The BBC’s Jon Donnison and impartiality

The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines on impartiality (section 4.4.13) state: [emphasis added]

“Presenters, reporters and correspondents are the public face and voice of the BBC – they can have a significant impact on perceptions of whether due impartiality has been achieved.  Our audiences should not be able to tell from BBC output the personal prejudices of our journalists or news and current affairs presenters on matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or on ‘controversial subjects’ in any other area.  They may provide professional judgements, rooted in evidence, but may not express personal views in BBC output, including online, on such matters.”

Here is a recent Tweet from the BBC’s Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison

This is Donnison’s rather terse reply to someone who queries the statement “In terms of casualties Pals [sic] come of [sic] worse”. 

Here is another recent Donnison Tweet:

Oh dear! Surely Donnison cannot be suggesting that Israel is employing the Iron Dome missile defence system in order to impress the American visitors? Not only is that obviously ridiculous – the Iron Dome is deployed every time there is a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza whether there happen to be guests in the region or not – but it also crudely implies that Israel brought about the latest rocket barrage in order to have something to show the Americans.

It almost sounds as though Donnison has been reading ‘one-stater’ Ali Abunimah’s latest odious ‘Electronic Intifada’ article on Israelis “whining” about rockets.

Oh wait…

So who else – besides Abunimah – does the BBC’s Gaza correspondent turn to for reading material on the Middle East? 

And, although Donnison’s Twitter profile includes the usual “Rewteets #Tags not endorsements” caveat, who does he choose to quote and which viewpoints does he elect to promote? 

Some might say that by now they have a pretty good idea of the flavour of Donnison’s “personal views”.  

Four BBC video reports and a funeral

Taking a look at yesterday’s BBC News reports from Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison on the subject of the intense barrage of rocket fire experienced by civilians in southern Israel on October 23rd and 24th 2012 (which the BBC did not begin reporting until the second day), we find that all the items lead with similar headlines. 

In chronological order, we first have “Gaza militants killed in strikes following rocket fire”  – a report appearing on the BBC News website which includes both written ‘analysis’ and a video report from Jon Donnison in which he is still promoting the notion that it is  “unusual” for Hamas to be taking part in rocket attacks. 

The second report, also titled in the same way, is a video report which seems to have appeared on television news. It includes footage of some of the damage caused by the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, including a wrongly titled shot of the chicken house in Kibbutz Kissufim where two farm workers sustained critical injuries. 

According to Donnison:

“As ever, civilians are caught up in the violence”

What he neglects to mention, however, is that in the case of Israeli civilians, they are actually the intended targets of rockets fired by Hamas and other terrorist organisations, rather than unfortunate bystanders. 

Donnison informs his viewers that:

“This is a reminder that the ongoing conflict has not gone away”

(Does he really believe that anyone thought it had?)

He goes on to talk about the peace process, saying “Gaza and Hamas are not even part of those negotiations”, but fails to enlighten his viewers as to why that is the case. 

The third report, entitled “Palestinian militants killed in Israeli airstrikes are buried” is also a video report which was apparently broadcast on BBC news programmes in the UK. It contains the same spoken material as the two video reports above, with Donnison once again pushing the idea that it is “unusual” for Hamas to be firing rockets, but the brief footage of Israel appearing in this film is not labelled at all – which would make it very difficult for most viewers to understand what they were watching. 

The fourth and final report – which also apparently appeared on news broadcasts – is entitled “Gaza militants buried after air strikes” and shows comparatively extensive footage of Hamas funerals in Gaza. It also includes an interview with an unnamed Hamas representative who – entirely unchallenged by Donnison – bizarrely accuses Israel of wanting to “disrupt the atmosphere ahead of Eid” and suggests that Israeli military operations targeting terrorists firing rockets at Israeli civilians are some sort of election ploy. 

Against a background of an unlabelled picture of damage to an Israeli home, Donnison informs viewers that “Its [Israel’s] military power is far superior”, later going on to assert that “At some point there will be more Israeli air strikes, more Palestinian rockets”.

This last statement is typical of both the kind of equivalence which Donnison tries to convey in all his above reports and his avoidance of telling audiences the hard facts: if there are no more Palestinian rockets and terror attacks, then there will be no Israeli airstrikes against terror cells. 

