Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said he wants to close the offices of the Al Jazeera news channel in Israel because the Qatari broadcaster has been inciting violence in Jerusalem over the security apparatus put it place by the government at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Old City.
In a post on Facebook, Netanyahu said: "The Al Jazeera channel continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount. I have appealed to law enforcement agencies several times to close the Al Jazeera office in Jerusalem. If this is not possible because of legal interpretation, I am going to seek to have the necessary legislation adopted to expel Al Jazeera from Israel."
The Israeli PM's post referred to the Haram al-Sharif compound in Jerusalem, the site of Temple Mount. Israel has consistently accused Al Jazeera of being biased in its coverage of the conflict between Israel and Palestine and also undermining the government of the country.
However, Muslim leaders on Thursday said the situation at Temple Mount had been sorted with metal detectors and other security measures being removed from the site. The prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque would resume, the leaders added.
Israel's move to remove all security measures from the compound of the Al-Aqsa mosque is precipitated by the diplomatic effort of United Nations, the involvement of US President Donald Trump's Middle East ambassador and pressure from countries in the region, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
The protests began after the Israeli government installed metal detectors, CCTV cameras and steel barriers at the entrances of the Al-Aqsa mosque after Arab gunmen killed two Israeli policemen on July 14 using weapons they had hidden inside the compound.
The extra security installed inside the compound triggered massive protests and violent clashes. Four Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces in the clashes while a Palestinian man stabbed three Israelis to death.
The clashes between Israeli and Muslim worshippers are still underway despite the government removing the security apparatus from the holy site. Muslims have refused to enter the compound following the installation of the security apparatus. They prayed on the streets outside for over a week.
Netanyahu also faced a severe backlash from Israelis for his decision to install metal detectors at the holy site.