BBC News passes up the chance to set the record straight on Gaza shortages

On countless past occasions BBC audiences have been mistakenly led to believe that chronic shortages of medical supplies and electricity in the Gaza Strip are the result of Israeli restrictions on the entry of goods into the territory.

In fact, both those chronic shortages are rooted in disputes between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. Regarding medical supplies:

“The long-standing shortage of medicines and medical supplies in Gaza emanates primarily from a dysfunctional relationship between the Palestinian Ministries of Health in Gaza and Ramallah.

The conflicts between the two offices have resulted not only in a shortage of medicines and supplies, but also in restricted access to medical treatment for patients outside of Gaza.

The healthcare system in Gaza is marked by a shortage of 400-500 varieties of medical equipment and an average shortage of 33% of desired types of drugs at any given time.

The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that medical suppliers are often reluctant to sell supplies to Gaza due to issues of non-payment.”

Regarding the electricity supply:

“The Palestinian Authority purchases a liter of fuel for the power plant for approximately 4 shekels from Israeli gas companies and has tried to sell it to Hamas for almost double, including excise tax.

Hamas has rejected those prices outright and stopped purchasing fuel for its power plant. The dramatic consequence was that the power plant has shut down and the electricity supply has been completely disrupted. The PA refuses to waive the excise tax, a critical part of its own budget.” 

The topics of medical supplies and electricity both appeared again in a recent BBC filmed report made for television programmes which was also promoted on the BBC News website on November 20th under the title “Life as a cancer nurse in Gaza’s main hospital“. The synopsis to that report reads as follows:Gaza nurse report

“At the age of 27, Azza Jadalla has already lived through six wars – three in the past seven years alone. She is a cancer nurse in Gaza’s main hospital, Al-Shifa. Every day she deals with fall-out of the on-going conflict between Israel and Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas.

Living in a place with a failing economy means she faces daily electricity and supply shortages at work.

“Sometime we go for two or three months without pay,” she says. “But this doesn’t make me want to do my job any less, because it’s not the patient’s fault.”

Despite her dedication and due to shortages in Gaza, there is often only so much Ms Jadalla can do for her patients. For one patient Abdul (name has been changed), who is suffering from leukaemia, the only option for further treatment is outside Gaza.”

In the report itself, viewers are told that:

“Here in Gaza all kinds of supplies – cannulas, syringes – are very rare.”


“And the electricity keeps going on and off. We have to restart the monitors.”

With BBC audiences having been inaccurately informed many times in the past that such shortages are the result of the restrictions on the entry of dual-use goods which could also be appropriated for the purposes of terrorism and with the synopsis to this report clearly suggesting a ‘connection’ between “fall-out of the on-going conflict between Israel and Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas” and “shortages at work”, it would not be surprising to find that viewers would once again go away with a misleading impression about the root causes of those shortages.

This report presented the BBC with an ideal opportunity to finally tell audiences the truth about the reasons behind the chronic shortages of medical supplies and electricity in the Gaza Strip. Notably, the corporation chose to pass up on that opportunity. 

Smuggling of rocket fuel to Gaza thwarted: BBC yawns and ignores

In the summer of 2014, as conflict between Israel and terrorist groups based in the Gaza Strip raged, the BBC self-conscripted to promotion and amplification of the campaign run by Hamas and assorted sympathetic NGOs against Israel’s policies concerning its border with the Gaza Strip. As a result BBC audiences saw the adoption of Hamas terminology, repeated omission of relevant context concerning the fact that border restrictions came about due to Hamas’ terror activities (rather than the other way round) and were provided with inaccurate and misleading information concerning the types of goods subject to limitations on import.tankers Kerem Shalom

In the fifteen months since that conflict came to an end the BBC has repeatedly promoted the inaccurate notion that the slow pace of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip is attributable to border restrictions imposed by Israel. The topic of the potential appropriation of construction materials for purposes of terrorism has been presented in the qualified terms of “Israel says” but no objective, serious reporting on that topic has been evident.

Moreover, the BBC has refrained from reporting cases in which the appropriation of construction materials for the purpose of rebuilding Hamas’ terror infrastructure have come to light and thwarted attempts to smuggle other problematic materials into the Gaza Strip (such as sulfuric acid) have been likewise ignored.

It therefore comes as no surprise to find that the recent seizure by Israeli authorities of a chemical used to make rocket fuel under the guise of ‘soybean oil’ destined for the Gaza Strip has not been reported by BBC News.

“Heading for Gaza, a Palestinian truck arrived at the Tarkumya crossing to transfer “soybean oil” from Hebron. The substance was sent for laboratory tests after arousing the suspicion of security guards and the David Unit inspectors. These further examinations revealed that the trucks contained a substance called TDI, which is a key component for rocket fuel used by Gaza-based terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The 450 liters of material were seized, and the individuals were brought in for questioning.”

Via COGAT we also learn that:

“The David Unit of the Civil Administration works to prevent smuggling of all contrabands and pollutants, having confiscated around 280 trucks with life-threatening materials and substances since its 2014 foundation.”

