BBC WS presenter: filmed evidence of Hamas’ misuse of hospitals is ‘rumours on the internet’

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is – as readers are most likely aware – an organisation which since the early days of the second Intifada has been providing financial, logistic and PR support to terrorist organisations which attack Israeli civilians.

One of the ISM’s activists currently located in the Gaza Strip is American Joe Catron who has been very busy in the past three weeks giving interviews to the Iranian regime-run Press TV, putting out propaganda material and acting as a voluntary human shield. Catron’s “standpoint” can be discerned very easily from his use of social media.

Tweet Catron


As readers also know, the BBC’s editorial guidelines oblige it to inform audiences of an interviewee’s “standpoint” so that his or her contribution can be understood in its correct context. However, when the BBC World Service’s Dam Damon interviewed Joe Catron for the July 31st edition of ‘World Update’ (available here for a limited period of time from around 43:21, or here as a separately promoted podcast), he failed to inform listeners that Catron is a member of the Hamas-supporting ISM and made no attempt whatsoever to “summarise” his “standpoint” with the result being that listeners were subjected to over three and a half minutes of undiluted Hamas propaganda, supposedly from a ‘neutral’ source.World Update Catron

Catron was introduced by Damon thus:

“Nine foreigners are in Gaza’s main hospital al Shifa. They are volunteering as human shields. They take turns sitting in the wards on 12 hour shifts. They think that their presence will help deter military attacks by Israeli forces. Other hospitals have human shields – so called human shields – as well. I’ve been speaking to one of these at al Shifa. He’s Joe Catron – 33 years old. The line wasn’t great. I think you’ll be able to hear though everything that is in Joe’s mind. Here’s what he told me.”

Catron: “In terms of aerial assaults they’ve gotten very close. Ahm…the other night I was here for the overnight shift from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and there were repeated airstrikes all around the building. I stepped outside. I could see flares as well as smoke coming from a short distance away. In terms of the ground invasion they haven’t pushed that close.”

Damon: “And has the hospital been hit at all?”

Catron: “The hospital has been hit peripherally. Ah…one wall was damaged by a shell the other day. I think there were a couple of injuries from that but it has not been targeted per se.”

Damon: “Because you will know that there have been all kinds of rumours on the internet about hospitals being used to hide men and indeed weapons. Any evidence?”

Catron: “Oh yes; I’ve heard all these…all kinds of these rumours. I’ve seen numerous claims that al Wafa hospital where I stayed for a week in Shuja’iya was the centre of a Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant command centre. Now every journalist that came into the hospital from every major news agency had full run of the place. They could go anywhere in it they liked. How none of them ever noticed this command centre…. Shifa as well is thick with reporters at the moment and I’ve seen no reports of anything like that from any of them.”

Damon: “Are you making a difference being there as a human shield?”

Catron: “You know, that’s difficult to say. Obviously the operational logic is that Israel is much more reluctant to target foreigners than it is Palestinians. Now it’s difficult to say. Ahm… I had a number of expectations at the beginning of this escalation about how far the Israelis were willing to go and what they were willing to do. They’ve already proven a number of those expectations wrong. So how safe we are here and how much of a deterrent we offer, I can’t offer a firm answer to that. All we can do is sit and hope.”

Damon: “Do you have any understanding of Israel’s position that the rockets are flying from Gaza, err…those rockets are intended to kill civilians, they’re entitled to respond?”

Catron: “Well I think it’s very clear looking at the outcomes who intends to kill civilians. Israel has now killed over a thousand of them while Hamas has targeted its attacks on Israeli soldiers and it’s been doing fairly well on that front considering the circumstances.”

Damon: “I guess you don’t mean to deny that the rockets fired by Hamas are targeting civilian areas inside Israel?”

Catron: “Well, Israel places many of its military assets in civilian neighbourhoods. The headquarters of the Israeli military is located in a large civilian block of buildings in Tel Aviv. Ahm…but Hamas has always made it clear that its rockets are aimed at these military assets. [unintelligible] also knowledge is that they’re unfortunately imprecise.”

Damon: “What about the people back home, Joe? Don’t they think that you’re being foolhardy?”

Catron: “I’m sure some of them do and they may have a point. [Damon laughs] Ahm…they’re a mix of course. America has a broad range of opinions.”

Damon: “What about your family?”

Catron: “Ahm…they’re a political mix when it comes to the situation. You would hear various perspectives from them.”

Damon closes the item by saying:

“That’s Joe Catron; described as a human shield at the al Shifa hospital in Gaza.”

So what did World Service radio audiences learn here and did anything in this interview contribute to fulfilling the BBC’s obligation according to its constitutional document to “build a global understanding of international issues”?

Well, they discovered that the BBC considers filmed and photographed evidence of the discovery of weapons, missiles, explosives and tunnel entrances in at least one hospital in the Gaza Strip to be “rumours on the internet”.

They got to hear the BBC provide a platform for Joe Catron’s obviously dishonest claim that Wafa hospital was not used by Hamas for military purposes and his promotion of the notion that the hospital in which he is currently located – Shifa – is not used by Hamas either. That of course is especially ridiculous in light of the fact that the BBC has interviewed at least one member of Hamas at that location.

Audiences also discovered – for the second time in two days – that not only has the BBC no intention of informing them about what really went on at Wafa hospital in Shuja’iya, but that it will actively hinder that information from coming to light, along with any other documentation of the use of civilians in Gaza as human shields.

They were also misled by Catron’s assertion that the foreign media in Gaza is able to report freely and that there cannot be any Hamas abuses of hospitals because the foreign media has not reported them. Increasingly, evidence coming out of the Gaza Strip shows that claim to be patently untrue. 

Listeners were exposed to Catron’s unchallenged and inaccurate assertion that over one thousand civilians have been killed in the Gaza Strip.

They were misled with regard to the civilian targets of Hamas missiles as Catron spouted propaganda straight from the Hamas handbook claiming that it targets military installations.

Clearly, the broadcasting of this interview with a Hamas supporter fails to contribute anything to the fulfilment of the BBC’s public purposes and the fact that his “standpoint” and affiliations were not declared to listeners breaches editorial guidelines.

No less worrying for the BBC should be the fact that it has rendered itself utterly indistinguishable from the Iranian regime’s media mouthpiece which Joe Catron usually frequents.



