FRESH AIR

Al Jazeera employees openly barrack for the terrorists attacking Israeli civilians

Apr 21, 2022 | Judy Maynard

Al Jazeera's Ahmed Mansour (Screenshot)
Al Jazeera's Ahmed Mansour (Screenshot)

Since early March, in the leadup to Ramadan, a spate of terrorist attacks throughout Israel has, to date, left 14 Israelis dead and numerous others injured. These atrocities and their perpetrators have attracted international condemnation from the UN, EU and others; a mixture of half-hearted condemnation and praise from the Palestinian Authority; and plaudits from terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The attacks have also gone down well in Qatar. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) found the reaction of establishment newspapers overwhelmingly positive in a state where the media is tightly controlled.

Similarly approving of these terror attacks against Israeli civilians were the social media accounts of high profile employees of the jewel in the Qatari media crown, Al Jazeera – amongst them repeat offenders when it comes to flouting the norms of journalistic standards and ethics, and openly supporting terrorism.

The tragic backdrop to these most recent examples of Al Jazeera’s blatant bias and lack of journalistic ethics is the wave of terror which began in early March with three Jerusalem stabbing attacks over two weeks. Following this:

  • On March 22, a terrorist, identified as Muhammad Alab Ahmed abu Alkiyan, killed four Israelis in a car ramming and stabbing spree in the Negev city of Beersheba. The terrorist, an Islamic State (ISIS) supporter, was shot dead.
  • ISIS sympathisers were also responsible for a deadly attack on March 27 in the northern city of Hadera. Two 19-year-old border police, one Druze and the other Jewish, were killed and 12 others injured by cousins Ayman and Ibrahim Ighbariah, before they themselves were shot dead.
  • On March, 29 Diaa Hamarsheh, a Palestinian from near Jenin in the West Bank who was in Israel illegally, murdered five people in a terror attack in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv. His victims were two local residents, a Christian Arab police officer, and two foreign workers from Ukraine.
  • On April 7, on Dizengoff Street in central Tel Aviv, another three young Israeli men were killed and at least a dozen others injured. Their assailant, Ra’ad Hazem from Jenin, was also in Israel illegally. He was shot dead by security forces after a manhunt over several hours.

Prominent Al Jazeera journalist and host Ahmed Mansour, whose lack of professional integrity has been documented here and here, did nothing to hide his admiration for the terrorists.

On March 28, Mansour posted a chilling video clip from what he refers to as “the Hadera operation” which he is evidently pleased to note “killed and wounded many occupation soldiers [and] was a painful blow in the heart of Israel and of its Arab Zionist allies [i.e., the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt, whose foreign ministers attended the Negev Summit], which fills them with fear and apprehension that a new intifada is about to break out.”

This was a reference to the historic Negev Summit held on March 27 and 28, at which Israel hosted the foreign ministers of the four Arab states listed above at Kibbutz Sde Boker, home and burial place of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. Several Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, dubbed it a “summit of shame.” Indeed, Mansour’s Al Jazeera colleague Khadija Ben Guenna tweeted on March 30: “Eleven Israelis have been killed within seven days during the meetings of the Summit of Shame.”

On March 30, Mansour tweeted disturbing footage of the Bnei Brak terrorist attack with the following comment: “This attack, the third [to strike] the heart of the Israeli entity this week, killed five settlers and wounded six, bringing the total of the Israeli fatalities [in this wave of attacks] to 11. Diaa Hamarsha carried out the attack on Tuesday [March 29] in three separate locations. He moved from one point to the next with determination and courage, hitting his targets – namely the settlers – with precision and sowing terror among them before being martyred.” [Note: None of those killed were in fact “settlers” unless you define any Israeli as by definition a “settler.”]

On April 8, following the Dizengoff Street attack, Mansour posted a series of tweets with video clips showing panicked civilians running through the streets of central Tel Aviv and security forces hunting the killer. With barely contained excitement he wrote, “The resistance hits the heart of Israel with a major operation in Tel Aviv so far, two Israelis were killed and 8 wounded, 4 of whom are in serious condition.”

A few minutes later, he posted, “Panic and terror prevail among the settlers in the streets of Tel Aviv, as they flee everywhere after the guerrilla operation that killed and wounded 10 Israelis, and the announcement of the escape of the perpetrator, and a great alert between the army and the police.”

