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 coverage of terrorism in Israel – September 2015 & Q3 2015

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during September 2015 (Hebrew – here) shows that throughout the month a total of 223 incidents took place: 151 in Judea & Samaria, 68 in Jerusalem and four incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip.

The agency recorded 199 attacks with petrol bombs, four shooting attacks, one stoning attack and 15 attacks using explosive devices. One Israeli civilian was killed and two wounded in the stoning attack in Jerusalem on September 13th and another Israeli civilian was wounded in a shooting attack on her vehicle on September 9th.  

Of the four incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip, two received a total of nineteen words of coverage on the BBC News website in an article on another topic, one was not reported at all and one was mentioned – also in an article on a different subject – but the fifteen words of coverage were later deleted.

The fatal incident which took place in Jerusalem on September 13th was reported three days later, notably with no mention of the identity of the perpetrators of the attack. The September 9th incident received no BBC News coverage. An article which appeared on September 18th made brief references to two additional incidents in passive language which failed to clarify to readers who was responsible for the attacks.

“In East Jerusalem, police said three border guards were injured by a fire bomb thrown at their vehicle”

“Also in East Jerusalem, a bus was attacked with stones and set ablaze” [all emphasis added]

The death, on September 7th, of a third victim of the arson attack in Duma which took place at the end of July was reported on the BBC News website.

In conclusion, the vast majority of the attacks which took place during September were once again ignored by the BBC and those which were reported did not receive dedicated coverage but brief mentions in articles concerning other topics. Hence, BBC audiences were not aware of the trend of rising terrorism which preceded the surge in fatal attacks beginning at the start of October 2015.

Table terror Sept 15

Throughout the first three quarters of 2015 BBC News reported just 1.08% of the terror attacks which actually took place. Its record on coverage of Israeli fatalities stands at 25% whilst 100% of Palestinian fatalities have been reported.

In some recent articles appearing on the BBC News website since mid-October, audiences have seen the following graph, indicating that BBC News can locate and report information relating to terror attacks against Israelis when it finds it appropriate to do so.

graph stabbing attacks BBC

However, the provision of that information ten months into the year is symptomatic of the approach voiced by Jerusalem Bureau correspondent Kevin Connolly earlier in the month.

“I mean we were just going back through our own news archive here. It’s far from scientific but we would say that more than twenty Palestinians have died in political violence on the West Bank this year, at least a half a dozen Israelis. Often there’s a level of tension that bubbles away somewhere below the level, frankly, that you need to make global headlines.” [emphasis added]

Unfortunately for its audiences, as the BBC’s record shows, that approach means that as far as terrorism against Israelis is concerned, they cannot necessarily “expect the BBC to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world” as its public purpose remit obliges.

And of course one cannot but wonder if 1,206 terror attacks on British citizens in a period of nine months would be similarly considered a “level of tension” unworthy of “global headlines”. 

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism – August 2015

BBC News coverage of terrorism – July 2015

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – June 2015 & Q2 2015




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.

ME HP 11 10 15a

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.

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.

ME HP 30 9 15a

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.  





BBC’s pattern of Gaza reporting migrates north

September 26th saw yet another incident of spillover fire from the fighting in Syria in the northern Golan Heights.

“A rocket launched from Syria fell in open territory in the northern Golan Heights on Saturday evening, causing no injuries or damage. Air raid sirens were not triggered in the incident.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that it was likely a result of errant fire from the ongoing civil war in the neighboring country. There have been numerous such incidents since the war began in March 2011.”

The following day a similar incident occurred in the same area.

“A rocket fired from war-torn Syria strayed into the Israeli sector of the Golan Heights on Sunday, the Israeli army said, in the second such incident in as many days.

The Israeli military said the rocket crashed into a field without causing any casualties or damage.

It said that it was the result of Syria’s conflict in which various factions are fighting against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, as well as each other.”

Neither of those incidents was covered by BBC News. Later on the evening of September 27th Israeli forces responded to the two incidents.  

“An Israel Defense Forces spokesman confirmed that the IDF had conducted two artillery strikes on Syrian positions on the outskirts of Quneitra following earlier rocket strike in the Golan on Sunday night.

The spokesman had said that the IDF “viewed the Syrian army as responsible for any fire emanating within its territory, and that the IDF will not allow any attempts to harm Israel’s sovereignty or citizens.””BBC Arabic Quneitra 27 9

Whilst that event was also ignored by the BBC’s English language services, as has often been the case when Israel has responded to missile fire from the Gaza Strip in recent months, the Israeli action was the focus of an article appearing on the BBC Arabic website on September 27th under the inadequate headline “Israel bombed military sites belonging to the Syrian army“.

