Israel reverses decision, allows Al Jazeera reporter to keep press card

Israel has reversed its decision to revoke the credentials of an Al Jazeera reporter, determining that he has not abused his position to promote violence. 

Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) has decided not to revoke the credentials of Al Jazeera reporter Elias Karram after summoning him for questioning about comments made in an interview in support of Palestinian “resistance.”

After the hearing, the GPO said Wednesday, the conclusion reached was that Karram, an Israeli citizen from Nazareth, does not consider himself part of the resistance and does not support violence.

In a May 26, 2016, interview with Dar al-Iman, the Muslim Brotherhood television channel, the contents of which were delivered to the GPO earlier this month – along with additional material by Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, a Druze Israeli, and Ofir Gendelman, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman for the Arab Media – Karram said: “As a Palestinian journalist in an occupied area or in a conflict zone, media work is an integral part of the resistance and its educational political activity. The journalist fulfills his role in the opposition with the pen, voice or camera because he is part of this people and he carries out resistance in his unique way.”

“Resistance means only media exposure to the reality of the Palestinian people living under occupation. I did not adopt, call for or incite to resistance of any kind,” Karram said at the hearing.

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The decision not to revoke his credentials temporarily eases tensions between the Israeli government and the Arab satellite channel.

The GPO will monitor Karram’s columns for the next six months.

“Freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of the Government Press Office, but we will not accept a situation in which an official certification issued by the State of Israel will serve as a tool for those who exploit it for public struggle against the country,” said GPO Director Nitzan Chen.

Unfortunately,there have been reports recently on the Al-Jazeera television network that do not meet factual, public and professional standards,” Chen added. “In the coming months, the GPO will monitor the network’s reports in Israel, in Arabic and in English, and will not hesitate, after consultation with legal and security agencies, to draw necessary conclusions.”

Karram, 40, has carried a GPO card since 2011.

By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report.