Later he tweeted, “The Israeli entity announces that 1,000 Israeli soldiers are chasing the perpetrator of the Tel Aviv operation, can you imagine? A thousand soldiers armed with the latest weapons are chasing one man in the heart of Tel Aviv, whose streets have become empty of people.”

And again, “Ra’ad Hazem, the perpetrator of the attack in Tel Aviv, who was a Palestinian computer expert and a son of the Jenin refugee camp, was martyred after humiliating the Israelis. They spent a black night in horror imprisoned in their homes, as an entire army of thousands of Israeli soldiers pursued him for nine hours. He moved around freely until he reached Jaffa, where he confronted an Israeli force and was martyred. May Allah have mercy on him.”

Mansour’s colleague Tamer Almisshal, another Al Jazeera presenter, also glorified the Tel Aviv terrorist. On April 8 he tweeted, “The martyr of the homeland is the son of Jenin camp Aptly named … Raad Hazem”, meaning “resolute thunder”. The same day he tweeted, “In Tel Aviv, a resistance fighter defeats [the Zionist] entity… There is no survival for the occupation no matter how long it takes.”

 

Incident in Husan

Mansour also commented on an April 10 incident in the West Bank town of Husan, in which an unarmed Palestinian woman named Ghada Ibrahim Ali Sabateen ran at Israeli police, ignoring warning shots, and was shot in the leg. Soldiers administered first aid and she was rushed by Palestinian medics to Beit Jala hospital, but she died of blood loss.

Mansour tweeted on April 11, “These crimes cannot be seen anywhere in the world except in Occupied Palestine armed occupation soldiers who live between terror and chronic fear executing a 47-year-old Palestinian widow and mother of six children named Ghada Ibrahim Sabatien from Husan village, west of Bethlehem, without charge, account or punishment.”

This is despite the fact that in the video clip accompanying his tweet the woman can be seen running at the soldiers, and the evidence available showing that the soldiers did everything reasonable in such a situation when one is suddenly rushed by an apparent assailant – shouting warnings, firing warning shots, finally aiming for her legs, and then quickly offering medical assistance. Whatever the woman’s motives, the consequence of her action was foreseeable.

Commenting on the same clip was Mansour’s colleague Ghada Oueiss, who tweeted, “Here they arrest a child and there they kill a mother! This is the Israeli occupation regime! Crime with crime! and nothing else #IsraeliCrimes #IsraeliApartheid”.

 

Al Jazeera principal anchor Ghada Oueiss

Oueiss is a principal anchor and presenter for Al Jazeera Arabic, and another serial offender against the journalistic values Al Jazeera claims to uphold.

Almost any day of the week one can find new tweets like this from Oueiss:

“Israel is an occupying country and an apartheid regime violating international law practice violence and terrorism A usurper entity based on theft, wars, aggression and violation of the rights of the indigenous people The Palestinian resistance, which is considered self-defense, is a legitimate right guaranteed by international law The resistance is a liberation movement that fights for the right to self-determination.”

Or Oueiss will opt to tweet something simple like “NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT #PALESTINE”, to show how far removed she is from harbouring bias.

Oueiss has in the past posted antisemitic comments such as “What Nazis did to jews is repeated by israelis in Palestine!!” and promoted the baseless theory routinely pushed by antisemites and anti-Zionists that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from the Turkic people, the Khazars, and so have no indigenous link with Israel.

 

Ramadan Clashes in Jerusalem

Ramadan is often a time of heightened tension amongst the Palestinians, and this year is playing out in a similar fashion to 2021, when so-called worshippers provocatively hurled rocks from atop the Temple Mount onto Jews praying at the Western Wall below, one of a series of incidents that Hamas, the ruler of Gaza, exploited to justify the war it started against Israel in May 2021. April 2022 again saw the cynical exploitation of the Temple Mount – holy to both Jews and Muslims – and of the Muslim holy month. (For all the details, see Ahron Shapiro’s blog on the Temple Mount clashes).

Linah Alsaafin, a producer with Al Jazeera English, posted a series of tweets on April 15:

“Once again, during month of Ramadan, Israeli forces raided one of # holiest sites in Islam & rubber bullets, tear gas and sound grenades at worshipers. Red Crescent: 152 Palestinians injured Let’s see media spin this as ‘clashes’ + ‘intractable conflict.’”

