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Israel plans to make it harder for Al-Jazeera to operate on its territory after Qatar, which owns the pan-Arab satellite channel, decided to suspend ties with the Jewish state, an Israeli official said yesterday.

“Qatar itself has set up obstacles by breaking relations with Israel. There is no reason to help clear the problems this emirate which controls Al-Jazeera created for itself,” the official said, asking not to be named.

He said it would now be more difficult for Al-Jazeera employees in Qatar to obtain a permit to work in Israel or the West Bank.

On Jan. 18, Qatar ordered the closure of the Israeli trade office in Doha in protest at Israel’s 22-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip since December 27 that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians.

Doha does not have full diplomatic relations with Israel but the trade mission was run by two Israeli diplomats, and representatives from both countries would meet regularly.

Qatar was the only Gulf country to have trade ties with Israel.

Israeli officials have blasted Al-Jazeera, saying it acted as the mouthpiece of the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza during the three-week offensive in the Palestinian enclave.


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