An Israeli official said Qatar created obstacles by closing Israel’s trade office in Doha.
Qatar had been the only Gulf Arab state to have trade ties with Israel.
If Sheikh Hamad, Emir of the State of Qatar and owner of al-Jazeerah closes the Israeli trade office in Doha, he might expect to see Qatari journalists have restricted access imposed on them and al Jazeerah declared a “hostile enemy” in response.
Israel has decided to deny work visas to the the Al Jazeera reporters and allow the station’s journalists to talk only to spokespeople for the prime minister, foreign minister and Israeli military.
The moves come in response to a decision by Qatar, which launched and funds Al Jazeera, to sever ties with Israel in the aftermath of Israel’s 22-day military operation in Gaza.
Israeli leaders barred reporters from freely entering Gaza during the war and are now “penalising” al Jazeera for Qatar’s political decisions. If Qatar severs political ties with Israel, Israel can certainly block al Jazeera from reporting in Gaza if it wants to.
Israeli leaders have not outrightly said that al Jazeera is biased or not objective. They say that they are reacting to a political act of disapproval of the Gaza attacks by the Doha government. But can Israel, or indeed any nation, freeze foreign journalistic activity and continue to contend that they stand for freedom of the press?