If the BBC is to meet its obligation to provide audiences with information which will enhance their “awareness and understanding” of the subject of Gaza Strip border restrictions it clearly cannot continue to employ its current policy of avoidance of reporting such stories, coupled with factual misrepresentation of the restrictions and their aims and omission of any serious coverage of the topic of rehabilitation of terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

BBC News ignores yet another story about Hamas appropriation of construction materials

Since the conclusion of the hostilities between terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip and Israel in the summer of 2014, the BBC has devoted considerable coverage to the topic of the slow pace of reconstruction in Gaza. As has been noted here before, that coverage has not included the provision of information to BBC audiences on the very relevant issue of Hamas appropriation of construction materials for the purpose of rehabilitation of its terrorist infrastructure and any references to that topic have been presented using the caveat “Israel says”.anniversary Knell written

Israeli officials recently announced the indictment of a Gaza Strip resident in a case related to that issue.

“A Gazan has been indicted for diverting building materials meant for reconstruction in the Strip directly to Hamas’s armed wing, the Shin Bet said on Wednesday.

The suspect, named by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) as 36-year-old Tamer Ahmed Muhammad Barim of Bani Suheila, was arrested trying to enter Israel at the Erez crossing on the northern Gaza border on August 31. His arrest remained under a gag order until Wednesday. […]

The Shin Bet said that Barim managed to circumvent UN inspectors who supervise imports to the Strip, allowing him to divert hundreds of tons of building materials provided by foreign donors for the rehabilitation of civilian infrastructure damaged during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.”

There has been no BBC reporting on this subject to date.

This, of course, is not an isolated case.anniversary Knell audio

“In some cases, Hamas buys the cement meant for the civilian population; in others, it seizes and confiscates it by violent means. For example, the questioning of Gaza-based merchant Khaled Lubad indicated that out of every 100 sacks of cement (meant to reconstruct an average house in the Gaza Strip), Hamas transfers only 5 or 6 to civilians. The rest is confiscated and used for Hamas’s needs.

This is also true for wood and boards that serve as tunnel lining. An example of this may be seen in the questioning of Hassan Shurafi and Sami Shkhaibar, who were involved in the smuggling of wooden boards for several companies in the Gaza Strip, including The Arabian Company for Wood, El Aashi, and Hamed Group. The questioned operatives said that some of the people involved in the smuggling were aware that the wood was intended for military Hamas activity, including tunnel lining.

Furthermore, we have recently received reports on Hamas’s violent seizure of such materials, including raids by Hamas operatives on wood warehouses in the Gaza Strip. The contents of the warehouses were confiscated and sent to Hamas tunnels.

Up-to-date information also indicates that Hamas raided iron warehouses in the Gaza Strip, seizing tons of iron and iron frames from merchants and companies. The iron and its products are used by Hamas’s manufacturing apparatus, among others, for building tunnels and posts, as well as for manufacturing rockets and launchers.anniversary Knell filmed

Once again, the questioning of merchants and smugglers, such as Hassan Shurafi and Naji Zaaroub, indicated that the people involved knew that the raw materials were meant for Hamas’s military wing. Some of the questioned operatives confessed that the raw materials, including iron plates weighing 5-6 tons, were transferred directly to Hamas. Thus Hamas seizes iron that is brought into the Gaza Strip, allotting only a small part of it to reconstruction and appropriating the rest for its needs.”

Obviously Hamas’ appropriation of construction materials not only adversely affects the civilian population of the Gaza Strip now facing a second winter in unsatisfactory conditions but will also have bearing on future events in the region. But when the BBC begins to report those events, its audiences will lack the background information necessary for them to understand how and why they came about because of the ongoing policy of omission of any serious coverage of that topic.

BBC WS ‘Newshour’ amplifies Israel delegitimising lawfare campaign

A photography exhibition currently on display in London was the subject of an article appearing in the BBC News website’s ‘culture’ section on October 7th. The same exhibition was also the topic of an item (available from 15:42 here) broadcast in the October 18th edition of BBC World Service radio’s ‘Newshour’.Newshour logo

Here is how presenter James Coomarasamy framed the report’s subject matter in his introduction: [emphasis added]

“Now, getting to the truth of the ultimate crime of murder – whether that of an individual or genocide – is a painstaking job. Photographs are integral to the evidence gathering process. They’re used in courtrooms around the world as an essential tool for justice. Now, ‘Burden of Proof’ is the name of a new exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery here in London and it charts the changing history of the form, from photographs of a crime scene in the 19th century to the graphic reconstruction of a recent bomb attack on Gaza.”

And indeed, tucked in between depictions of Victorian-era murder scenes, victims of Stalinist purges and the Holocaust and Joseph Mengele’s skull, is the following exchange (from 19:08) between Coomarasamy and the venue’s Head of Exhibitions Clare Grafik.

Commentary: [sound of explosions] “This is the bombing of the Tannur neighbourhood: the deadliest attack of the first of August 2014. [sound of screaming]

Coomarasamy: “This is the ‘Gaza Book of Destruction’; we’ve got video and this is a graphic reconstruction of what would have been there.”

Grafik: “What it shows is how ‘Forensic Architecture’ use digital technology to reconstruct a bombing. What they’ve done is they’ve taken footage of the bombing and they’ve frozen literally a few seconds in time around that bombing and have picked it apart with satellite imagery, with architectural software, to try to reconstruct what happened.”

JC: “And this is being done, I see, in collaboration with Amnesty International. What’s the goal of this reconstruction?”

CG: “To try and prove that certain strengths of bomb were used in this attack that were originally denied.”

JC: “So we now have moving images trying to make sense of how people died?”

CG: “Yes – essentially – and also how those moving images become increasingly subservient to software and data.”

