LONDON: Al Jazeera was on Wednesday criticized after the mother of a captured Israeli appeared on screen alongside Zaher Jabareen, the Hamas official in charge of the hostages.
The move drew heavy criticism on social media, especially when presenter Ahmed Taha asked political questions which some commentators described as “irrelevant” and “provocative.”
In a post on X, Financial Times journalist Samer Al-Atrush said: “Jazeera has done important on-the-ground coverage from Gaza. But hosting the mother of an Israeli hostage, while bringing on a Hamas official, and peppering her with political questions? What were they thinking?”
Jazeera has done important on the ground coverage from Gaza. But hosting the mother of an Israeli hostage, while bringing on a Hamas official, and peppering her with political questions? What were they thinking? https://t.co/ZjQXm0h6PV
— Samer Al-Atrush (@SameralAtrush) November 16, 2023
Another X user said: “What a strange host, thinking he delivered a fatal blow when, in fact, it is her (the guest) who delivered it. She is discussing her kidnapped daughter while he (Taha) talks about the occupation of (Palestinian) lands.”
!!!! مذيع غريب يعتقد أنه صرعها بالضربة القاضية! وفي الواقع هي من صرعته! تتحدث عن ابنتها المخطوفة، وهو يتحدث عن احتلال الأرض، ويريد أن ينتزع منها شكوى على بني جلدتها، ولكنها فهمت المغزى ولقنته درساً!!!! كان يحاول التذاكي عليها! ليس هكذا تورّد الإبل يا هذا!
— بو فهد (@BoFahad_Qatar) November 16, 2023
Several commentators expressed sympathy with the mother, whose daughter was taken hostage by Hamas during the militant group’s attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
X user Yazan said: “This question is irrelevant. You should focus on the hostages. She (the mother) cannot be blamed for her government’s actions.”
سؤال مش بمكانه - موضوعكم لازم يكون عن الاسرى
شو ذنبها بتصرف حكومتها
— Yazan (@yazanzo3bi6) November 16, 2023
Criticizing the presenter, another online user said: “Could you not find another guest to discuss politics?”
لم تتمكن من العثور على شخص آخر لمناقشة السياسة معه؟ أنت مثير للاشمئزاز جدا!
— y.i.t.z.i (@codegician) November 16, 2023
Taha asked the Haifa-based guest, Merhaf, if she thought the Israeli government should now withdraw from occupied Palestinian lands and end the siege on Gaza.
Merhaf replied that “as a mother,” all she wanted was for her “daughter to return home today. That’s enough,” she said.
Speaking over his guest, Taha expressed his sympathies but insisted he was asking a fundamental question.
“My daughter has been held hostage for six weeks. She is wounded. I want her to return. I want for all hostages to return,” Merhaf added, asking the presenter to stop asking her questions about the Israeli administration and occupation.
Taha said: “Answer my question, please. You are occupying part of the Palestinian territories. This lies at the core of the (hostages) issue.”