Another thinly-veiled BBC accusation of war crimes

On November 10th the ‘Features & Analysis’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page included an article by Rushdi Abualouf about the Tamarod movement in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza Tamarod art 1

Part-way down the article, BBC audiences are told that:

“On Facebook, it [Tamarod] accuses the Hamas government of failing “to provide a decent life” by imposing heavy taxes on residents exhausted by Israel’s blockade that was tightened after it came to power.

Israel says its measures are for security reasons, while human rights groups have said it amounts to collective punishment.”

Gaza Tamarod art 2

In other words, Abualouf is claiming that what he terms “Israel’s blockade” was “tightened” after – and because – Hamas “came to power” in June 2007.

Of course Abualouf’s euphemistic language conceals the fact that Hamas’ hold on power actually came about as the result of a violent coup against the Palestinian Authority which included the deaths, injury and torture of hundreds of their fellow Palestinians.

Following that violent coup, both Egypt (which is completely airbrushed from Abualouf’s account) and Israel largely closed their borders with the Gaza Strip due to the fact that the body charged with joint security arrangements under the terms of the Oslo Accords – the Palestinian Authority – no longer exercised any control over the territory. Three months later – on September 19th 2007 – in light of the escalation of terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli civilians originating in the now Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip (which Abualouf also conveniently neglects to mention), the Israeli government declared Gaza to be ‘hostile territory’.

Abualouf then resorts to the standard BBC tactic of insinuation with his use of the phrase “Israel says its measures are for security reasons”, implying to readers that 3,000 rockets and mortars deliberately launched at Israeli civilians in the first year alone after the Hamas coup (and thousands more since) are perhaps not the real motive for Israel’s exercising of control over its border with a territory in the grip a terrorist organization.

Finally, Abualouf presents a thinly veiled insinuation of a war crime having been carried out by Israel by using third party characterisations of the partial blockade as ‘collective punishment’. Naturally, he refrains from naming the “human rights groups” he ostensibly cites or from informing BBC audiences of the political motivations behind those unproven accusations. 

This is not the first time that the BBC has published this insinuation using the buffer of third party claims: it also did so back in January of this year and our observations from the time are also relevant to this latest article from Abualouf.

“The fact that in this article a BBC writer repeats and propagates a politically motivated unfounded and unproven allegation of a very serious nature without the slightest bit of evidence is indication of a very grave impartiality failure indeed. “

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