Coomarasamy did not tell listeners is that the incident portrayed in this exhibit took place during the 51-day conflict between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014 or that the Tannur neighbourhood is located in Rafah and that the August 1st 2014 counter-offensive there took place because Hamas had broken a ceasefire by kidnapping Lt Hadar Goldin. Neither did Coomarasamy clarify that of the 41 Gazans killed in that particular counter-offensive in Rafah, 12 have been identified as terrorists and 13 as civilians, with the rest categorized as undetermined, but “of fighting age”.

Coomarasamy also refrained from informing audiences that Amnesty International’s campaign of ‘lawfare’ against Israel includes the use of this incident and he likewise made no effort to explain what the organization called ‘Forensic Architecture’ is and who is behind it or that it also partnered Amnesty International in the production of an app called ‘the Gaza Platform’ which reproduces and promotes one-sided and inaccurate information put out by two of AI’s lawfare partners – Al Mezan and the PCHR.

So, whilst failing to make any effort to provide BBC audiences worldwide with either the context or insight into the political motivations behind the exhibit to which he gave amplification, Coomarasamy did propagate the notion that Israeli actions during a military campaign brought about by terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians should be lumped into the same “ultimate crime” category as criminal murders, political murders and genocide.

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BBC amplification of Amnesty’s lawfare agenda again compromises impartiality


BBC News tells audiences Israeli fears of terror attacks are ‘paranoia’

During the first three weeks of October 2015, ten Israelis were killed and 112 wounded – eleven of them seriously – in forty stabbing attacks, four shootings and five vehicular attacks which took place throughout the country.

On October 23rd, however, BBC News told its audiences that Israelis are suffering from either a collective psychosis ‘characterised by delusions of persecution’ or ‘unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people’ – depending on which definition of the word paranoia BBC editors intended their headline to communicate.

Paranoia Connolly

Either way, it is obviously extremely hard to believe that if British citizens had been subjected to such a wave of terror attacks, the BBC would characterize their mood as unjustified or disconnected from reality by using the term ‘paranoia’. And it is of course equally unlikely that after over fifty attacks on British citizens in three weeks, the BBC would still be avoiding the use of the word ‘terror’ – as it continues to do in its current coverage of Israel.

In that article – which appeared in the ‘Features’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page – the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly promotes the notion of equivalence between the distress of Israeli Jerusalemites who have seen at least sixteen terror attacks resulting in five fatalities in their city in the last three weeks with that of Palestinians who, according to his account, are inconvenienced by roadblocks and suspicious looks.

“But at times of rising tensions and rising casualty figures like this, the two populations that normally lead parallel lives share something very profound in common.

They are united by their fears for the dangers their families might face and by the deep urge that’s within all of us to keep our children safe.”

In the section of his report devoted to the neighbourhood of Issawiya, Connolly writes:

“Even in better times there is deep resentment in Issawiyah at the practical outworking of the occupation – Palestinians in villages like this pay the same local taxes as Israelis in West Jerusalem but strongly feel they don’t receive the same services.

They point to the condition of the roads and pavements and the absence of recreational facilities.

“There are Jewish districts where they have parks for their dogs,” one man told me, “And here we don’t even have a park for our kids.””

He of course refrains from informing readers that residents of Issawiya were at the forefront of opposition to the creation of a national park on their doorstep.

Although he describes the inconvenience of roadblocks implemented to try to deal with terrorism, Connolly does not provide audiences with relevant context, failing to clarify that a very significant proportion of the perpetrators of attacks during the first three weeks of October came from Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem.

“There is an Israeli checkpoint at the main entrance to the village. The local people say that if anyone throws stones at the soldiers who man it, they close the road and force commuters returning from Jerusalem to wait in their cars for anything up to an hour.”

Connolly tells readers that:

“Fear for the safety of children does unite the two communities, although the fears are different.

Israelis worry their children might be the victims of a politically-motivated street attack – Palestinians fear the readiness with which Israeli police and soldiers resort to lethal force, especially if they live in a part of the West Bank where it is easy to get caught up in street protests.” [emphasis added]

Those “street protests” are of course more accurately described as organised violent rioting and Connolly’s apparent belief that Palestinian parents lack the agency required to prevent their offspring from participating in such activities is quite remarkable.

Connolly closes his article with promotion of a dominant – yet inaccurate – theme seen in much BBC coverage in recent weeks.

“…the fears and anxieties triggered in this latest round of violence here are individual and deeply personal just as the attacks appear to have been spontaneous. […]

But the random nature of the violence and its lack of an apparent link to any known organisation is going to make any kind of diplomatic or political intervention here even harder than usual.”

Yet again the BBC conceals the incitement from assorted Palestinian factions which has fueled this wave of terrorism – and the known links of some of the perpetrators to terrorist groups – from audience view.

In addition to his written report, Kevin Connolly also produced a similar audio one which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme on October 24th. The item (available here from 01:49:43) opens with the following introduction from host James Naughtie.

“As if he didn’t have enough on his plate, the American Secretary of State John Kerry has begun a round of diplomacy trying to reduce tension in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories where an upsurge of violence has left about 60 people dead in the last few weeks. Most of the dead are Palestinians. Some have died in the familiar violent clashes with the Israeli security forces in the West Bank but some of the deaths have occurred when individual Palestinians not known to be members of militant groups have made stabbing attacks on Israelis and then been shot by the police or the army. It’s a new kind of attack and its left people in both communities anxious and frightened.”

