It is not that long ago – four months, in fact – since the BBC’s man about town in Gaza was trying to persuade audiences that Hamas was trying to “rein in” rocket fire into Israel from other terrorist factions over which, he suggested, it had limited control.
In many of his reports in the weeks preceding Operation Pillar of Cloud, Jon Donnison chose to present Hamas as some sort of harassed ‘responsible adult’ in the Gaza Strip, conveniently side-stepping the subjects of Hamas’ tacit agreement to rocket fire and terror attacks by other groups which served its agenda at the time, and its control over the smuggling of weapons into the Strip.
It was therefore interesting to see on February 5th that perhaps a penny has finally dropped.
With that new-found insight, no doubt Donnison will soon be filing an incisive report on the establishment of a new Hamas military academy - named after Ahmed Jabari – as recently announced by Ismail Haniyeh.
“Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh announced on Thursday that the military academy, the first of its kind in the Gaza Strip, would prepare the children for the “phase of liberating Palestine.”
He said that children in grades 7-9 could join the school and graduate with a diploma or a BA in military affairs.
Haniyeh made this announcement during a ceremony in the Gaza Strip marking the birth of the prophet Muhammad. More than 10,000 schoolchildren attended the ceremony, which included a “military parade” by some of the teenagers.
The prime minister said he has instructed the Hamas-run Education Ministry to draw up plans for the establishment of the military academy. Haniyeh said that the new academy would educate and prepare children for the establishment of a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea.” “
And doubtless too the subject of the new dress code for women at Gaza’s Al Aqsa university will soon be the subject of a BBC report.
After all, this is the media organisation which informs its funding audiences that “they can expect the BBC to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world, giving insight into the way people live in other countries”.