Another BBC social media guidance failure

Meet Naziru Mikailu. He works for the BBC World Service/ BBC Africa. And he likes to Tweet.

Tweet Naziru BBC

Tweet Naziru BBC 2

Tweet Naziru BBC 3

And there’s more here.

“You shouldn’t state your political preferences or say anything that compromises your impartiality. Don’t sound off about things in an openly partisan way. Don’t be seduced by the informality of social media into bringing the BBC into disrepute.”

Apparently he hasn’t read the BBC’s social media guidance

BBC’s Doucet promotes and amplifies Hamas “massacre” propaganda on WS radio

On the afternoon of July 20th the BBC promoted an item by Lyse Doucet included in its World Service’s ‘Newshour’ radio programme.

Tweet Doucet Newshour 20 7

That report – which is one of the most blatantly manipulative items the BBC has produced in the last two weeks – can be heard here. No context is provided, no background, no facts. The entire item is deliberately aimed purely at the level of emotion.

It is worth noting that according to other reports produced by the BBC, Shuja’iya is a neighbourhood with a population of 80,000. Doucet opens: [all emphasis in bold added]

“From midnight last night and throughout the night the soundtrack of Gaza was one of endless pounding and constant shelling and anyone who heard those sounds in the dark of night knew just how intense the military operations were and if you lived through that, that kind of intense bombardment, you were lucky enough to survive to tell the story this morning. And through most of today the shelling has continued. We spent hours there; we just returned and I’m going to share now an audio postcard from one of the neighbourhoods east of Gaza City that’s been under fire – Shuja’iya.

Now we’re in the rubble of the building that’s been shelled last night. The medics have rushed in. One…two…half a dozen medics in their…with their hands…they’re searching through the rubble. The sheets are ready, stretchers here and you can see body parts protruding…you can see the body parts protruding, buried under rocks and rubble, sand. And bits of torn cloth. This is a morning where the ambulances, the workers, are on the run. Another pulling…they’re pulling the material. See them pulling the material. My God. There’s a man emerging. The sound of shelling and the people are running. People are running everywhere you look. Bodies are being dug from the rubble. People are running and the sound of shelling, bombardment that went on through the night is continuing now in the day. Black clouds of smoke, white smoke as well, rising just beyond where we’re standing at the end of this street.

Everywhere you look on these streets people are trying to escape. Now coming down this road I can see two women. One young and the other with her an elderly woman with a long black coat, a white scarf and she’s holding as high as she can a piece of cloth – a white piece of cloth – a flag of surrender – as if that’s going to protect her. But she walks with dignity down this street.

This is the main hospital in Gaza and it’s absolutely packed and I’ve come in with Dr Hassan Hulaf [phonetic] who’s the…what’s happening here now on this cot? Oh there’s a little girl…”

Doctor: “Yeah…four years old girl…one of seven people the same family injured and this is her father.”

LD: “Aww…and what…her leg is bandaged, her hand is bandaged, but…and there’s blood. Where did she come from? From Shuja’iya?”

Doctor: “Tufah.”

LD: “Mmm? Tufah…also….in…she’s come from Tufah just next to Shuja’iya?”

Doctor: “Yes. One member killed also of the family and seven injured and this is one of them.”Newshour WS

LD: “I see [unintelligible] little girl nearby. It’s absolutely packed in here. The medics in their green clothes…blue clothes…and every bed is taken. Many of them are children. Looking…I’m looking down the corridors here….another – an older child. A boy…ah…his legs are all….his legs….two legs are bandaged. His feet are bloodied. He’s wearing sports clothes. He’s clenching his fists.”

Doctor: “His name is Izz al Abdul Karim [phonetic]. Also another member of the injured people in this massacre this morning.”

LD: “Have you had this many people coming yet in this escalation?”

Doctor: “Yes.”

LD: “Is this the biggest number of patients you’ve had since this started?”

Doctor: “That’s right. A big number of killed people. More than 40 people killed and around 200 were injured. So this is an example of the innocent childhood killed by the Israelis now intentionally. By the Israeli tanks without, you know, [unintelligible] bombardment of the civilian during night. This is attack from start of the Israeli aggression even before the offensive – ground offensive.”

Allowing unchallenged free rein – and amplification – to the Doctor’s baseless claim of a “massacre” carried out “intentionally”, Doucet makes absolutely no attempt to report accurately or impartially on the events in Shuja’iya. No effort is made to explain to audiences that the residents were advised to evacuate four days previously, that Hamas ordered them to stay to act as human shields or why military action was necessary there. No inquiry is made into the topic of how many of the dead and injured civilians were actually killed by terrorist fire and notably, the words ‘terrorists’ and ‘Hamas’ do not appear at all in this report. No mention is made of Hamas’ missile launchers, tunnels and weapons stores located in the neighbourhood: all that would detract of course from the gut-wrenching, emotional picture she so earnestly tries to paint.

Emotional reactions such as those the BBC’s chief international correspondent is deliberately trying to solicit in this item produce judgement. When audiences are prevented from seeing the whole picture in its proper context as they are in this item, such judgement is necessarily flawed and can even be dangerous. And that is how a lethal narrative is created.

Lyse Doucet and her colleagues know that very well. They – and we – have been there before.

Related Articles:

Myths and lethal narratives on the BBC website

Another lethal narrative on the BBC website


BBC World Service gives inaccurate report on the ceasefire that wasn’t

As readers are no doubt already aware, the ‘ceasefire’ of July 15th lasted a mere six hours due to the fact that terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip did not cease their fire of missiles into Israel.

However, a BBC World Service radio programme – BBC World Update: Daily Commute – which was broadcast at 05:30 US Eastern time (12:30 Israel time) on July 15th – i.e. three and a half hours after the ceasefire supposedly came into effect, – gives some interesting indications regarding the BBC’s already emerging framing of the topic of the ceasefire.WS Daily Commute

The programme (available here as a podcast for a limited period of time) is presented by Dan Damon who opens by saying: [all emphasis in bold added, emphasis in italics in original]

“Coming up: the Israeli security cabinet has accepted a ceasefire proposal by Egypt but the armed wing of Hamas in Gaza rejects that. Where does that leave the current strife?”

A newsreader then tells listeners:

“The Israeli security cabinet has approved an Egyptian proposal for a truce in its week-long conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza. Almost 200 Palestinians have been killed in the latest conflict, many of them civilians.”

