On December 13th 2012 a rally was held in Schem (Nablus) in the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories by the Hamas movement to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The following day another similar rally was held in Hebron.
The BBC’s Jon Donnison reported from the rally in Schem and his article, together with a short video, appeared in the Middle East section of the BBC News website and apparently also on BBC television news.
The events of Friday December 14th were also reported on the Middle East page of the BBC News website.
Technically, there may appear to be little to criticise either in Donnison’s report from Schem or the one from Hebron.
Donnison correctly points out that the rally suggests that “ties are improving” between the Fatah-dominated PA and Hamas, although he is more than a little coy about Hamas’ violent take-over of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
“A rift developed between the PA’s Fatah party and Hamas after the Islamist movement won legislative elections in 2006 and came to power in Gaza a year later.”
His actual description of the event is brief:
“In Thursday’s rally, thousands of Hamas supporters took to the streets in Nablus, in the north of the territory, carrying banners reading “Hamas, you are the gun and we are the ammunition”, AFP news agency reports.
Fatah leader Amin Makboul praised Hamas for its “steadfastness” in the latest clashes with Israel.
“[The] victory in Gaza was a big victory for all Palestinian people,” he said at the Nablus rally.”
Similarly, the report from Hebron also stresses the reconciliation aspect of the rally held there.
“Hamas and the rival Fatah faction, which dominates the PA, have made conciliatory gestures towards each other since the end of last month’s Israeli offensive on Gaza, which Israel said it launched to stop rocket-fire.
“Hamas steadfastness and victory in Gaza was a big victory for all Palestinian people,” Amin Makboul, a Fatah leader, said in a speech at Thursday’s rally in Nablus.
A rift developed between the two groups after Hamas won legislative elections in 2006 and came to power in Gaza a year later. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have so far failed.”
But do these BBC reports – muted, but technically correct in as far as they go – tell the whole story behind those two very significant rallies? Do they really contribute towards increasing the understanding of BBC audiences with regard to the current wave of Hamas popularity in Palestinian society or the implications of any Hamas/Fatah ‘reconciliation’ for the region as a whole and the ‘peace process’ in particular? Do these BBC reports do anything to inform audiences worldwide why Israelis might view a Hamas renaissance in areas other than the Gaza Strip with something less than enthusiasm?
Another reporter was in Schem and Hebron on those particular days too. His name is Ohad Hemo and he works for Israel’s Channel 2 television station. Unlike the BBC’s correspondents in the region, he speaks fluent Arabic and this is his report of December 14th 2012.
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