Related Articles:

BBC yet again ignores Gaza missile fire – in English

Celeb wedding makes front page BBC news but terror doesn’t

Throughout the past week Israeli citizens have continued to be plagued by terror attacks. On September 21st a missile fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in the Hof Ashkelon region.

‘“The rocket landed in the center of the greenhouse, and damaged the crops and equipment. It was a great miracle, because employees usually come during these hours to work,” Eran Dotan, the greenhouse owner, told the Hebrew-language news website Ynet. He said it is the second time that a rocket fired from Gaza has struck his greenhouses.’

On the same morning an IDF soldier was injured near Joseph’s Tomb.

“Dozens of Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails, and rolled burning tires downhill at the soldiers, inflicting light to moderate injuries on the soldier.

The soldiers were guarding Jewish worshipers who came to pray at the tomb, believed to contain the remains of the biblical patriarch Joseph.”

Israeli motorists continued to be targeted in stoning attacks and firebomb attacks.

“On Route 443 northwest of Jerusalem, Palestinians threw stones at passing motorists, damaging three cars.

Stones were also thrown at Israeli drivers on Route 60 near the Beit Anun intersection near Hebron, in the southern West Bank.

Egged bus No. 149 was pelted with rocks and paint between Hizma and Anatot north of Jerusalem, but no injuries or physical damage to the bus were reported.”

On September 24th a Palestinian man carrying explosives was apprehended in the Jordan Valley, firebombs were thrown at the community of Psagot and several cases of arson were reported.

“Fire caused damage to the balcony and garden of a home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor overnight on Wednesday. An investigation by the fire department found that it was caused by a Molotov cocktail thrown at the adjacent building.

A brush fire also broke out near Moshe Dayan Boulevard in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev. The fire was suspected to have been deliberately started.

Another brush fire started near Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo, south of the city, and was also suspected of being arson. And there was a fire started on Kassuto Street, in Bayit Vagan, down the road from a synagogue, Ynet reported.”

On September 24th it was reported that sulfuric acid bound for the Gaza Strip had been intercepted after passing through the Nitzana crossing.

“The acrid smell of the shipment, which was recorded officially as 30 tons of paint thinner, aroused the suspicion of Shin Bet and customs officials at the Nitzana border crossing with Egypt. At least half of the shipment, it turned out, was sulfuric acid.

Sulfuric acid is banned from import to the Gaza Strip through Israel. It is a key component in producing explosives such as nitroglycerin and TNT.

According to Channel 2, the quantities seized were sufficient to produce three tons of explosives.”

None of the above was reported on the BBC News website. The only terror-related incident (although not defined as such to BBC audiences) which did receive coverage during the same week involved a Palestinian woman who was shot after trying to stab a soldier in Hebron.

On the other hand, visitors to the BBC News website on September 25th did find a vacuous written report about Bar Rafaeli’s wedding on the site’s main homepage, on its ‘World’ page and on its Middle East page.  In addition, a filmed report on the same topic appeared on the website’s Middle East and ‘Video’ pages. 

BR 25 9

Yes – a supermodel’s nuptials really were deemed more newsworthy by the self-styled “standard-setter of international journalism” than missile attacks, stoning attacks and firebomb attacks on civilians or attempts to smuggle bomb-making materials into a terrorist-run enclave.

Related Articles:

Two missile attacks on southern Israel get nineteen words of coverage from BBC News

How many firebomb attacks on a Jewish home does it take for the UK media to notice?  (UK Media Watch) 



Two missile attacks on southern Israel get nineteen words of coverage from BBC News

On the evening of September 18th air-raid sirens sounded in Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip after a missile was launched from the adjacent territory. The projectile exploded in Sderot.Pic missile Sderot 18 9

“Israel Police said that a bus was damaged in the strike, while the Ynet website reported that a home was also damaged. The residents were inside at the time of the strike, Ynet said, adding that several people were treated at the scene for shock. One woman was taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon after complaining of chest pains and ringing in her ears, the website reported.”

Later on the same evening Ashkelon also came under attack.

