Monday, February 2, 2009

Israeli Government to impose sanctions on Al Jazeera's Israel operations

The government will impose sanctions on Israel-based employees of the Al Jazeera network in response to the closure last month of the Israeli trade office in Qatar, which hosts and funds the network. Qatar had closed the office in opposition to Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip. 

Following the closure, the Foreign Ministry, in conjunction with the newly-formed national information directorate in the Prime Minister's Office, considered declaring the station a hostile entity and closing its offices in Israel. After submitting the idea to legal review, however, concerns emerged it would not be permitted by the High Court of Justice. 

Israeli officials have recently criticized Qatar's warming relations with Hamas and Iran. Foreign Ministry director-general Aharon Abramowitz told attendees at the Herzliya Conference on Monday that Qatar is moving toward a "radical axis." 

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