From a visual point of view, readers will no doubt notice that – as is so often the case in BBC coverage – in all the above video reports produced by Donnison and his team in Gaza, one sees Palestinian people – men, women and children. In contrast, the footage of Israel shows only buildings, with an occasional soldier, police official or politician in the frame, but no civilians whatsoever.  

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have spent two nights and a day in air raid shelters (yet again) but the BBC apparently did not consider it necessary to include any footage of that. 

Speculation, speculation, speculation: BBC ‘news’ report on Sudan fire

Wednesday morning’s BBC World Service news reported, among other things, a fire in an ammunition factory in Sudan. As the day progressed, a Sudanese government minister came up with a story about “four radar-evading aircraft” that “appeared to come from the east” – and the BBC rushed to publish. 

So what do we have in the story as far as facts and hard evidence goes? Well; nothing.

“The Sudanese government says it believes Israel was responsible” 

“Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman said: “We think Israel did the bombing”

[emphasis added]

But why should a mere lack of facts spoil a dramatic story?

Further commentary by BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus adds an even more bizarre tone to the article: 

“At this stage there is no way of knowing who was responsible for the air attack against the Yarmouk arms factory in Khartoum.” [emphasis added]

Quite, and therefore an article based entirely on speculation and rumors promoted by one of the world’s less salubrious regimes is rather pointless. But it is interesting that Marcus seems to accept that there was an “air attack”, despite the lack of hard evidence. 

It is especially noteworthy because the Governor of Khartoum, whom one assumes is likely to be more up to date on the situation than a BBC correspondent in London, has denied that an air strike occurred at all. 

“Khartoum State Governor Abdel Rahman Al-Khidir said in a televised statement that the cause of the incident is not clear yet but he discounted the possibility of foreign entities being involved.

His statement was clearly aiming to quell wildly spreading rumours that the factory was hit by an airstrike. Some witnesses told Sudan Tribune that the explosion occurred after a sound resembling that of a rocket was heard and the sky lit up. There is also a rumor that an airplane carrying military materiel crashed on the site of the factory but Sudan Tribune was not able to independently verify those claims.

Al-Khidir said that the explosion probably happened at the main storage facility of the large factory.

SAF’s [Sudanese Armed Forces] spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad said that an internal explosion occurred in one of the storage facilities and the fire spread due to the plenty of grass in the area. He confirmed that they already launched an investigation into the incident.

An anonymous police source also told AFP that the explosion erupted during a routine maintenance operation, adding that the authorities continue to count the losses.

A similar explosion occurred at the same factory in August 2006 leading to the injury of seven SAF members. The authorities attributed the incident at the time to an electric short circuit.”

Nevertheless, Marcus continues: 

“While the Sudanese authorities are yet to provide any evidence for their accusation that it was Israel, this is by no means as outlandish as it might sound” [emphasis added]

Ah, the suspense!

“For a bitter secret war has been going on for a number of years between Israel and Hamas” [emphasis added]

That must be one of the worst kept secrets on the planet: except from some BBC correspondents, apparently. 

Perhaps – had they been a little less caught up in the drama of speculation about Israeli “radar-evading aircraft” – BBC journalists could have asked the Sudanese government minister about the apparent claims by the Sudanese opposition that the munitions factory in question belongs to the Iranian Republican Guard, or why it is situated in such close proximity to a busy city. 

There might have been a real story in that. 

BBC uses unverified quote to advance its narrative

I must admit that the enthusiastic style of the BBC’s October 17th article, headlined “Israel forced to release study on Gaza blockade“, raised ironic smiles in this household – coming as it does from an organization which has spent years (and hundreds of thousands of pounds) avoiding the release of a report of its own. 

The actual context to the study in question is only briefly revealed by the BBC writer right at the end of the article:

“The Israeli defence ministry said the “red lines” study was only ever a draft but was aimed at ensuring there was not a major health crisis.

“The quantification was not done in order to arrive at a minimum threshold or restrict the quantities, but… to ensure that there was no shortage,” an official at the Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (Cogat) told the Haaretz newspaper on Tuesday.”

The bulk of the article, however, is dedicated to presenting the politically motivated point of view of the highly partisan NGO ‘Gisha‘, including the rather bizarre claim that:

“Gisha says the research contradicts Israel’s assertions that the blockade is needed for security reasons.”

