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April 27, 2022 10:29 am

Al Jazeera Anchors Continue Tradition of Praising Terrorist Attacks

avatar by Hany Ghoraba


Israeli diplomat Ishmael Khaldi during an appearance on Al Jazeera English. Photo: Screenshot.

When terrorists randomly attacked Israeli civilians in recent weeks, some surprising voices reacted with horror. The string of attacks that killed 14 Israelis drew condemnations from Turkey, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan, among others.

To top anchors on Qatar’s state-owned Al Jazeera network, however, the attacks were cause for celebrations and praise.

“The martyrdom of the attacker of the Tel Aviv operation … made the Israelis taste humiliation and so they spent a dark night of terror imprisoned in their homes, while an entire army of thousands of Israeli soldiers pursued him for 9 hours, [during which time] he freely wandered until he reached Jaffa,” Al Jazeera host Ahmed Mansour wrote on April 8. “He clashed with an Israeli force in Jaffa and was martyred, may God have mercy on him.”

Mansour was writing about Ra’ad Hazem, who killed three people and wounded 11 others on Tel Aviv’s popular Dizengoff Street. The post included two pictures of Hazem, one showing him cradling a baby and the other showing him hoisting a rifle.

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Mansour, who has 1.2 million Twitter followers, cheered another terrorist attack 11 days earlier. In that case, a gunman killed five people in Bnei Brak, a Tel Aviv suburb. His victims included Arab-Israeli police officer Amir Khoury and two people from Ukraine.

The terrorist, Diaa Hamarsha, “moved steadily and courageously from one area to another, focusing on his targets from the settlers precisely, spreading terror among them before he was martyred,” Mansour tweeted.

He also posted a video of the shooting, including Hamarsha shooting and killing a passing motorist.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s most senior anchor, Gamal Rayyan, used Hazem’s Tel Aviv shooting spree to warn countries that have relations with Israel.

“The Tel Aviv operation is a lesson to the normalization regimes: Israel will not protect you as it can hardly protect itself #Palestine,” Rayyan tweeted on April 8, above a video in which the speaker says that one “resistance fighter” forced a curfew in Tel Aviv.

Algerian senior Al Jazeera anchor Khadija Ben Guenna, connected the terrorist attacks to the historic Negev Summit that brought foreign ministers from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and the United States to Israel on March 29.

“In 7 days, 11 Israelis were killed, coinciding with the summits of shame [Negev Summit],” she wrote.

The Tel Aviv attack came during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“It is important to understand that Ramadan, for Islamists, is not just time for worship, but for jihad, too. Their teaching manuals assert and link all decisive military battles in the history of Islam with Ramadan,” Egyptian writer Nervana Mahmoud told the Investigative Report on Terrorism.

Al Jazeera later published a hagiographic profile of Hamarsha on its Arabic language website hailing him as “the Silent Resistance fighter.”

“He [Hamarsha] was known for his great ambition, gentleness, and wide relations with people,” the article said. It quoted his father, who said Hamarsha “was not one of those young people looking for the passion and amusement of life.”

Al Jazeera also reported about Palestinians who gathered in front of Hamarsha’s house to chant Palestinian national songs.

Other Islamist networks also celebrated the terrorist attacks. Hezbollah’s TV network Al-Manar posted an article on March 31, praising the “heroic operation in the occupied Palestinian territories [that] represented the practical response to the Negev Summit of normalization with the Israeli enemy and these are Arab regimes and treacherous leaders who stab the back of the Palestinian cause and its sanctities.”

Again, none of the attacks took place in what can be called “occupied” areas.

In Gaza, people celebrated and handed out candy in the streets after the Tel Aviv attack. Similar celebrations were seen in Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon.

Iran’s Al Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani lauded the attacks during a commemoration ceremony of an Iranian commander in Tehran.

“We have made it clear to the occupying Zionist regime that any group fighting it will have our blessing,” Ghaani said. He praised the “Palestinian youths who have shaken the occupied territories.”

These kinds of celebratory reactions sadly are commonplace among Palestinian militants and their supports. Mansour previously supported a terrorist attack on a tourist bus in Egypt in 2014, which left four people dead and 14 injured.

It “is not a terrorist act, but an act of heroism,” Mansour wrote.

An Egyptian court ordered Al Jazeera’s Egypt channel, along with three other Islamist affiliated TV networks, to stop broadcasting in September 2013. The court said that it was “inciting violence that led to the deaths of Egyptians” and its coverage was biased toward the Muslim Brotherhood.

The unabashed support for terrorism shown by Al Jazeera anchors merits more attention. Their role in radicalizing millions of followers using misinformation and lies, is deplorable for a purported professional news network.

Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) Senior Fellow Hany Ghoraba is an Egyptian writer, political and counter-terrorism analyst at Al Ahram Weekly, author of Egypt’s Arab Spring: The Long and Winding Road to Democracy and a regular contributor to the BBC. A version of this article was originally published by IPT.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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