The news bulletin then moves on to an interview with James Reynolds in Tel Aviv, after which the newsreader introduces Yolande Knell.

Knell: “The military wing of Hamas has said that the terms being offered by the Egyptians would amount to a surrender and is continuing to insist on its own conditions which include the release of Hamas activists from Israeli jails and also an opening of the border crossings between the Gaza Strip, Israel and Egypt. That said, we have to say on the ground here, what we have seen over the past few hours is certainly a much lower intensity of fighting.”

The programme then returns to Dan Damon.

“…this morning some glimmers that an end to the violence that has claimed almost 200 Palestinian lives in the past week might be at an end. The Israeli security cabinet this morning agreed an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire. Let’s talk to Kevin Connolly, our correspondent in Jerusalem. It’s reported, Kevin, that Hamas rejected that proposal and I think there’s been further development.”

Kevin Connolly: “Well what we have here at the moment is half a ceasefire in the sense that Israel has accepted it. Hamas for the time being has not and the military wing of Hamas in Gaza has really been talking down the proposal from Egypt which is on the table. Now that’s not to say that Hamas won’t eventually be talked round by the Egyptians but for the moment, as I say, we have half a ceasefire.”

DD: “And it’s difficult, I guess, to understand completely what the mood is inside the Palestinian territories where you are but surely after nearly 200 deaths on one side and…eh…some injuries on the Israeli side, the people inside Gaza must be desperate for some kind of a ceasefire.”

KC: “I haven’t the slightest doubt that Palestinian civilians in Gaza – we talk to our people there every day, of course – are desperate for an end to the suffering and destruction. Hospitals there are struggling to treat the injured, many people are homeless, people are – you know – living in terrifying circumstances. Nothing is more terrifying than being bombed from the air. But politically of course, Hamas also has an agenda here. Having embarked on this round of hostilities, I think it is going to feel that it can’t emerge from them without some kind of political victory to show its people, so something is going to have to be found to allow Hamas an elegant way out, if you like, of the fighting.”

DD: “And what would be called a victory? What would be a victory from Hamas’ point of view?”

KC: “Well it’s given us quite a long list of demands. One of the things it would like – which is unlikely, I think – is to see Israel releasing Hamas prisoners, some of whom have been rounded up over the last couple of weeks. But a more important strategic goal for Hamas and one which would help its standing with the Palestinian people in Gaza is some kind of easing of the economic restrictions which are jointly imposed on the enclave by Israel and by Egypt. The new Egyptian government in particular has been very tough with Hamas – which it sees as an offshoot of the Muslim brotherhood – so it’s closed the smuggling tunnels which were a kind of economic lifeline both for Hamas and for the people of Gaza. That is one area where there’s a bit of scope for Egypt to offer Hamas something in return at least for coming to the table. I think what the Egyptians tried to do is sequence all of this so that you begin with a cessation of hostilities then you start to talk about things like prisoner releases or an easing of economic conditions. So, talking is going on we think between Egypt and Hamas. The Egyptians do have cards to play there, so the situation as it stands where Israel has accepted and Hamas has rejected – that could change. There has been a bit of rocket fire today from Hamas – or from the Gaza militants anyway – towards Israel at a relatively low level of intensity and no response yet from Israel so, it feels as though a diplomatic game is underway and success is not guaranteed.”

Let’s look at that last part first. After having spent the entire item telling listeners about “half a ceasefire” but failing to clarify what that really means in practical terms, Connolly in his last sentence finally informs them of “a bit of rocket fire …towards Israel” (not at it) at a “relatively low intensity”.

In fact, between 09:00 and 12:30 local time (when this programme was broadcast) over 22 missiles had already been fired at the Eshkol region, Ashkelon, Sderot, Ashdod, Kiryat Malachi, Be’er Tuvia, Netivot, Rehovot and Nes Ziona. One of those missiles landed in the yard of a house in Ashdod and one person was injured in Sderot. Three minutes after this programme went on air, missiles were also fired at Haifa, Daliyat al Carmel and the Carmel and Zichron Ya’akov areas. All in all, between 09:00 and 15:00 local time, fifty missiles were fired at civilian targets in Israel by terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip. By no possible interpretation of the word is that a “bit” of rocket fire.

Notable too is of course Knell’s description of convicted terrorists – including those freed in prisoner release deals – as “Hamas activists”, the fact that at no point in this broadcast are listeners reminded that Hamas is an internationally designated terrorist organization, Connolly’s bizarre reference to Hamas being “seen” as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and Damon’s description of Kevin Connolly’s location as “the Palestinian territories” even though he was in Jerusalem.

Likewise, it is remarkable that both Knell and Connolly chose to highlight the same two issues from Hamas’ pre-existing list of demands – ignoring no less significant other ones such as the demand for the Palestinian Authority to transfer money to pay Hamas employees and the demand that parties unnamed “stop interfering in the new unity government”. Whilst Knell and Connolly focus on what he terms “economic restrictions”, neither of them bother to clarify to listeners that Egypt’s actions against the smuggling tunnels came as part of its crackdown on Jihadist terror in northern Sinai and that Israel’s measures are aimed at preventing the entry of weapons into the Gaza Strip will obviously be just as relevant in the future as this round of conflict has proved they were in the past.

Most significant, however, is the fact that by the time this programme began at 12:30 local time, the ceasefire had been rejected by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad  and Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade took responsibility for some of the missile fire during the supposed ceasefire.  Most importantly, Hamas – not just its “military wing” as claimed several times in this programme – had already rejected the ceasefire via its spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

“In an early-morning meeting, Israel’s security cabinet approved the cease-fire, which calls for a de-escalation of fighting by both sides starting at 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday, with hostilities ending within 12 hours.

At a news conference at a hospital in Gaza City, a Hamas official said his group wouldn’t observe the cease-fire terms proposed by the Egyptian government because no one had conferred with them.

“We don’t like the policy pushing us into a corner,” said spokesman Samy Abu Zohry. Hamas was fighting for Palestinians, not a cease-fire, he said.”

It will be worth keeping an eye on additional BBC reporting on the topic of the ceasefire-that-wasn’t in order to note if it is reported in a similarly inaccurate and misleading fashion, downplaying both Hamas rejection of the opportunity for a halt to hostilities and missile attacks on Israeli civilians. 