Could audiences determine from that introduction that one-sixth of those casualties are Israelis murdered in terror attacks? Would they understand that those killed whilst engaged in violent rioting include some 17 people from the Gaza Strip and that the border fence there has been breached by such rioters on several occasions? Would they also comprehend that Naughtie’s portrayal of “some” Palestinians shot whilst carrying out terror attacks (and not only stabbings, as he inaccurately states) actually means that they number around half of the Palestinian fatalities and that a similar number of terrorists have been caught alive?

One doubts very much that Radio 4 listeners went away with an accurate perception of events from that introduction and in addition, they were certainly misled by the inaccurate claim that such terror attacks are “a new kind”. Moreover, with the BBC having failed to provide its audiences with an accurate picture of Palestinian terrorism during the nine months preceding October 2015, listeners would have no way of knowing that Naughtie’s claim is inaccurate.

As in his written article, in that audio report Kevin Connolly promotes the notion of equivalence between victims of terror and their attackers, fails to provide context when describing the inconvenience caused by roadblocks and erases the all-important issue of incitement by portraying the attacks as “random and spontaneous”.

“We think of Jerusalem as a place of division – and so it is – but in times of rising tension and rising casualty figures, there is something that unites its two peoples: the grinding daily fear about how you keep your family safe.”

“On the way into the outlying Palestinian village of Issawiyeh there’s an Israeli checkpoint – an irritation for local people arriving home from their daily work in Israeli West Jerusalem.”

“The US Secretary of State John Kerry is working on all of this now, trying to calm fears. But what can politicians do when attacks are random and spontaneous and fears so personal and so deeply felt?”

Kevin Connolly apparently believes the narrative of equivalence he promotes in these two reports. He is obviously comfortable with promoting the idea that a pensioner murdered in a shooting attack on a city bus, a 59 year-old deliberately run over and then hacked to death with a meat-cleaver and a young father stabbed to death whilst walking with his family are just the same as the people who decided to carry out those attacks and were shot by security forces rushing to the scene.

He is also clearly at ease with promoting the myth that attacks on Jews for no other reason than the fact that they are Jews which are praised and glorified by Hamas and PA officials alike are “spontaneous” and “random”. And, as we see in these two reports, he has no qualms about promoting the narrative that the emotions of people who are experiencing “not a very nice feeling” and traffic inconveniences are the same as those of people who fear that they may be targeted by a terrorist simply because of who they are after seeing over 50 such terror attacks in a matter of a few weeks.

Whilst Connolly’s adopted narrative may serve to provide space-filling material for assorted BBC platforms and advance a political agenda, it certainly does nothing to contribute to meeting the BBC’s obligation to enhance audience understanding of this particular “international issue”.




Hamas says intifada – BBC’s Yolande Knell knows better

In recent days, visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page have seen the following statement used in several reports.

“Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have escalated since last month, fuelled by clashes at a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, and across the Gaza border, as well as the wave of stabbings.”

Audiences have also seen the statement below which is part of an insert appearing in several reports.

“What is happening between Israelis and Palestinians?

There has been a spate of stabbings of Israelis by Palestinians since early October, and one apparent revenge stabbing by an Israeli. The attacks, in which some Israelis have died, have struck in Jerusalem and elsewhere, and in the occupied West Bank. Israel has tightened security and clashed with rioting Palestinians, leading to deaths on the Palestinian side. The violence has also spread to the border with Gaza.”

As we see, a passive voice is used when informing audiences where “the attacks” (rather than the terrorists) “have struck” and the geographical locations chosen for naming – Jerusalem and “the occupied West Bank” – are interesting considering that the BBC has covered more of the attacks which have taken place “elsewhere” (such as Petah Tikva, Kiryat Gat, Afula, Tel Aviv, Dimona, Gan Shmuel and Ra’anana) than those occurring in Judea & Samaria.

Notably too, audiences are told that “the violence” has “spread” – apparently independently of any outside factor – “to the border with Gaza”.

Of course terror attacks are not hail storms that ‘strike’ in random locations and violent riots are not swarms of locusts that “spread” all by themselves. Each one of the attacks was planned by at least one person to take place at a particular location and each incident of violent rioting involves countless people making the decision to take part. 

The first incident of violence on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip took place on October 9th when some 200 Gazans, said by Arab media outlets to be affiliated with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, began rioting near Nahal Oz. Not unrelatedly, Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh delivered an inflammatory sermon on that same day.

““We are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada… It is the only path that will lead to liberation,” Ismail Haniyeh said during a sermon for weekly Muslim prayers at a mosque in Gaza City.

“Gaza will fulfill its role in the Jerusalem intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation,” he added.”

That rioting was described as follows in a BBC report from October 9th titled “Israeli-Palestinian violence spreads over Gaza border“.

“Fresh violence between Palestinians and Israelis has seen six Palestinians shot dead in Gaza, reports say, and a fresh spate of stabbings.

Israel said its troops fired over the Gaza border after coming under attack. […]

According to Palestinian medical sources, the six Palestinians were shot dead and many others wounded in two separate incidents in Gaza on Friday when Israeli troops opened fire.

The Palestinians were protesting in solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The Israeli military said more than 1,000 rioters had massed at the border fence, throwing a grenade and rocks, and rolling burning tyres at Israeli forces.

After firing warning shots, troops fired towards the “main instigators” to disperse the riot, a military statement said.”Sallah sermon 9 Oct

There was no reporting in that article on Haniyeh’s sermon or on similar incitement from Hamas MP and Spokesman Mushir Al-Masri, a Palestinian cleric in Gaza and Sheikh Muhammad Sallah heard by Gazans on the same day.

