I have a reluctant admiration for Al Jazeera, the Qatari t.v. station, which is present on both satellite channels, and online. The fact that it is totally funded and controlled by the Qatari Government, is of course never ever mentioned; but the one bias which is ever-present is that no Qatar policy, no Minister, and certainly no Qatari royal is ever, ever criticised, even in the mildest of manners. The English language broadcasts are slick, well-produced, inclusive of female presenters who all appear un-veiled or un-headscarfed. Their reach, in terms of broadcasting and of items and activities reported, is formidable; and they even attempt to place both sides of any argument up front:, well perhaps not all, but at least they give Israel the benefit of the doubt sometimes, even if their reporting is, shall we say, less than admirable than that given to, say the Palestinians who of course usually occupy the other side of most stories concerning Israel/Palestinian arguments.
Israel has tolerated Al Jazeera for a number of years; maybe it has been a thorn in their sides sometimes, but as long as Al Jazeera gave both sides of any story, the Israelis were content to let things slide.
But now we have the great debate; when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain turned the heat on Qatar for, amongst other things, supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and related organisations, and they want Qatar to shut down the al Jazeera TV channel, close a Turkish military base in Doha and downgrade its ties with Iran. Various noises off ensued, inclusive of the rare event of the Saudis preventing Qatari pilgrims from entering the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
But, in a singular twist which no-one could have envisaged, Israel wants to close down Al Jazeera’s Israeli offices, because of, presumably, their support for terror causes.
So you then get headlines which must truly make the Saudis, Egyptians and all the followers flinch:-
Palestinian academic Ahmad Mosalam wrote, “There’s no greater embarrassment for the countries instituting the boycott (on Qatar) than the fact that Israel shares their demands.”
I love it when a plan blows up in the instigator’s face!