BBC World Service broadcasts unchallenged defamatory Hamas propaganda to millions

At the heart of the BBC’s very raison d’etre are the public purposes defined in its Royal Charter. One of those purposes is titled ‘Global Outlook’ and it defines the BBC’s role as a provider of (accurate) information which will enable audiences to understand world affairs and reach informed opinions on international topics.

Within the framework of content provided there is of course room for both factual information and clearly signposted comment and opinion, but the promotion of unchallenged falsehoods and propaganda from terrorist organisations is something for which one can be fairly confident the BBC’s funding public does not expect to pay.

As of April 2014, the BBC World Service is funded by licence fee payers just like domestic content.

On July 9th the BBC World Service programme ‘Newshour’ broadcast an interview with Hamas’ Osama Hamdan in Beirut which can be heard here.Newshour WS

At the beginning of the interview Hamdan presents his ‘Alice in Wonderland’ account of cause of the current round of conflict and Operation Protective Edge, with little interference from the programme’s presenter.

Hamdan: “For 28 days Israelis launched attack against the Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, then Hamas start to react against that…”

Of course what Hamdan is actually describing here are the search and rescue operations for the three kidnapped and murdered Israeli teenagers and Israeli responses to the missile attacks from the Gaza Strip which was deliberately escalated immediately as those operations began. He insists:

“There must be a clear position that Israel started that and the Palestinians have no choice…”

The presenter promotes the context-free notion that:

“It’s the Palestinians – and many of them civilians – who are dying…”

Hamdan uses that cue to say:

“Well the Palestinian civilians are dying every day by the Israeli attacks and those civilians are asking their leadership to do something to protect them. It’s clear that on the political level no-one is responding for the Palestinian political leadership…”

An astute interviewer might have asked Hamdan at that stage why then the Hamas leadership is currently located in Beirut and Qatar and would have also picked up on his overt and revealing criticism of the Palestinian Authority with which Hamas signed a unity agreement just weeks ago, together with the consequent justification of Hamas’ ‘Hizballah-style’ tactic of claiming to be the protectors of the people by means of its own private militia, despite being party to a government with security forces of its own.  This interviewer, however, missed all that – just as she also passed up on the opportunity to challenge Hamdan’s cynical use of ‘two state-solution’ rhetoric despite (hopefully) knowing that Hamas rejects the concept of two states for two peoples.

She does, however, find time to ask a leader of an internationally designated terror organisation why not enough of its missiles are hitting Israeli civilians:

“Hamas rockets that are being  fired are either landing on open ground or being intercepted by Israel. What’s your reaction to the fact that they’re not even making their targets?”

The most egregious part of this interview comes towards the end when Hamdan is permitted to promote unchallenged lies and conspiracy theories regarding the murders of Gil-ad Sha’ar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel.

Presenter: “Just for the record, does Hamas condemn that action of abducting Israeli teenagers and having them killed?”

Osama Hamdan: “Before knowing the complete details we will not comment on this issue.”

Presenter: “Why will you not comment on something that is very straightforward? The involvement of three teenage civilians…”

OH: “Maybe Netanyahu did that. Who knows? Maybe Netanyahu did that. Maybe his intelligence did that – who knows? If Netanyahu did that we will condemn Netanyahu. He’s killing Israelis in order to launch attacks against the Palestinians.”

Presenter: “But surely you would condemn just the very act of taking three teenagers who are civilians – they are not in uniform – they are civilians.”

OH: “No: I want to remind you that two of them are militants [sic]. They are serving in the Israeli army, two of them. And according to the international law they are settlers and the settlers according to the Geneva Accord, they are not civilians. They are 19 years old, that’s true, but they are serving in the Israeli army. Doesn’t [it] make any sense…”

Presenter: “Do you in that….”

OH: “…for you and I’m telling you that there is someone who is 19 years old shooting bullets against the Palestinians and serving in the army. Do you consider him as a civilian also? He’s serving in the army….”

Presenter: “Am I to understand…Sir….am I to understand that you are justifying the taking of teenagers and having them killed?”

OH: “I want to say clearly and I don’t want anyone to put words in my mouth. Those – two of them they are soldiers serving in the Israeli army. The third also is a settler. I accept the definition of the international accords for those people. If the accords consider them civilians, well it’s OK. But I know and you know: according to Geneva Accord and the international agreements, they  are not defined as civilians. Israel is trying to create a fake story which will not be buyed [bought] by the Palestinians and I wish no-one can buy it from someone like Netanyahu who is lying and destroying all the chances for the peace in the region.”

BBC audiences learned nothing factual about the circumstances which brought about Operation Protective Edge from this interview. They were, however, exposed to the defamatory lies and propaganda of an internationally designated terrorist organization without any genuine effort being made by the BBC presenter to ensure that audiences did not go away with mistaken impressions regarding the kidnapped boys themselves, the perpetrators of the crime or the civilian status of people who live in the ‘wrong’ place according to both Hamas and the BBC.

What audiences might perhaps have gained though is a chilling insight into how the kind of rhetoric which stereotypes and demonises ‘settlers’ and promotes cherry-picked interpretations of ‘international law’ can be used to contextualize, excuse and even condone violence against Israelis.

Worryingly, the BBC’s own promotion of ‘settler’ stereotypes and its frequently touted selective interpretations of ‘international law’ is not worlds away from the Hamas position on that topic.  


BBC WS journalist tells Israeli official to how run Gaza operation

As we noted here yesterday, one theme which already cropped up in the BBC’s reporting of the first hours of Operation Protective Edge was the portrayal of buildings used by Hamas as command and control centres and missile-launching sites in the Gaza Strip solely as “houses” or “homes”, without any information being given to audiences regarding their additional use for terrorism purposes.

That theme was repeated in the July 8th 13:00 GMT edition of the BBC World Service radio’s ‘Global News’ programme which is available here  and here as a podcast for a limited period of time from around 04:20.BBC WS Global News

Presenter Valerie Sanderson opens the item thus:

Valerie Sanderson: “Reports say that Israel’s security cabinet has authorised the military to call up 40 thousand reservists for a possible assault on the Gaza Strip. Israel had warned that it had the option of using ground troops in addition to the aerial bombardment it’s conducting to stop rocket attacks which have continued from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel not to escalate military operations. He said that there was a need to refrain from dragging the region into more destruction. But latest reports say at least nine Palestinians have been injured in Israeli airstrikes. Some Palestinian families were warned to evacuate their homes after midnight. One man says his house and those of his neighbours were then levelled.