Haniyeh’s sermon did get a very brief reference in an article published on October 10th under the title “Israeli-Palestinian violence: Gaza rocket lands in Israel”. There, audiences discovered that Yolande Knell considers herself more of an authority on the topic of violent uprisings than Ismail Haniyeh.

“Earlier, six Palestinians were shot dead near the border fence with Gaza. […]

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas which runs Gaza, said a new intifada – or uprising – was under way, although the BBC’s Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says the scale of violence does not yet amount to that.”

On October 10th residents of the Gaza Strip instigated more violence along the border and even breached the fence.

“Some 70 Palestinians successfully infiltrated into Israel through the border fence in the area of the Eshkol Regional Council on Saturday night.

IDF troops intercepted the Gazans and turned most of them back. About five tried to flee and were shot at and arrested, Israel Radio said.

Earlier, two Palestinian teenagers were killed by Israeli forces in clashes in the Khan Younis area of the Israel-Gaza border, Palestinian media reported.”

That event was not included in the BBC News report published the following day, although audiences were again told that:

“The violence has spurred talk from Hamas, which dominates Gaza, of a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

But the clashes have not yet reached the scale of previous intifadas, with no clear mass movement or leadership so far emerging.”

On October 11th shots were fired from the Gaza Strip at an Israeli civilian vehicle in the Kissufim area and later the same day two separate incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip took place with the first falling short and the second hitting the Eshkol area. None of those incidents were reported by the BBC.

On October 12th Gazans once again breached the border fence.

“At least six Gazans were reported injured during renewed clashes between Israeli soldiers and protesters Monday evening along the Israel-Gaza border, after several dozen Palestinians crossed the border fence into Israel, the second such incident in recent days.

Israel Defense Forces soldiers fired at the group of some 20 protesters in an effort to push the Palestinians back toward the Hamas-controlled territory, the Walla news site reported.

The protesters sneaked into Israel adjacent to the al-Bureij refugee camp and emerged in the Eshkol Regional Council, in the center of the Strip, before the IDF arrived at the scene. […]

Earlier on Monday, the Hamas leaders of the Strip denied reports that they had issued a warning to Gaza residents banning them from approaching the border fence with Israel.” [emphasis added]

The only reference to incidents on the Gaza border in the BBC News report from that day reads as follows:

“At the weekend several Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops and by an Israeli air strike on a militant site in Gaza in response to rocket fire on Israel.”

October 13th saw violent rioting near the Erez Crossing, which had to be temporarily closed as a result. 

“At least seven Palestinians were injured when the protesters approached the border fence, drawing tear gas and rubber bullet fire from IDF troops patrolling the fence.”

There was no mention of that incident or the later gunfire at an Israeli army vehicle in the BBC News website’s main report for that day. On October 14th rioting was again seen in the Bureij area but the only reference to that came in the form of the laconic statement “Clashes were also reported along the Israeli border with Gaza” which appeared in an article originally published on that day. 

So, despite repeatedly telling readers that “violence has also spread to the border with Gaza”, the BBC News website has actually ignored most of the violent incidents in that area – including breaches of the border fence – and has certainly not provided audiences with any information concerning the very relevant background topic of incitement from officials and clerics in the Gaza Strip or the failure of Hamas to exercise its ability to prevent violent rioters from reaching the border area and breaching the fence. 

BBC’s Guerin portrays wave of terror in Israel as ‘DIY unrest’

h/t @SussexFriends

Viewers of BBC television news on October 11th saw yet another report from Orla Guerin on the topic of the current wave of terrorism in Israel. A similar but shorter version of that report also appeared on the BBC News website on the same day under the title “Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza“, with its synopsis promoting equivalence between Israeli victims of terrorism and Palestinians mostly killed whilst carrying out terror attacks or engaging in violent rioting.Guerin filmed 11 10

“Escalating violence has claimed the lives of four Israelis and 23 Palestinians in a two week period.”

That same equivalence was seen in news presenter Mishal Husain’s introduction to Guerin’s report.

Mishal Husain: “A Palestinian woman and her two year-old daughter have been killed in an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip following Palestinian rocket attacks. Escalating violence over the last fortnight has claimed the lives of four Israelis and at least twenty Palestinians. Our Middle East correspondent Orla Guerin sent this report.

Orla Guerin: “Dawn in Gaza. A new day of conflict. This was what was left after an Israeli airstrike flattened a house. A pregnant mother died here with her two year-old daughter. Israel says it was targeting weapons facilities after militants fired two rockets.”

Guerin provides no source or evidence of independent verification for her claim that “an Israeli airstrike flattened the house”. The BBC’s Rushdi Abualouf who – unlike Guerin – is located in the Gaza Strip, had already Tweeted a different version of events and according to other media outlets, the house collapsed due to what appears to be a secondary explosion.  

“Gaza officials said a woman, 30, and her two-year-old daughter were killed when an explosion from a targeted Hamas site caused the collapse of a nearby home. Three others, including a 15-year-old youth, were wounded, according to Reuters.

The collapsed building was located in the Zeitoun neighborhood in the northern Strip, the Walla news site reported.” [emphasis added]

Predictably, Orla Guerin shows no interest in helping viewers understand why a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility was located in a residential area.

Given that three years ago the BBC inaccurately reported an explosion in a house in the same neighbourhood  in which a woman and small child were killed as having been caused by an Israeli airstrike, one might have expected more caution and fact checking to be in evidence before Orla Guerin promoted her version of this event.

Guerin then goes on to give the following description of an incident which took place near Ma’ale Adumim on the morning of October 11th.

