Britain’s public broadcaster the BBC launched an Arabic television service on Tuesday with funding from the government to provide what it said would be independent news, analysis and current affairs.
The corporation said the channel would broadcast for an initial 12 hours a day to anyone with a satellite or cable connection in North Africa, the Middle East or the Gulf, before moving to a 24-hour operation later this year.
Israel plans to boycott the Arab news channel Al-Jazeera.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said Wednesday it would send notice to Al-Jazeera, the Arab world’s most popular satellite news channel, that Israeli officials would no longer offer cooperation.
Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar, has Arabic- and English-language broadcasts and a bureau in Jerusalem.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Al-Jazeera’s coverage of recent fighting in the Gaza Strip has been skewed toward Palestinian propaganda to the point that Israel fears it could perpetuate bloodshed by stirring up Arab ire.
“We have to tell Al-Jazeera, which purports to be the CNN of the Arab world, enough is enough,” Deputy Foreign Minister Majali Wahabe told Army Radio. “You have been telling half-truths and you are harming us. You are getting to the point where it could lead people to undertake activity — even terrorist activity.”
Al-Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Walid Al-Omari, denied that the network was biased and said he had no yet received word of any Israeli sanctions.