Although the BBC must surely know the name of the man it interviewed because otherwise it would not have been able to verify and fact-check his story before broadcasting it to millions around the world, it does not reveal his identity or location to listeners. However, the four dual-use residential/command and control centres targeted in the early hours of July 8th were all used by Hamas terrorists.

Unidentified man: “Around 3:20 a.m. we had a call from the army. The army called one of our family. They told us to leave the house. The whole family evacuated our house and we told the neighbours and all of us left our homes. They attacked the house about ten minutes after we’d left. The house is totally destroyed.”

Unlike the BBC, other media organisations presented a less simplistic and superficial account of similar stories, showing that in at least some cases civilian casualties were caused by the use of ‘human shields’. The Washington Post reports: [emphasis added]

“Also among the dead Tuesday were seven people, including three teens, who were killed in an airstrike on the three-story cinder-block house of a Hamas operative in the teeming city of Khan Younis, Hamas officials said. The operative was apparently not among the casualties.

One of the occupants of the house, Sawsan Kawarea, said she received a call from someone who identified himself as “David” from the Israeli military — apparently one of the warnings Israel says it issues to prevent civilian deaths.

“He asked for me by name. He said: ‘You have women and children in the house. Get out. You have five minutes before the rockets come,’ ” Kawarea said in an interview outside the crumbled building.

She ran outside with her children, she said. A first small missile struck the house — what Gazans call an Israeli “warning rocket.” After that strike, a crowd of young men ran into the house and up to the roof, thinking they would either protect the house from another strike or die defying the Israeli bombardment.

A second, much more destructive missile hit the home five minutes later. It leveled the building and sent dazed and panicked people into a small, sandy alley, their faces covered in white dust and blood. Hamas medical officials said more than a dozen people were wounded in the strike.

Ahmed Kawarea said he ran home when he heard about the first rocket. The second missile hit when he was in the stairwell on his way to the roof.

“We are civilians,” he said. “We don’t have anyone who lives in the house who works in the resistance.”

But neighbors suggested that one of the occupants was a member of the military wing of Hamas. Soon after the house was hit, a man pulled a sidearm out of his waistband and scurried into the gutted building, saying he had been sent to retrieve a laptop computer from the debris.”

The New York Times has the same story: [emphasis added]

“The call came to the cellphone of his brother’s wife, Salah Kaware said Tuesday. Mr. Kaware lives in Khan Younis, in southeast Gaza, and the caller said that everyone in the house must leave within five minutes, because it was going to be bombed.

A further warning came as the occupants were leaving, he said in a telephone interview, when an Israeli drone apparently fired a flare at the roof of the three-story home. “Our neighbors came in to form a human shield,” he said, with some even going to the roof to try to prevent a bombing. Others were in the stairway when the house was bombed not long afterward.”

Whether or not the interviewee in this programme is a member of the Kaware family, we do not know, but clearly the BBC has chosen to erase from audience view the all-important aspect of the use by Hamas and other terrorist organisations of residential buildings for the purposes of terrorism. That theme is further reinforced when Sanderson introduces an interview with a Hamas spokesman, but fails to point out to listeners that his claims of ‘occupation’ are inaccurate and irrelevant seeing as Israel left the Gaza Strip nine years ago and that his claim of strikes on “civilian institutions and homes” is false.

VS: “Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Hamas movement which controls Gaza – Sami Abu Zukhri – said Palestinians would meet any aggression head on.”

SAZ: “We warned the Israeli occupiers against continuing the escalation and targeting of civilian institutions and homes. This is a red line we will not allow the occupiers to cross. We assure you that our resistance is fully ready to face the aggression firmly and threats of the occupation and its crimes will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or scare them.”

But the ‘best’ is yet to come. Sanderson goes on:

VS: “Sami Abu Zukhri. Mark Regev is the chief spokesman for the Israeli prime minister. Before the latest announcement by the security cabinet, Rebecca Kesby asked him if Israel is engaged in a calculated escalation.”

One of the recurrent phenomena associated with media coverage of outbreaks of conflict in this region is the proliferation of journalists who suddenly transform into self-appointed ‘experts’ in military strategy and ‘international law’ and the rest of this item shows a prime example. BBC journalist Rebecca Kesby – who “studied politics at The University of Leeds” – uses her questions to the Israeli spokesman to advance the inaccurate and defamatory notion of “collective punishment”, to suggest that there is no need for Israeli action against missile fire from the Gaza Strip because Israel has the Iron Dome missile defence system, to yet again promote the falsehood of Israeli attacks on ‘civilian’ houses and to suggest some distinctly off the wall alternatives to current Israeli military strategy.BBC WS Kesby

Kesby’s questions appear below. Readers can hear Mark Regev’s extensive – and very patient – answers at the link above.  

RK: “Of course the Iron Dome has proved itself to be a very effective defence mechanism protecting Israel and you’ve got advanced early warning mechanisms which have also helped to protect the population in Israel. Why do you need to go in so hard now?”

RK: “Well I’m glad you bring up the word civilian because of course we have had some civilian casualties in Gaza over the past 24 hours as well – people telling us that their homes have been destroyed. Many people see this action in Gaza as collective punishment and they say that that is illegal.”

RK: “But many would say that… many would say that…whilst that [Hamas' use of human shields] is an effective and deplorable tactic by Hamas, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people’s homes should be destroyed. What about this idea that there could be an Israeli ground offensive looming? Is that something you’re considering?”

RK: “If that’s the case though, why not try to arrest these people [Hamas terrorists in Gaza Strip]?”

RK: “I mean; there are other ways. You don’t necessarily have to have ground troops to make arrests, do you? I mean you’ve got an extremely advanced, highly trained military organisation that could make surgical strikes of the arresting kind. Why don’t you attempt that?”

RK: “So what is the objective now? How are you going to de-escalate this situation that….it doesn’t look as if there’s any attempt at that at the moment.”

“Surgical strikes of the arresting kind”? Clearly way out of her depth, Kesby’s self-appointed upgrade to military strategy consultant is not just embarrassing to hear; it actively distracts listeners from forming a proper understanding of the real issues at stake.  


BBC News describing Hamas command & control centres as ‘houses’

As readers are no doubt aware, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in the early hours of July 8th in an attempt to bring to a halt the barrages of missile fire against Israeli civilians by terrorists in the Gaza Strip which have been ongoing for almost a month and has severely intensified and widened over the last few days.