Also quoted in the article is UNRWA’s Director of Operations in Gaza, Robert Turner, who – apparently having missed the Palmer Report memo from his parent organization – not only mistakenly declared the blockade to be “illegal under international law”, but also appears to have forgotten that in 1951 his own organization also produced a report in which (clause 31) the allocation of UNRWA food rations to Palestinian refugees was set at 1,600-1,700 calories per person/day. 

Towards the end of the article, the following unsupported and un-sourced claim appears:

“Israeli government officials now acknowledge the food restrictions were partly intended to put pressure on Hamas by making the lives of people in Gaza difficult, says the BBC’s Jon Donnison in Gaza City.

In 2006, Israeli government adviser Dov Weisglass was widely quoted as having said: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” “

Whether it was Donnison or an anonymous editor who saw fit to include the Weisglass “quote” is not clear, but its use is very interesting.

One would expect that a reputable journalist would only use a quote if its authenticity could be verified, either due to the fact that it appears in print –written by the person quoted, of course –or was recorded. So is that the case with the Weisglass “quote” used by the BBC as support for its claim that Israel deliberately restricted food supplies to the civilian population of Gaza?

In order to determine that, we need to do a little detective work. 

Reports of the quote first began circulating in February 2006. Hamas had won the majority of seats in the Palestinian elections the month before and a newly formed government under Ismail Haniyeh was about to be sworn in. The international community (the main source of the Palestinian Authority’s income through donations) and Israel were worried that the considerable amounts of money transferred to the PA would be used by the new Hamas-run government for terror purposes and so economic sanctions were proposed by the Quartet (the UN, the EU, the US and Russia) and Israel. 

On February 15th 2006, the Israeli news site Ynet reported on a high-level meeting of government ministers, advisors and representatives from the security services at which the strategy of economic sanctions was discussed. The Ynet article quoted unnamed ‘political sources’:

 “The political sources who took part in the meeting, quoted Weisglass as saying: “We must cause the Palestinians to become thinner, but not die.”

 Weisglass, responding to the source, said: “I never said such a thing.” “

The next day, Ha’aretz’s Aluf Benn, apparently informed by “a Jerusalem source”, had a different version of the quote in his article:

“It’s like a meeting with a dietician. We have to make them much thinner, but not enough to die” 

On February 19th, 2006, the Israeli financial journalist Sever Plotzker – also writing on Ynet – claimed (without providing a source) that Weisglass had spoken of a policy of “economic diet” towards the Palestinians. 

On the same day, writing in Ha’aretz, Gideon Levy – the Israeli journalist who has made quite a successful career out of demonising his own country – embellished the story with laughter at Weisglass’ alleged remark from the meeting’s participants. Levy claimed that Weisglass had said “It’s like a meeting with a dietician. The Palestinians will lose weight, but they will not die”. Levy provided no source however: the best he could do was to claim “so it was said” –without even stating by whom – in support of his allegations.  

From then on, the alleged quote – in its multiple forms, which surely should raise any reasonable person’s suspicions – took on something of a life of its own, particularly in far-Left and/or anti-Israel circles. 

On February 27th 2006, David R Francis of the Christian Science Monitor used it (un-sourced) in another different form:

“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger”

Francis’ article was in turn used as a ‘source’ – along with an equally unverified version of the quote from a 2008 article by Edward Said’s nephew Saree Makdisi in The Nation – by the anti-Israel blog Mondoweiss in 2009.   

April 2006 saw the Guardian’s Conal Urquhart use one version of it in an article for the Observer. In December 2008, the (again un-sourced) quote was used by British comedian, former Socialist Workers Party member and pro-Palestinian activist Mark Steel in an article in the Independent and in 2010 it was used by Media Lens , apparently using a defunct AFP article as a source, as did the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department in November 2006. 

The alleged quote has also been used – un-sourced – by political NGOs and activists such as Machsom Watch, Jeff Halper of ICHAD and B’tselem

More recently, the quote has been cited on the Lenin’s Tomb blog (run by SWP member Richard Seymour), where it was sourced from Richard Silverstein, who in turn sourced it from the New York Times, which attributed the quote to “the Israeli news media”. All well and good, except that – as we know – the Israeli media itself had nothing but hearsay and an outright denial from Weisglass himself to go on. 