“And in the West Bank Israeli police say they stopped an attacker on the road to Jerusalem. When the Palestinian woman was pulled over, they say, she detonated an explosive device. Not a bomb – but a gas canister.”

According to official statements reported by the Times of Israel, the gas canister did not in fact explode as Guerin claims.

“The Shin Bet said in a statement that around 7 a.m. a traffic police officer noticed that the woman was driving in the public transportation lane while tailgating a police vehicle.

Police said officers noticed a suspicious vehicle driven by a woman heading toward a checkpoint on the way to Jerusalem and signaled to her to stop. The woman then yelled “Allahu Akbar” (God is most great) and set off the explosive detonator in her car, a police statement said. A gas canister in her car did not explode, however.

Handwritten slips of paper voicing support for “Palestinian martyrs” were found on her person, the Shin Bet said. […]

The car was bearing Israeli, rather than Palestinian, license plates. Police found the gas canister in the vehicle and said that the woman had intended to carry out a bombing in Jerusalem.”

Guerin then continues:

“Among Palestinians, living under Israeli occupation, there’s plenty of support for the recent outbreak of DIY unrest – including a spate of stabbings. Palestinians say anger and frustration are driving ordinary people to carry out attacks. What’s striking is that there’s no sign of involvement by militant groups. The attacks are being carried out by individuals. It’s a low-tech approach and it’s catching. [emphasis added]

Notably, the footage shown immediately after Guerin has told audiences that “there’s no sign of involvement by militant groups” shows Palestinian Islamic Jihad banners at the home of the terrorist who carried out the October 3rd attack at Lions Gate in Jerusalem. That attack was later claimed by the PIJ and praised by Hamas.

PIJ flags Halabi 2

Following a sympathetic interview with the terrorist’s father and carefully selected footage from Hebron which edits out all evidence of violent rioting, Guerin goes on to say:

“In Nablus soldiers used live rounds against stone-throwers. Elsewhere, another protester was buried. Every death increases the rage and risks unleashing a wider conflict.”

The flags of the terrorist organisations Hamas and the PFLP are seen in the footage shown as Guerin speaks, although she does not clarify that fact to viewers.

Guerin’s narrative of “DIY unrest” and “low-tech” terror attacks fuelled by “anger and frustration”, together with her categorical statement denying “involvement by militant groups” obviously does not meet the BBC’s obligation to “enhance […] audiences’ awareness and understanding of international issues”.

In all of the BBC’s reporting on the current wave of terrorism in Israel, the issue of the quotidian incitement on social media, in mosques, from Hamas, from Fatah and from the Palestinian Authority has been completely ignored. There is, of course, nothing surprising about that: since long before the latest surge in violence began, the BBC has habitually avoided the issues of Palestinian incitement, glorification of terrorism and indoctrination of Palestinian children.

Although those issues are a crucial part of the story the BBC claims to be telling with reports such as this one from Orla Guerin, they do not fit into the narrative adopted and promoted by the BBC.  Hence, even when a Palestinian Islamic Jihad banner is flying above her head, Orla Guerin ignores it. The trouble is that she would have BBC audiences ignore it too.



Wave of terror brings rare BBC reporting on missile attacks from Gaza

As regular readers know, the BBC’s coverage of the missile attacks launched from the Gaza Strip at civilian population centres in Israel since the end of the summer 2014 conflict has been – to put it kindly – patchy.

Throughout September 2015 there were three separate incidents of missile fire, none of which were the subject of any stand-alone reporting by BBC News.

September 18th 2015 – missile fire on Sderot and Ashkelon got 19 words of reporting in a BBC News article on a different topic. The Israeli response was reported by BBC Arabic.

September 21st 2015 – missile fire at the Hof Ashkelon area was not reported by BBC News.

September 29th 2015 – missile fire at Ashdod got 15 words of coverage in an article on another topic which were later removed when the report was updated. Israel’s response to the attack was covered by BBC Arabic.

On the evening of October 4th a missile exploded in the Eshkol region and some hours later Israel responded with a strike on Hamas infrastructure. There was no BBC reporting of that incident.missile 10 10 report

The Eshkol region came under attack again on the night of October 9th/10th and the missile fire was later claimed by a Salafist group in the Gaza Strip. That attack was reported in an article titled “Israeli-Palestinian violence: Gaza rocket lands in Israel” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on October 10th.  

With this being the first BBC News headline describing a missile attack from the Gaza Strip since September 2014, one cannot but conclude that its appearance is linked to augmented BBC reporting on the current wave of terror attacks which, despite its headline, are the subject matter of the bulk of that report.

Less than 24 hours later – late on the evening of October 10thanother missile was launched at the Hof Ashkelon area but was successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system. The Israeli airforce later responded with strikes on Hamas weapons manufacturing sites in the northern Gaza Strip and Palestinian officials announced that two people had been killed when an explosion at one of the targeted sites caused a nearby home to collapse. The BBC headlines did not take long to appear.

BBC Arabic promoted its report on the incident at the head of its main webpage on the morning of October 11th  with a headline devoid of any reference to what preceded the Israeli response. 

Response missile Gaza 11 10 BBC Arabic hp

Visitors to the BBC News website’s homepage found the following context-free description which likewise fails to inform readers of what came before the Israeli response:

“Israeli jets carry out air strikes on two targets in the Gaza Strip, in the latest sign of mounting tensions between Israelis and Palestinians”

Response missile Gaza 11 10 on Main page

On the website’s ‘World’ page, the same statement appeared with a different and equally context-free headline – “Israeli jets hit targets in Gaza Strip”.