The BBC News website’s main and Middle East pages announced in their lead headlines on the morning of July 8th “Israel launches new strikes on Gaza” with mention of missile attacks on Israeli citizens relegated to the sub-header.

jul 8 hp am

A similar title was given to the main article on the topic – “Israel launches new air strikes on Gaza Strip“. The article (changes to which can be seen here) opens:

“Israel has carried out more air strikes on the Gaza Strip, following dozens of rockets fired by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.”

No time scale is given in that introduction and so BBC audiences have no idea over what period those “dozens of rockets” were fired. In fact, on the day before the operation commenced – July 7th –more than eighty-five missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip at civilian targets in Israel but the BBC’s tepid description of course gives readers no real appreciation of the intensity of the attacks or their range. In addition, the article neglects to mention that in addition to Hamas, other terrorist organisations have also taken responsibility for missile fire, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a Fatah-linked group. The report goes on:Gaza art 8 7 opPE

“At least 15 Palestinians, including two women and a child, were reportedly hurt in the strikes.

Hamas said it fired rockets to respond to “Zionist aggression”, after accusing Israel of killing five of its fighters.

Israel denied the claim. It says it has now begun an open-ended aerial operation to end rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel says the operation will be expanded in the coming days and that 1,500 reservists have been called up.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has told the BBC that Israel had the capacity to take its operation “up a notch” and warned that a ground incursion was “not off the table”. “

The five “fighters” to which the BBC refers in its amplification of Hamas propaganda were in fact among those killed whilst handling explosives in a cross-border tunnel in preparation for a terror attack. Oddly, that fact is noted later on in the article and so it is difficult to understand the editorial considerations behind the amplification of a Hamas statement the BBC obviously knows not to be accurate.

The article goes on to repeat a misleading theme which has been promoted in other BBC coverage too.

“Tension has spiked in recent days over the murders of three young Israelis and a Palestinian teenager.”

In fact, augmented missile attacks commenced some two and a half weeks before it was known that three Israeli teenagers and one Palestinian youth had been murdered and they are related to a series of factors unconnected to those murders; not least the balance of power between Hamas and Fatah.

Later versions of the article include the following statement from the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly:

“The sudden escalation has come just days after there was talk of a possible truce between Israel and Gaza with each side suggesting that calm would be answered with calm, our correspondent adds.”

Whilst Israel did indeed state that calm would be met with calm, Connolly’s representation of the Hamas reaction is inaccurate and misleading.

“Head of Hamas’s foreign relations Osama Hamdan said that his movement will not accept any ceasefire in light of the continued siege on Gaza.

He told al-Resalah Net in an interview published on Saturday that the Israeli siege on Gaza is an ongoing aggression that must be stopped.

Hamdan said that there were no regional attempts to reach a ceasefire between Palestinian resistance and Israeli occupation, saying that Egypt did not intervene so far to broker a new calm or to stabilize the old one.

He said that the ceaseless Israeli aggression on the occupied Palestinian land revealed hypocrisy of many parties that only viewed resistance as “terrorism”.

Hamdan described the continued security coordination between the PA and the occupation as a flagrant betrayal of national constants.

He pointed out that certain elements within the PA had supported the Israeli story about the recent events by holding the Palestinian resistance fully responsible for the escalation.”

Later on in this somewhat confused and repetitive article it is stated:

“Hamas said Israel targeted two houses and four training facilities used by the militants across Gaza.

Palestinian medics said 15 people were injured, including two women and a child, in the southern town of Khan Younis.

Hamas militants reportedly warned they would enlarge the radius of their targets if Israel continued with the air strikes.”

The theme of “houses” – or “homes” – was also amplified (albeit citing different numbers) in a BBC World Service tweet and in a filmed report from July 8th by the BBC’s Gaza correspondent Rushdi Abualouf which was aired on BBC television news as well as appearing on the BBC News website.

Tweet WS homes

Abualouf report 8 7

In his report Abualouf says:

“The spokesman of the Hamas-run interior ministry has said the number of airstrikes has risen into thirty targets. The airstrikes targeted, like, eh…military compound for Hamas and also they have hit five houses as the Hamas spokesman said.”

Reasonable viewers or readers would of course interpret those references to “houses” or “homes” as meaning just random civilian dwellings occupied by residents of the Gaza Strip. That, however, is not the case.

All those “houses” are in fact terror command and control centres used by the following known terrorists:

“Ei’ad Sakik, a Hamas terrorists in Gaza, involved in rocket terrorism against the State of Israel.

Abdullah Hshash, a Hamas terrorist in Rafah, involved in rocket terrorism against the State of Israel during the past few weeks and in the past as well.

Samer Abu Daka, a Hamas terrorist in Khan Yunis, involved in terrorist activity against the State of Israel.

Hassan Abdullah, a Hamas terrorist in Khan Yunis, involved in rocket terrorism against the State of Israel during the past few weeks.”

Despite that information being available in the public domain, the BBC elects to amplify misleading and inaccurate Hamas propaganda in its written and filmed reports and on social media.

One other remarkable fact about this article is its complete failure to inform readers of the highly significant fact that, as of June 2nd 2014, the Palestinian unity government is in charge in the Gaza Strip and of course that government is committed to all previous agreements signed with Israel – which include the disarming of terrorist organisations. 

Only one kind of incitement worth mentioning for BBC Trending

The July 5th edition of the BBC World Service programme ‘BBC Trending’, presented by Anne-Marie Tomchak, included a discussion with BBC Arabic’s Abdiraheem Saeed on the topic of social media use and recent events in Israel and the PA controlled areas. The programme is available here, with the item beginning at around 01:25.BBC Trending 5 7 14

An abridged, filmed version of the item also appeared on the BBC News website on July 7th under the title “#BBCtrending: Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?“.

The audio item begins with an interesting presentation of recent events.

Anne-Marie Tomchak: “This week the hashtag ‘GazaUnderAttack’ has been trending. It’s been used more than 231 thousand time in the past seven days. But the hashtag itself isn’t new. It’s reappeared on social media because of fresh tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. Now earlier this week the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli youths were found in the West Bank. Israel has blamed Hamas, but they’ve denied responsibility. And then later in the week a Palestinian teenager was abducted and killed in Jerusalem. The deaths have fuelled tensions and sparked new clashes on the ground and it’s all moving really fast. Abdiraheem – can you just give us a sense of what’s happening as of when we’re recording this programme on Friday?”