So perhaps the Middle East Editor of BBC Online, Tarik Kafala, would like to disclose to the BBC’s audience (in the name of accuracy and impartiality) his verified source for this quote, because – whilst nobody else seems to be able to find one – it is of course inconceivable to think that the trusted and often quoted BBC would be lifting un-sourced  quotes from such sources as Richard Silverstein, Media Lens and Mondoweiss, purely in order to make political hay.

Isn’t it? 

IDF briefing on intense rocket fire on southern Israel

Earlier, I took part in a briefing with Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich of the IDF Spokesman’s unit regarding the intensified rocket fire upon the south of Israel over the past few hours, which the BBC has reported under the headline “Militants killed in Gaza strikes”. 

Lt. Col. Leibovich reported that 68 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip in the past twelve hours. Two foreign nationals – farm workers from the Kissufim area – were critically wounded by rocket fire and three or four additional civilians are suffering from lighter injuries. Several homes have been damaged. 

Scene of the rocket attack which critically injured two farm workers. Photo credit: IDF blog, 24/10/2012

Lt. Col. Leibovich also gave details of the IDF’s responses to the rocket attacks:

At midnight last night the IDF targeted a rocket-launching squad comprised of three Hamas terrorists.

At 5 a.m. this morning the IDF targeted another squad which had just launched a rocket.

At 7 a.m. the IDF targeted a rocket launching site – one of the pits dug by the terrorists in which the rocket-launcher is placed.

At 8:20 a.m. the IDF targeted a weapons smuggling tunnel and other sites in the northern Gaza Strip. 

Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defence system has successfully intercepted 7 additional rockets.

The Home Front Command has ordered all civilians in the region to stay near their air-raid shelters and safe rooms as, due to their proximity to the Gaza Strip, they have only 15 seconds in which to find cover. All schools and kindergartens in the area are closed. 

Lt. Col. Leibovich stressed that all the targets of today’s rocket fire were, once again, civilian targets including small agricultural communities. She also noted that the majority of the rocket fire took place – as is frequently the case – during the early morning when children are on their way to school and adults travelling to work.

I asked Lt. Col. Leibovich for her view of the claim frequently made by members of the Western media that Hamas is not interested in an escalation of the conflict. She described it as “not a reliable statement”.


BBC stays mum on situation in southern Israel

Overnight, the security situation in southern Israel – which began to deteriorate once again on Tuesday – has become more acute, with dozens of rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian communities. 

According to the latest reports at the time of writing, some 50 missiles have hit Israel since midnight last night – around forty of them between 6:58 am and 7:15 am. Three Thai farm workers have been injured – two of them seriously. Several houses in rural communities surrounding the Gaza Strip have sustained damage and school has been cancelled in the area. 

The ‘Iron Dome’ defence system has intercepted around seven missiles aimed at the town of Ashkelon and the IDF has managed to target several rocket-firing squads inside the Gaza Strip. 

There is, so far, no mention of any of the above events on the BBC News website. The BBC World Service’s news broadcast at 06:30 GMT (08:30 local time) did not report them either. 


The BBC has apparently woken up. Its headline?


Here is the BBC’s report.

According to updated reports from the IDF, the number of rockets which have hit Israel in the past few hours is now 68. 

BBC ignores Gaza border attack

Yesterday we reported on attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians in the vicinity of the border with the Gaza Strip which the BBC chose to report by headlining the IDF response to those attacks. 

This morning, an IDF officer was critically wounded in another attack on a routine patrol near the border fence in the area near Kissufim. 

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility for the attack.

As yet, there has been no response from the IDF.

There has also been no mention of the attack on the Middle East page of the BBC News website.

Could there be a connection between those two facts? 

BBC interviewee’s support for Greta Berlin’s antisemitic videos

As readers will no doubt remember, the BBC World Service saw fit to broadcast an interview with Gilad Atzmon on its ‘Weekend’ programme on October 14th 2012, in which the host Julian Worricker declared himself to be “intrigued” by the proudly antisemitic, Holocaust-denying jazz musician. Worricker even posted a photo of himself and Atzmon on the BBC World Service’s Facebook wall. 