Response missile Gaza 11 10 on World pge

The same headline and strapline featured prominently on the Middle East page.

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The BBC News report appearing on all those pages of the website was originally titled “Israeli-Palestinian violence: US expresses concern” and in that initial report (and all later versions) the BBC once again promoted uncritical amplification of a trope which forms the foundation for much of the Palestinian incitement fueling the latest wave of terrorism.

“There have been weeks of tension over access to a site in East Jerusalem sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Palestinians fear Israel plans to change arrangements at the al-Aqsa mosque/Temple Mount compound, where Jews are allowed to visit but not allowed to pray – something Israel insists it will continue.”Response missile Gaza 11 10

Some four hours after publication, the article’s headline was changed to read “Israeli jets hit targets in Gaza Strip” and the report opened in typical ‘last-first reporting’ style, with no mention of the people affected by the events laconically described as “rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel”.  

“Israel says its jets have hit two targets in the Gaza Strip.

The targets were “Hamas weapon manufacturing facilities”, the Israeli military said, adding the strikes were in response to two rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel.

A woman and her young daughter in a nearby house were killed during the air raid, Palestinian officials said.”

Readers would obviously conclude from that portrayal that the woman and child were killed by the Israeli strike.

The fourth round of amendments to the report saw a new headline – “Israeli jets hit targets in Gaza Strip, killing a mother and child” – with the BBC backtracking from its previous assertion that the casualties “were killed during the air raid” but showing no interest in clarifying why a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility was located in a residential area.

“A pregnant woman and her young daughter in a nearby house were killed, Palestinian officials said.”Response missile Gaza 11 10 final

Around an hour later, the headline was changed yet again to read “Palestinians killed in Israel Gaza air strike“.

All versions of the article failed to inform readers that missile attacks on Israeli civilians are a regular occurrence, independent of the current wave of terrorism. All versions of the report close with the following statements:

“The violence has spurred talk from Hamas, which dominates Gaza, of a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

But the clashes have not yet reached the scale of previous intifadas, with no clear mass movement or leadership so far emerging.”

Yet again, however, the BBC fails to provide its audiences with any information about the incitement from unofficial and official Palestinian sources which underpins the current wave of terrorism and the very relevant subject of Hamas’ efforts to boost its terror infrastructure in Judea & Samaria over recent months – which the BBC has failed to report at all – does not get a mention in this report.

Orla Guerin tells BBC audiences Al Aqsa Mosque ‘sacred to Jews’

Viewers of BBC television news programmes on the evening of October 9th saw a report by Orla Guerin – usually the corporation’s correspondent in Cairo. The report was also posted on the BBC News website under the title “Fears of ‘third intifada’ in Middle East“.Guerin filmed 9 10

Whilst Israel is of course in the Middle East, it is not the Middle East. That overly dramatic and exaggerated style – characteristic of Guerin’s reporting – continues in the introduction to the report, with audiences receiving clear early signposting telling them which side they should view as the underdog, violent rioters portrayed as “protesters” and Ramallah – under PA rule for two decades – presented as “occupied”.

“Venting their anger on the streets today in the Israeli occupied West Bank. In Ramallah; soldiers doing battle against protesters with slingshots. It’s a familiar scene but is another generation about to replay the bloodshed of the past?” [emphasis added]

Guerin continues:

“Well the confrontation here is escalating. There are Palestinian stone-throwers on this side, Israeli security forces on the other. Rubber bullets have been used and there have been injuries [sic] taken away. The fear is that clashes like this could spread. Some here already calling this the third Intifada – or uprising. Israeli security officials are playing that down but the police are on alert, especially in Jerusalem’s Old City. It’s home to the Al Aqsa Mosque; sacred to Muslims and Jews. Tensions over the shrine have fuelled the latest unrest and unleashed a new danger for Israelis: stabbing attacks.” [emphasis added]

Either veteran reporter Orla Guerin is astoundingly under-informed or – like her colleague Nawal Assad – she has elected to deliberately amplify popular propaganda according to which “Palestinian Muslims consider all that compound [Temple Mount] to be the Al Aqsa Mosque”. Either way, a correction of the inaccuracy promoted by Guerin is clearly necessary. 

Guerin likewise misleads audiences with the inaccurate claim that stabbing attacks on Israelis are “new”. Perhaps if the BBC had reported more than just 0.81% of the terror attacks which took place in the first eight months of this year, its correspondents would be aware of the fact that sixteen stabbing attacks took place between January and August 2015.

Guerin’s report continues with portrayal of one of the fatal attacks in the current wave of terror as a “lone wolf knife attack”:

“This amateur video was filmed in the Old City last Saturday. The distant screams are from an Israeli woman whose husband had just been killed in a lone wolf knife attack. We met Adele Bennett in hospital, recovering from thirteen stab wounds. Her young son, Natan, being treated alongside her. She says Palestinian bystanders ignored her desperate cries.”

Audiences are not told that the two year-old is being treated because he too was wounded in the same terror attack. 

Voiceover: “I searched for some humanity. I begged for help. I told them please take the children. I was met with stares of hatred. They threw things at me, spat in my face and shouted at me to die.”

Guerin continues with unchallenged amplification of falsehoods concerning an incident in which a boy was accidentally killed during violent rioting near Bethlehem:

“A short distance away in Bethlehem a Palestinian mother mourns her son. Abdel Rahman Abdullah who was thirteen was killed on Monday by Israeli troops. His mother, Delal, being comforted by neighbours, denies there were clashes at the time. She says a sniper shot her son through the heart. She wants another uprising.