Abdiraheem Saeed: “Yeah, so things kind of started on Monday when the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers were found around Hebron and they went missing about two weeks and a half ago and since then the city of Hebron has been locked down. Israel accuses Hamas of being behind the attack and has since launched a number of air attacks on Gaza, partly because it says there has been rocket attacks coming in from Gaza on Israeli cities.”

AMT: “Right, so rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel and there’ve been Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and it’s those airstrikes on Gaza that are a part of the reason why this hashtag ‘GazaUnderAttack’ is trending.”

Let’s have a look at the messaging in this segment of the programme. Most notable is the misleading impression given to BBC audiences that “things kind of started on Monday”. In fact, a huge upsurge in the number of missile attacks by terrorist organisations from the Gaza Strip began immediately following the kidnappings of Gil-ad Sha’ar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach on June 12th, but there had also been several attacks before that date, including on June 1st and 2nd, June 7th, June 8th and June 11th. Since June 12th, over 150 missiles have hit southern Israel, but despite that, Saeed still presents those attacks in terms of “Israel says” and without informing listeners of the numbers involved.

Another notable feature is the attempt to tie Israeli responses to missile fire to the discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers and the implication that they are some sort of ‘punishment’ for Hamas involvement in the kidnappings and murders. Likewise, the use of the broad terms “airstrikes on Gaza” and “air attacks on Gaza” fails to clarify that the strikes target specific terror-related facilities – not “Gaza” as a whole – and hence misleads listeners.  

Remarkably too, this item continues the line adopted by the BBC since it first began reporting on the kidnappings, according to which Hamas denials of involvement are amplified – despite the intelligence indicating otherwise – and no explanation is given as to why “Hebron has been locked down”: because the two main suspects who are still on the run originate from that city, which is one of Hamas’ main strongholds outside of the Gaza Strip.

The item then goes on to discuss the topic of the use of unrelated photographs to illustrate Tweets sent under that trending hashtag.

AMT: “We’ve been analysing a number of the images being shared on social media and we found that many of them aren’t from this week at all and some of them are from Syria and from other conflicts.”

That, of course, is an issue with which BBC journalists should already be familiar and of course it is not only inaccurately described images which mislead people on social media regarding events in the Gaza Strip – see ‘related articles’ below. 

The presenter then interviews an unnamed British teenager who is unperturbed by the fact that she posted old photographs on Twitter under the title ‘this is Gaza right now’, after which she remarks:

“That’s actually quite worrying – that someone who’s trying to get information out there and share it with their family and friends and possibly with more people, isn’t actually too bothered about the fact that some of these images are not what they seem to be.”

Abdiraheem Saeed’s answer once again promotes a misleading picture of broad airstrikes on the Gaza Strip:

“Yeah, so a lot of people are following the news and are aware of these aerial attacks. It’s a question of getting some photos and some faces to the casualties and those information are not always immediately available so a lot of people tend to recycle old photos, whether by intent or genuinely believing these were recent photos. So you’ve just got to find the right people to follow and double check the images that you see.”

AMT: “So what this young woman is saying is that the media isn’t reporting the reality of the situation and that’s why she has turned to social media.”

AS: “Yes. And that has been a popular sentiment on Twitter for people who thought the Palestinian perspective is not getting enough coverage in the media – it’s what they call the mainstream media – so they turn to what they see as an alternative – social media – to get those stories out.”

Towards the end of the item the presenter asks Saeed about other social platforms.

AS: “Yes. More recently since the bodies were found of the Israeli teenagers there were a number of calls on Twitter and Facebook and pages set up calling for revenge – to avenge the death of the Israeli teenagers – and selfies – and they’ve been called selfies of hate – of, you know, calling for revenge and also, you know, there were cases – some cases – of apparently where Israeli soldiers taking those kind of selfies.”

AMT: “Was that on a Facebook page?”

AS: “Yes.”

AMT: “Which has since been taken down.”

AS: “Yeah, it has been condemned as well by certain Israeli politicians but it’s something that has been going around on social media.”

Of course not only has that Facebook page been taken down, but the Israeli Ministry of Justice had already set up an ‘incitement hotline’ where citizens can report offensive social media postings two days before this BBC programme was aired and the army had already punished the soldiers involved in the case he mentioned. Saeed, however, refrains from informing BBC audiences of official Israeli reactions to the instances of incitement he describes. 

Interestingly – as we noted in a previous post relating to a BBC Trending report (to which Abdiraheem Saeed also contributed) on the use of social media during the recent events – BBC Trending did not appear to be interested in informing audiences about the use of social media in both official and unofficial Palestinian celebrations of the kidnappings of the three Israeli teenagers.  Likewise, this week’s ’round-up’ scrupulously avoids any mention of the many examples of incitement spread by parties to the PA unity government on social media, including the picture below, titled “we will burn the settlements” which appeared on Fatah’s Facebook page.

Fatah FB

What was it the BBC’s Andrew Roy said on July 5th?

“Well we try to look at the entirety of our coverage. We’re not minute counting. We are ensuring that across the whole thing we can look back on our coverage of this and say we did give fair balance to each side.”

Fair balance is not only achieved by means of what is reported: what is not reported is often no less critical in skewing that balance.

 Related Articles:

BBC World Service promotes inaccurate information on Twitter

That renowned BBC accuracy and impartiality…

BBC’s Gaza journalist Tweets PA propaganda story

BBC’s Abualouf promotes Hamas “fishermen” PR line

Context-free Tweet from BBC’s Gaza correspondent

BBC pats itself on the back for its ME coverage

Many thanks to the reader who alerted us to this item broadcast on July 5th on the BBC World Service’s ‘Outside Source.

Tweet Outside Source Andy Roy

The interview with Andrew Roy can be heard here.

AR: “Well the BBC’s one of the few organisations that has permanent offices in Gaza, in Ramallah, in Jerusalem, so we are better placed than many to make sure that we report both sides of the story. Ah…we’re very careful about the language we use. We’re very careful about the interviews we do and ensuring we have balance in both points of view that are put across and also just the volume of interviews we do from both sides. Because we do know that we come under extremely close scrutiny on this and right from the very beginning we’ve been very careful to make sure that we’ve spoken to…eh…families on both sides of this issue; with Israeli families and Palestinian families.”