Atzmon has not been shy about adding his voice to the fray which ensued after Greta Berlin of the ‘Free Gaza Movement’ posted a video claiming that “Zionists operated the concentration camps” on the organisation’s official Twitter account.

(If you have not been keeping up with that rather tangled chain of events, it is documented here – part 1 – and here – part 2 – by Avi Mayer and is well worth reading in full.)

The Greta Berlin story broke on September 30th: two weeks before Atzmon’s World Service interview. By October 7th, Atzmon had come out in support of Berlin and her posting of the video, writing on his own blog:

“A few days ago Greta Berlin had been subject to a vile Israeli and Zionist smear campaign following her facebook post containing the following message: “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews”. ” …

“Zionists and Hasbara agents were very quick to slander Berlin. They tagged her as an ‘anti Semite’ and a ‘Holocaust denier’. But clearly there is no Holocaust denial in Berlin’s message..” ….

 “The meaning of it all is pretty simple. As I disclose in my latest book The Wandering Who, there is a devastating continuum between hard core Zionism, Israeli Hasbara and the Jewish so-called ‘left’. Unfortunately, some Palestinians also operate as Sabbath Goyim. And they better be exposed [sic].”

In other words, Atzmon regards attempts by those in the world of pro-Palestinian activism to clean up their movement’s act and dissociate it from racism and Holocaust denial as a “Zionist plot”. 

That information was available to BBC researchers and to Julian Worricker – who claimed during the interview to have read “both critics and supporters” of Atzmon – a full week before the programme was broadcast. 

And yet, despite Atzmon’s infamous history and his open support for a woman who promoted antisemitic material on the internet (including a 1943 Nazi propaganda film), Worricker elected to go ahead with the interview, not only failing to challenge any of Atzmon’s bizarre statements, but also with the dumbed-down presentation of his guest as a mere “controversial public critic of Israel”.

The employment of racism and Holocaust denial in order to delegitimize a nation for political ends does not fall into the category of ‘criticism’ and Atzmon’s rantings go far beyond Worricker’s theme of “music and politics”. 

More recently, on October 19th, Atzmon published another predictably odious piece – entitled “Jewish Domination? Occupation More Likely” and cross-posted at ‘Countercurrents‘ – in which he wrote of those opposing antisemitism and Holocaust denial:

“The recent attack on Free Gaza’s Greta Berlin and Colonel Ann Wright suggests that we have crossed a red line — Jewish domination within the Palestinian solidarity movement belongs to the past. We are now, it seems, under Zionist occupation, and we are subject to all the symptoms of Israeli abuse and Zionist brutality. The expulsions, the exclusions and the cleansings that are inherent within Zionism, Israeli and Jewish politics, are now alive and kicking within the Palestinian solidarity movement itself. ” ….

“The message here is clear – some elements within the Palestinian solidarity movement have obviously adopted the most repellent and brutal Zionist symptoms, and we are now engaged, caught up in, and beset by a sinister series of expulsions, purges, crude witch hunts, exclusions, smears, character defamations and cleansings.”

I would be very interested to hear whether Julian Worricker really thinks that anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial constitute “criticism” of Israel (or anything else) and if he still stands by the decision to give air-time to a man who thinks they have a place in the pro-Palestinian movement. Mr Worricker is invited to contribute his thoughts to the discussion in the comments below. 

BBC News: telling the end of a story first

The morning of Monday, October 22nd saw a mortar attack on a routine Israeli army patrol near the border fence close to Nir Am, to which the IDF responded.  In addition, rocket attacks were launched from the Gaza Strip on civilian communities in southern Israel and the IDF later responded again.  

However, one would have to read down to the fifth out of eight paragraphs in the BBC report on the subject to find out anything about the rocket attacks aimed at civilians, because both the headline and the strap line deal exclusively with the IDF response. 

Despite having already identified one of the members of the targeted rocket-launching cell as a member of Hamas and another as a member of the PRC, the report then goes on to state that:

“Militant factions other than Hamas have carried out a lot of the recent rocket attacks against Israel, although Hamas’ armed wing was involved in firing a barrage of mortars and rockets earlier this month.”

According to the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, one of the deceased is Abed Arahman Abu Jalala (26) – a battalion commander with Izz-a-Din-al-Qassam. Another is Yasser Tarabin of the PRC and a third man has been named as Eahad Abu Shkafa who was with Abu Jalala at the time and may also be a member of Hamas. 

