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Israel gives all-clear to cable ops to dump CNN

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The Israeli government is calling it a purely "business decision", but the timing is curious to say the least. Israel's cable operators have been given the go ahead to drop CNN International from their networks.

The move comes at a time when CNN has come under increasing fire in the Jewish state for allegedly leaning towards the Palestinians in its coverage of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its endless cycle of violence.

The roots of this turnaround in Israel's perceptions of the AOL Time Warner news network: CNN founder Ted Turner outraged Israelis and American conservatives in June when he accused both the Israeli and the Palestinian leaders of committing acts of terrorism.

The Israeli government claims though that the decision is unrelated to the network's coverage and is purely a business decision. The three main Israeli cable companies have said they would pull the plug on CNN unless they found a mutually agreeable financial arrangement before the expiry of the current contract in November.

Officially, the channels are saying they cannot afford CNN's prices in the current economic climate - the decision follows months of tough contract negotiations.

The likely beneficiary of the fallout looks to be CNN's main US competitor, Rupert Murdoch's Fox News. The three cable companies have recently begun to offer their customers Fox News, reports say.

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