Presenter: “How do you balance it? Do you look at each half-hour? Do you look at each hour? Do you go wider across at say a 24 hour period?”

AR: “Well we try to look at the entirety of our coverage. We’re not minute counting. We are ensuring that across the whole thing we can look back on our coverage of this and say we did give fair balance to each side. So it’s not a minute by minute thing, no.”

Presenter: “Do you have a situation where one side is not as media-friendly or easily accessible – with the situation in Gaza – as, say, the Israeli Defence Forces?”

AR: “It is sometimes difficult. Some sides of any conflict are possibly better at getting their message across, but it’s our job as journalists to make sure that we go the extra mile to get interviews and to make sure we do try to balance things.”

Presenter: “When you get people complaining that they feel one side has been given more air-time or more favour than the other, what do you do?”

AR: “We answer them by giving them the evidence that we’ve tried to put the other side as often as we can.”

No doubt we will be returning to these words in the not too distant future.

BBC’s Gaza correspondent tells WS listeners civilian kibbutz is ‘military outpost’

Listeners to the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Outside Source’ on July 2nd heard presenter Ros Atkins speaking to the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly and the BBC Gaza office’s Rushdi Abualouf about the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir from Shuafat. That segment of the programme is available here.OS logo

Connolly begins by continuing the BBC’s across the board promotion of the incident to audiences as having been perpetrated by Israeli Jews, even though no proof of that speculation has so far come to light, oddly defining it as “sectarian”. Listeners will also gain some insight into the interesting way in which Connolly – and presumably his colleagues – have interpreted the Israeli prime minister’s condemnation of the murder.

Connolly: “We know very little [unintelligible] person about Muhammed Abu Khdeir yet and that’s one of the tragedies of this kind of sectarian murder of course – if that’s what it turns out to be – that he wasn’t killed because of who he was; merely as a matter of his ethnic identity. As I say, the real fear here is that this is a sectarian tit-for-tat killing. This is all still evolving – the Israeli police aren’t saying that clearly yet – but when you look at the statement from Benjamin Netanyahu, which I would think we would translate that as being a despicable murder, it’s very, very strong language from Benjamin Netanyahu. He was challenged by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to come out and condemn it and has done so in the strongest possible terms, so I think the fact that Netanyahu was talking in those terms shows you that Israelis as well as Palestinians assume this to be a sectarian killing and Benjamin Netanyahu, who has already made it known that he’s calling on the country’s security minister Yitzhak Aharonovich to catch the killers of this Palestinian teenager, that is all to do with what you quoted Netanyahu saying there; that the view of the Israeli government of course is that this is a law-based state and that means everybody has to observe the law. So Muhammed Abu Khdeir; as I say we will know about the young man – his personality, his life – perhaps after his funeral. But for the moment the tragedy – his death – is surrounded in this kind of fog of sectarian hatred.”

Connolly then goes on to provide listeners with an interesting view of his understanding of why the residents of a neighbourhood of Jerusalem are rioting against the very security forces investigating the youth’s murder and trying to uncover the facts about the case.

“Well it’s inevitable when you have a large-scale police operation like this – as you’re going to have after an abduction or a murder; a big police inquiry – that is going to raise tensions in an Arab area of East Jerusalem like Shuafat or Beit Hanina. They’re right beside each other, I should say. So, the police operations will be resented by the Palestinians because of course in East Jerusalem – an Arab area annexed by Israel as Yolande said after it was captured in the war of 1967 – Israeli operations there will always be resented by Palestinians. The potential is always there for those kind of clashes between the Israeli police on the other as the investigation gets underway. But behind those  public order disturbances, which naturally attract our attention, a murder inquiry is underway and I would say there’ll be huge political pressure on the Israeli police to catch quickly the killers of Muhammed Abu Khdeir to demonstrate to the Palestinian people, to demonstrate to the wider world, that Israel takes his killing as seriously as it took the killing of those three teenagers whose abduction dominated the headlines here for three weeks.”

Atkins then moves on to speak with Rushdi Abualouf, who promotes a number of inaccurate points to listeners.

“Let’s bring in the BBC’s Rushdi Abualouf live with us from Gaza City. Well Rushdi, we spoke yesterday on ‘Outside Source’. You described air strikes. What’s happened in the 24 jours since?

Abualouf: “There was only one more airstrike on Gaza, targeting a place where militants did launch…eh…three more rockets toward the south of Israel. It’s been more, like, relatively quiet since the big…eh…wave of airstrikes – like 34 airstrikes is been targeting Hamas institutions in the Gaza Strip got hit shortly after the discovering of the three bodies – the three Israeli teenager bodies in the West Bank.”

Abualouf is clearly trying to promote the notion of linkage between the discovery of the bodies of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gil-ad Sha’ar on June 30th and the airstrikes carried out in the early hours of July 1st. However, that is not the case: those airstrikes came in response to the firing of over eighteen missiles at Israeli civilian communities in southern Israel by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Abualouf then goes on to promote another falsehood.

“This morning the militants fired a couple of mortars towards one of the Israeli military outpost close to the border between Gaza and Israel and people are expecting Israel might, like, do more strikes tonight if the rockets from Gaza continue to fall in the south of Israel.”

In the incident Abualouf describes, nine mortars – not “a couple” – were fired at Kibbutz Kerem Shalom – a civilian agricultural community in the Eshkol region: not a “military outpost” as Abualouf inaccurately informs BBC audiences.

Atkins then asks Abualouf about the reaction to the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir in the Gaza Strip.

Abualouf: “”There was some sense of anger. We have talked to the people in Gaza about the incident. Some of them calling for revenge. Some of the militant group issued a statement, like, condemning and calling for revenge and they…in the past we have seen, like, militants from Gaza responding and firing rockets when something like this happening even in the West Bank or in East Jerusalem because they believe that they should fight to get the whole..the historical Palestine – which now called Israel – in their hands. The people do not believe in the peace process or the ’67 border. They normally insist to fire rockets when there is something happening any part in the Palestinian territory or East Jerusalem.”

There is of course no such thing as a “’67 border” – only Armistice lines from 1949 which, as we have clarified here on numerous occasions, are specifically stated not to be borders.

No effort was made by Atkins to correct that inaccurate statement by Rushdi Abualouf or any of the other misleading and inaccurate information he provided to BBC audiences.