CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The government plans to impose sanctions on employees of the Arabic al-Jazeera television network stationed in Israel.
The decision comes following last month's closure of Israel's trade office in Qatar, which hosts and funds al-Jazeera, in protest to the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip.
Initially, the government considered declaring the station a hostile entity and closing down its Israeli offices.
But following a legal review , which concluded that the court would overrule the decision, the government decided to limit the network's activity in Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
First, the government will no longer renew visas of the station's employees and will not issue visas to new employees.
Second, al-Jazeera employees will not be allowed to attend government briefings and press conferences, and they will have reduced access to government and military offices.
Last, the station's employees will only have access to three official spokespersons: the Prime Minister's Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces.
The newly formed national information directorate in the Prime Minister's Office has instructed Knesset members to refrain from granting interviews to al-Jazeera, though lawmakers are free to use their own discretion.
"Israel believes in freedom of the press and in the public's right to know," a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said Monday.
"This is a rearrangement of relations between Israel and the al-Jazeera network in light of the present situation," he said.