The BBC did not report on the subsequent statement put out by Hamas’ Izz-a-Din-al-Qassam brigades which declared that “The Zionist enemy continues in its crimes and its aggression against our land and our nation and does not cease to spill blood. The crime of the enemy will not pass without reaction; the Zionists will pay a high price.”

There is significance in the order of reporting a sequence of events. Beginning with the end of a story (for example, Israeli air strikes on terror cells) is not conducive to the public’s clear understanding of cause and effect, especially in such a complex area as the Middle East. In a world in which news is distributed via the internet to audiences around the world – not necessarily with English as a first language – and in which time-poor readers often skim headlines and strap lines rather than reading entire articles in full, the choice of headline and the sequence in which the report is written is of importance to the reader’s understanding of the story. 

For some reason, the ‘last – first’ method of reporting appears to be very popular with Middle East journalists in general, especially when dealing with Israeli responses to rocket fire or terror attacks. Though this style of reporting is by no means exclusive to BBC employees, it is they who are charged with ensuring that the BBC “gives information about, and increases understanding of, the world through accurate and impartial news”. That obligation to accuracy and increased understanding is not aided by the recounting of an event in reverse order. 

BBC gets facts right – and then backtracks under pressure

Last night this Tweet appeared on the News Sniffer site’s timeline: 

A look at the Media Lens Twitter feed seems to confirm the statement:

So what are the unannounced changes to this article for which Media Lens is taking credit? 

(For a look at the evolvement of the whole article, see here, here and here.

Version 1 of the article stated that: [emphasis added]

“Israel imposed the blockade after the Islamist group Hamas seized control of the coastal sliver in 2007.”

Version 2 (apparently changed after the Media Lens “nudge”) states:

“Israel tightened the blockade after the Islamist group Hamas came to power in the coastal sliver in 2007.”

Obviously, the revised wording is intended to make a difference to the reader’s perception of the manner in which Hamas came to control the Gaza Strip. Pro-Hamas commentators are often to be found insisting that Hamas was “democratically elected”: a statement which is, of course, only partly accurate.

In January 2006 elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council – the first of their kind since 1996. Hamas gained the majority of seats in that election – 74 out of a total of 132 – with Fatah winning 45 seats, the PFLP gaining 3 seats, and three other minor parties (including those headed by Salam Fayyad and Mustafa Barghouti) winning two seats each.

In February 2006, Ismail Haniyeh formed a new government, but Hamas’ refusal to renounce terrorism, to recognise Israel and to honour previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority prompted the introduction of economic sanctions on the PNA by Israel and the Quartet – i.e. the United Nations, Russia, the European Union and the United States.

In February 2007 an agreement was reached in Mecca between Mahmoud Abbas (representing Fatah) and Khaled Masha’al (representing Hamas) which brought about the establishment of a national unity government headed by Ismail Haniyeh a month later. 

On June 7th 2007, a nine day armed battle began between Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip which resulted in the deaths of civilians and UN personnel as well as over a hundred combatants, and during which – according to Human Rights Watch – war crimes were committed by both sides.

By June 14th, Hamas had gained control of the Gaza Strip, ousting Fatah and bringing about the collapse of the power-sharing unity government and the declaration of a state of emergency by the PA President Mahmoud Abbas. 

After the Hamas coup in Gaza and the resulting division of the PA into two entities, Israel and the Quartet revoked the sanctions on the part of the PA still under the control of Mahmoud Abbas. Both Egypt and Israel tightened control of their borders with the Gaza Strip – now controlled by an internationally-recognised terrorist organisation with ideological and financial ties to Iran and its regional proxies. 

The BBC therefore had it right when it stated in the above article that “Hamas seized control of the coastal sliver in 2007”. Not only did Hamas do so by means of violence, but it also eliminated its political opponents, creating what Dr. Jonathan Spyer has described as “an Islamist one-party statelet” in which democratic elections (which should have taken place in 2010) are nowhere on the horizon. 

The subsequent changes to the BBC’s article therefore reflect a politically-motivated airbrushing of the facts which do not square up with the BBC’s obligations to either accuracy or impartiality.