“Footage of worshippers being detained inside mosque In another video, an elderly Palestinian is heard saying ‘we just wanted to pray!’ And the Israeli soldier barks ‘Shut up!’ This is not a conflict, this is an assault on every aspect of Palestinian life.”

“Moment Israeli forces stormed the mosque at dawn. Local sources say so far more than 400 Palestinians have been arrested.”

Her tweets included videos that, unlike many others that were circulating widely, just happened not to show rocks stockpiled inside Al-Aqsa, and “worshippers” kicking a football around within the mosque. However, even the videos that she did post revealed rocks being hurled at police by numerous of the supposedly faithful wearing shoes inside this holy site.

 

Reporting reflects obvious employee biases

The pro-terrorist and extremist tweets of Al Jazeera staff merely reflect the partisan stance Al Jazeera adopts even in its mainstream reporting. Its news coverage of events in April made no pretence at balance, for example disingenuously focusing on baseless claims that Al-Aqsa Mosque was under threat from Israel.

A video on YouTube that purports to explain how the latest tension between Israelis and Palestinians was arrived at is hardly objective, framing it as an anti-Israel narrative. It commences, “Israeli air strikes hit the Gaza Strip on Tuesday reportedly targeting a Hamas weapons manufacturing site. The attack came after a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Monday.”

This might almost seem balanced, until the commentary goes on to “explain” that “Hamas has been warning of retaliation after Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound arresting hundreds of Palestinians and injuring dozens during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Tensions were already high as the Israeli military has been conducting raids in the occupied West Bank killing 21 Palestinians in the last month.”

The narrative then focuses on the case of an 18-year-old Palestinian woman, Hanan Khdour, allegedly shot accidentally by an Israeli sniper. Her grieving mother says, “It was one bullet but it made five holes in her body.”

Finally, in the last 20 seconds of the over two-minute-long video, the commentary concedes, “Israel says the operations are in response to a series of Palestinian attacks which have killed 14 Israelis,” before concluding, “Palestinians have described it as ‘collective punishment’.”

An online report on April 17 even quoted Al Jazeera senior political analyst Marwan Bishara expressing yet another of his toxic anti-Israel opinions in an ostensible news item. He is quoted saying, “the raids by Israeli forces into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – also known as the Noble Sanctuary – [were] due to” Israel’s “colonial machinations. It clearly has a goal in mind and that is denying the Palestinians any sense of sovereignty over their most sacred site, which is the Noble Sanctuary.”

Speaking from London, Bishara continued, “Everything has been taken away from them – the land, the olive groves, their homes, their dignity. Israel took control over everything that is Palestine, from the river to the sea with the exception of the Noble Sanctuary. Palestinians continue to think that at least they can have that symbol of Palestinian sovereignty in the Old City of Jerusalem.”

 

The Myths about Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera has attempted to present itself as an independent, professional news organisation, and for a long time many Australian journalists and news organisations, including the ABC and SBS, bought this claim. Yet it is simply untrue. It is funded by the Qatari Government and is owned by members of the Qatari royal family. As watchdog organisation Freedom House notes in its section on Qatar, “Both print and broadcast media are influenced by leading families and subject to state censorship” – which of course includes Al Jazeera. On the question of whether it has free and independent media, Freedom House gives Qatar one point out of a possible four.

Al Jazeera effects the trappings of an independent news organisation, with a code of ethics purporting to uphold journalistic values “of honesty, courage, fairness, balance, independence, credibility and diversity, giving no priority to commercial or political over professional consideration,” but in practice this is a façade. Enforcement of standards has repeatedly been found wanting. High profile employees blatantly flout these ostensible rules and suffer no consequence.

Qatar is a major supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood international Islamist movement and has provided the Brotherhood’s Gaza offshoot, Hamas, with hundreds of millions of dollars. Al Jazeera reflects this stance – it has even been thanked by Hamas for its service to the terror group.

As AIJAC has documented repeatedly (see for example here, here, here and here), when it comes to the anti-Israel bias and pro-terrorist views of Al Jazeera and many of its most high-profile employees, there is truly nothing new to see here.

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