Throughout Operation Protective Edge, the al-Jazeera news channel did not purport to give objective reporting and presented mostly Hamas' side and the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The anchorwoman standing at the forefront of such coverage is Lebanese journalist Ghada Owais, who tries to make life difficult for every Israeli spokesman who goes on air at the Qatari station to explain the Israeli position. Owais has also stood behind Hamas in previous operations in Gaza.
Prime Minister's Office Arabic spokesman grilled by Owais
Owais joined al-Jazeera, the most-watched television channel in the Arab world, in 2006, and was the first Arab journalist to enter Gaza after Operation Cast Lead in 2008.
The Hamas weekly al-Risala decided to conduct a particularly flattering interview with Owais, as a token of their appreciation for her role in the recent operation, and described how she manages time after time to shatter the Israeli narrative and embarrass the Israeli speakers on live television.
Owais. "Our coverage is not biased in favor of the Palestinians"
"Al-Jazeera's coverage of what happens in Gaza is highly professional. Our coverage is not biased in favor of the Palestinians, but rather reflects the reality as it is, along with the crimes, massacres and violations of Israel against the helpless people during all days of the aggression," she said during the interview "Does the world want us to be biased in favor of the occupier and aggressor instead?
Owais also said that "there was no need for al-Jazeera to be biased in its coverage; instead, it simply conveyed the reality relying on testimonies from UNRWA officials who stated that the occupier committed war crimes and should be prosecuted."
In the interview, the Lebanese anchorwoman took pride in being able to embarrass those who speak on behalf of Israel, as part of her professional journalism skills: "I won't allow anyone to turn me into a measure or platform through which the occupier can distribute its propaganda, skew the facts, forge the events and pass on misinformation."
She also denied that her journalistic conduct had been subject to critique by the management of the al-Jazeera network.
Last week, Owais interviewed Israeli Prime Minister’s Office Arabic spokesman Ofir Gendelman in Arabic. He tried to explain Israel's position and its right to defend itself against the terrorism of Hamas that violated the ceasefires, but the anchorwoman relentlessly attacked him: "So Hamas is the terrorist here, and it is Hamas that violated the ceasefires, but who killed over 1,600 civilians, including hundreds of children, in Gaza?
"Was it Hamas that killed them? It was you," she said, and asked, “Aren’t you and Netanyahu ashamed to call Israel a moral country?”
Cartoon of Owais with Prime Minister’s Office Arabic spokesman
Later in the interview, she did not let go until Gendelman asked her: "Are you speaking as a journalist or as a Hamas spokesperson?" IDF Spokesman in Arabic, Maj. Avichay Adraee, who gives frequent interviews to the Arab media, praised Gengelman for braving out the show put on by the al-Jazeera journalist, who tried to deal a blow to the Israeli position.
However, Israel is not the only target of Owais' criticism. She also slammed television channels in the Arab world that incited against Palestinians during the operation, and especially channels in Egypt: "Their conduct is pitiful, disgusting and ridiculous."
She said that the Egyptian media's methods of coverage are obsolete, as are the clothes of those who star as the country's news anchormen.
Against the backdrop of her firm standing with Hamas in her journalism work, a flattering picture of Owais has been distributed in recent days in the social networks, along with the caption: "Thank you on behalf of all Palestinians – children, young people, old people, refugees and resistance activists. Ghada Owais, the excellent journalist, the voice of Gaza, the voice of Palestine."