which he described as a "serious".

"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", it said in a statement.

While the proposal will not take immediate effect, Kara confirmed that both the Arabic and English versions of the news channel will be shuttered once the proposal is passed in the Knesset (Israel's parliament). The closure of Al-Jazeera's offices would come under the remit of security officials.

Kara made the announcement at a press conference on Sunday, which Al Jazeera reporters were barred from attending.

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Any move is expected to be contested in Israel's courts but Netanyahu said he will work to change the law in order to enforce the ban. "Israel should abandon these undemocratic plans and allow Al-Jazeera and all journalists to report freely from the country and areas it occupies".

The minister said that both Arabic and English-language channels of Al Jazeera would be banned.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced in late July that it wanted to expel Al-Jazeera, which is accused of stirring up tensions around the holy sites in Jerusalem.

The official, who declined to be named, said the broadcaster "will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures".

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The Israeli move adds further pressure on Qatar, which has been involved in a dispute with four of its Arab neighbours.

Israel is moving ahead with efforts to shut Al Jazeera's Jerusalem bureau, as its security service assesses whether the Qatar-based broadcaster presents a significant threat to the Jewish state.

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

He was referring to recent violence in and around a Jerusalem site that is revered by Muslims and Jews in which six Palestinians and five Israelis, including two policemen, were killed.

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"Our coverage of events in the palestinian territories is professional and objective, and the Israelis have acknowledged a few times because we are keen to present the views and their opposites", he said.

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