“An Iron Dome anti-rocket battery shot down a Gazan rocket over the southern city of Ashkelon on Friday night. 
There were no injuries or damages, the IDF said. 
Warning sirens rang out across the city, sending residents fleeing for cover, before Iron Dome went into action. It was the second rocket attack by terrorists in Gaza within a few hours.”

The second bout of missile fire was reportedly claimed by a Salafist group in the Gaza Strip affiliated with ISIS and hours later Israel responded with strikes on Hamas terrorist infrastructure.

In typical ‘last-first reporting’ style BBC Arabic informed it audiences of “Israeli raids on Gaza after the launch of two missiles“.missile fire 18 9 BBC Arabic

Visitors to the English language BBC News website found no stand-alone report on the two incidents of missile fire but an article on a different topic originally published on September 18th – “Israel steps up Jerusalem security after Palestinian clashes” – did dedicate the grand total of nineteen words to the attacks and fourteen words to the response.

“At least two rockets were fired into Israel from the Palestinian territory of Gaza, with one damaging a bus

Israel responded with overnight air strikes on training camps belonging to Hamas in Gaza”

The article does not tell readers of the claim of responsibility for the missile attacks and that ties in with the overall trend in this report (and earlier ones) according to which the BBC refrains from identifying the perpetrators of incidents in the recent wave of violence and attacks just seem to happen all by themselves – for example:

“An Israeli motorist died earlier in the week in an accident apparently caused by a rock-throwing attack in Jerusalem.”

“In East Jerusalem, police said three border guards were injured by a fire bomb thrown at their vehicle”

“Also in East Jerusalem, a bus was attacked with stones and set ablaze” [all emphasis added]

Clearly BBC audiences cannot properly understand this story if they are not told who is firing missiles and who is throwing rocks and fire-bombs.

This report also provides two equally useless ‘explanations’ for the current wave of violence:

“Palestinians have also been angered by Israeli plans that could allow police to open fire on stone-throwers. […]

Tensions have been running high in Jerusalem since Israel banned two Muslim groups which confront Jewish visitors to the [Temple Mount] compound.”

The proposed changes to the rules of engagement in Jerusalem of course came about as a result of the violent rioting and not – as this article implies – the other way round. Once again we see that the BBC avoids telling its audiences who those banned “Muslim groups” are, who finances them and to what aim and as usual, the all-important topic of official PA incitement relating to Temple Mount is excluded from the BBC’s narrative. 

BBC News coverage of terrorism – August 2015

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during August 2015 (Hebrew – here) shows that throughout the month a total of 171 incidents took place: 117 in Judea & Samaria, 51 in Jerusalem and three incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip.

The agency recorded 136 attacks with petrol bombs, five stabbings, four shooting attacks, one vehicular attack and 22 attacks using explosive devices. Twelve Israelis were wounded in those attacks – four civilians and eight members of the security forces.

The three incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip were not reported by BBC News but the Israeli response to the August 7th attack did receive coverage on the BBC Arabic website and the same pattern of Arabic only coverage was also seen on August 27th.

The firebomb attack on a civilian vehicle travelling near Beit Hanina junction on August 3rd in which two people were injured did not receive any BBC coverage.

A vehicular attack near Shilo on August 6th in which three soldiers were injured received no coverage in English but was reported on the BBC Arabic website.

 Five separate stabbing incidents resulting in injuries to one civilian and four soldiers were all ignored by BBC News. There was no BBC coverage of an attack with an IED near Beit Jala on August 19th in which a soldier was wounded and a drive-by shooting attack near Kedumim on August 30th in which a civilian was injured was likewise disregarded.

To sum up, visitors to the BBC News English language website did not receive any information whatsoever about any of the 171 terror attacks which took place during August.

Table terror Aug 15Since the beginning of the year BBC News has reported just 0.81% of the terror attacks which have actually taken place. Its record on coverage of Israeli fatalities stands at 0% whilst 100% of Palestinian fatalities have been reported.

As has been noted here before, the BBC Trust’s definition of the corporation’s public purpose remit titled ‘Global Outlook’ states:

“BBC viewers, listeners and users can rely on the BBC to provide internationally respected news services to audiences around the world and they can expect the BBC to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world, giving insight into the way people live in other countries.”

Clearly that pledge is not being met with regard to terrorism against Israelis and the knock-on effect of that omission is that audiences are unable to comprehend the context to the Israeli counter-terrorism measures such as border restrictions, the anti-terrorist fence or checkpoints which do feature extensively and regularly in BBC content.

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism – July 2015

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – June 2015 & Q2 2015