The Iranian-backed Hamas terror group presented an award this week to the Al Jazeera news network for what the terror group described as the outlet’s "great professionalism" in its coverage of last month’s war with Israel.
Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas’s deputy head, said the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera network "performed with great professionalism during its coverage of the sword of Jerusalem battle and proved its commitment to the cause of the oppressed Palestinian people," according to an Arabic-language press release posted on Hamas’s website and independently translated for the Washington Free Beacon.
The award was presented on Tuesday during a ceremony with Hamas officials and Al Jazeera employees. Hamas also praised Al Jazeera journalist Guevara Al-Budairi, who was briefly detained in an Israeli prison this week after being arrested for participating in a demonstration that turned violent.
Hamas’s embrace of Al Jazeera is likely to fuel long-standing accusations that the network is biased, anti-Israel, and wholly controlled by the Qatari government, which is closely allied with Hamas’s financial backer, Iran. Lawmakers in the United States have repeatedly attempted to force Al Jazeera into registering with the American government as a foreign agent. Al Jazeera maintains it has editorial independence, though its association with Hamas could challenge the credibility of these claims.
"A delegation from the [Hamas movement] phoned Al Jazeera correspondent in Jerusalem, Guevara Al-Budairi, upon her release from occupation [Israeli] prisons," the report on Hamas’s website states. Hamas leaders "raised the role of Al-Budairi in covering events at occupied Jerusalem."
Hamas leaders also "phoned the director of Al Jazeera's [Palestinian office], Walid Al-Omari, [to praise] him and his professional coverage during the battle of the ‘Sword of Jerusalem,’" which is how the jihadist terrorist groups are referring to their most recent conflict with Israel.
Al Jazeera’s "management praised the visit of the Hamas delegation, stressing that it will remain a title of high professionalism in its coverage of events in Palestine," according to Hamas.
Hamas officials are engaged in a media tour and will visit media institutions in the Gaza Strip, according to another report on its website.