Voiceover: I hope there will be a third Intifada so we can have freedom. The injustice must stop. We are tired and our children are tired. Every day someone gets killed. At night my daughter is calling for her brother.”

Guerin refrains from clarifying to audiences that Bethlehem has been under sole Palestinian Authority control since 1995 and she next fails to provide audiences with adequate context concerning the violent rioting at the border fence near Nahal Oz by some 200 Gaza Strip residents affiliated – according to Arab media outlets – with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“But there were more new dead in Gaza today where six Palestinians were killed in clashes.”

Guerin’s closing remarks steer audiences towards the inaccurate view that the current wave of terror is the result of frustration resulting from the failure of the political process.

“The unrest is spreading – carried forward by those tired of waiting for a Palestinian state. Israel’s president says both sides are sitting on a volcano.”

Neither the Palestinian Islamic Jihad nor Hamas – which has spent months trying to augment its terror activities in PA ruled areas – are interested in a negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Guerin’s framing of the background to this latest wave of terror (of course never named as such by the BBC) is therefore as misleading to audiences as her amplification of propaganda and falsehoods and her portrayals of violent rioters as underdog “protesters” and terrorists inspired by serial incitement as “lone wolves”. 


Missile attack on Ashdod gets fifteen words of BBC coverage

Late on the evening of September 29th around a quarter of a million people in Israel’s fifth largest city, Ashdod, and surrounding areas had to scramble for cover in their safe rooms and air raid shelters as sirens warned them of an incoming missile from the Gaza Strip.

Fortunately, the Iron Dome defence system was able to intercept the Grad missile and no injuries were reported. The attack was claimed by the Gaza Strip based Salafist Jihadist group ‘Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade’ which has also taken responsibility for some of the previous missile attacks on Israeli civilians in recent months. Several hours later, Israel responded to that attack with four strikes on Hamas terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

BBC correspondents in the region were aware of the incident.

missile 29 9 tweet Shuval

missile 29 9 tweet Rushdi

However, visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page on the morning of September 30th did not find any stand-alone reporting concerning that missile attack on sleeping Israeli civilians in a major city well over 20 miles away from the Gaza Strip.

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The only mention of the attack comes right at the end of an article on another topic altogether  – “Palestinian flag to be raised at United Nations” – where, in typical ‘last-first reporting’ style, readers are told that:

“Early on Wednesday, Israel carried out a series of air strikes on Gaza, hours after the Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted a rocket from the enclave.”BBC Arabic 30 9 hp

Visitors to the BBC Arabic website on the morning of September 30th found a headline informing them exclusively of the Israeli response.

Whilst he article itself – “Israel launches raids on several military sites for “Hamas” in Gaza Strip” –  does use the ‘last-first reporting’ technique to inform readers that the Israeli strikes came “in response to a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip”, much of its word count is devoted to description of the locations targeted in Israel’s response.

Civilians in southern Israel have been subjected to three separate incidents of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip throughout the month of September 2015. The BBC’s record on reporting those attacks and the additional ones which have taken place since the end of the summer 2014 hostilities is summarised below.

September 16th 2014 – mortar fire at the Eshkol region – not reported by BBC News but briefly mentioned in a later article on another topic.

October 31st 2014 – missile fire at the Eshkol region – not reported by BBC News.

December 19th 2014 – missile fire at the Eshkol region – not covered by BBC News at the time but Israeli response reported in English.

April 23rd 2015 – missile fire at Sha’ar HaNegev region – not reported by BBC News.

May 26th 2015 – missile fire at Gan Yavne area – not covered by BBC News but Israeli response reported by BBC Arabic.

June 3rd 2015 – missile fire at Sdot Negev region – not covered by BBC News but Israeli response reported by BBC Arabic

June 6th 2015 – missile fire at Hof Ashkelon area – not covered by BBC News but Israeli response reported by BBC Arabic. Later briefly mentioned in a June 10th report by Yolande Knell.

June 11th 2015 – missile fire (fell short in Gaza Strip) – later mentioned in a June 12th article by Yolande Knell.

June 23rd 2015 – missile fire at Yad Mordechai area – not covered by BBC News but Israeli response reported by BBC Arabic.

July 16th 2015 – missile fire at the Ashkelon area – not reported by the BBC in English.

August 7th 2015 – missile fire at the Kissufim area – not covered by the BBC’s English language services, but Israeli response reported by BBC Arabic.

August 27th 2015 – missile fire at the Eshkol area – not reported by BBC News in English, but Israeli response covered by BBC Arabic.

September 18th 2015 – missile fire on Sderot and Ashkelon – 19 words of reporting in a BBC News article on a different topic. Israeli response reported by BBC Arabic.

September 21st 2015 – missile fire at the Hof Ashkelon area – not reported by BBC News.

September 29th 2015 – missile fire at Ashdod – 15 words of coverage in an article on another topic. Israeli response covered by BBC Arabic.

Clearly BBC audiences are not being provided with the full range of information necessary for them to “[b]uild a global understanding of international issues” and remarkably, not one BBC correspondent has found the time or inclination to venture down to southern Israel during the past year to report on the views and experiences of the civilians living under the constant threat of missile attacks by terrorists located in the Gaza Strip. 

Update: Later amendment to the BBC News website article which originally included fifteen words of coverage of the Grad missile attack on Ashdod September 29th removed that information.