GPO to sanction Al-Jazeera over Kuntar party
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(photo credit: AP [file])
Director of GPO to 'Post': We won't provide them any of our services because they threw Kuntar a party.
For the second time this year, Israel has decided to act against Al-Jazeera, after the influential TV station held a party for released Lebanese child-killer Samir Kuntar, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The party, held in Beirut, was organized by the Al-Jazeera bureau there to honor Kuntar on the occasion of his release from Israeli prison. He was hailed as a hero who carried out a brave military operation against the Jewish state. The Government Press Office said it would impose sanctions on Al-Jazeera and demand an explanation from the station. Al-Jazeera's bureau chief in Beirut, Ghassan bin Jeddo, has long been known for his close ties to Hizbullah. Kuntar, for his part, thanked Jeddo and Al-Jazeera for supporting him and other prisoners in Israeli jails and for waging a campaign to bring about their release. Daniel Seaman, director of the GPO, expressed outrage over the event. On Tuesday, Seaman phoned Walid Omari, the Al-Jazeera bureau chief in Israel, and summoned him to an urgent meeting to inform him of the GPO's decision to suspend ties with the station. Omari, who is currently abroad, is scheduled to report to the GPO on his return, a source at Al-Jazeera said, adding that the station had still not been informed of the new measures against it. Seaman said he also planned to write to the Foreign Press Association in Israel to explain his decision. "We will suspend all handling of Al-Jazeera requests," Seaman told the Post. "For now, we won't provide them with any of our services, which include issuing press credentials and assistance with bureaucracy and applications for visas." Seaman said he would demand an explanation from Al-Jazeera's headquarters in Doha, Qatar, about the event. "I want to know what they are going to do about this case," he said. "I want to know how they intend to handle this case. What they did was not professional." Earlier this year, Israel decided to boycott Al-Jazeera after accusing the station of supporting Hamas. The boycott, initiated by the Foreign Ministry, included a ban on interviews by government officials and refusal to issue visas for the station's employees. The move had come after Al-Jazeera correspondents allegedly staged a candlelight protest following a government decision to reduce electric and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip in response to continued rocket attacks on Israeli towns. The ban was lifted after Al-Jazeera editors in Doha agreed to discuss its coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict with Israeli government officials.
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