Israel’s Government Press Office will revoke the press card of Al Jazeera correspondent Elias Karram pending a hearing, GPO Director Nitzan Chen said Wednesday.
In a statement the GPO said the decision had been made after it had become aware of comments Karram had made during a 2016 interview with the Dar al-Iman satellite TV network.
According to a translation of the comments made available by the GPO, Karram told Dar al-Iman that “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.”
“These remarks call into question the ability of Karram, the representative of a foreign network, to cover – as a professional journalist – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which, according to his own words, he is taking an active part,” said the GPO statement, headlined “Active Partner in Palestinian Resistance.”
Karam,40, is an Israeli-Arab citizen from Nazareth and has held a GPO card on behalf of Al Jazeera since 2011.
The GPO said that he will be requested at the hearing to explain “whether or not he is part of the Palestinian people’s resistance to the ‘Zionist occupation,’ as he stated in the interview, and if so, how this affects his work as a journalist according to universal ethics.”
GPO Director Chen said: “The whole issue of GPO cards is bound up with journalist’s rules of ethics and universal fairness regarding news reporting. It would seem that an Al Jazeera correspondent, who serves as a senior field correspondent vis-à-vis news and security events, made the sharp and far-reaching comment that, ‘Any Palestinian journalist should see himself as an integral part of the resistance to the occupation.’ Whoever takes an active part in a political struggle should do so in the framework of the law, but without press credentials from the State of Israel.”
Earlier this month, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said he had requested that the press cards of Al Jazeera personnel in Israel be revoked on the grounds that the network was inciting and agitating to violence in a way that harmed the security of the state. Kara also said he would block the network’s satellite transmission into Israel.