Since July 8th, BBC television audiences are having much of their news from the Gaza Strip delivered by Yolande Knell. Two of the filmed reports she produced on July 9th also appear on the BBC News website.
The earlier report is titled “A night of Gaza rocket attacks on Israel” and its synopsis reads as follows.
“A series of rocket attacks were launched overnight from Gaza into Israel territories [sic] as tension continues to mount in the region.
Israel said four rockets hit southern Israel overnight and that rocket fire continued on Wednesday, with more shot down over Tel Aviv and Ashkelon.
Israel said there were 160 air strikes on Gaza overnight in response.” [emphasis added]
The IDF did indeed announce that four missiles had hit southern Israel between midnight and 07:00 on July 9th. However, that description – like the BBC News website’s main article from July 8th – does nothing to inform audiences of the fact that between dusk and midnight, dozens of missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip.
Knell tells viewers:
“Well, it was a very noisy night here in Gaza and it’s been a noisy morning as well. And certainly after it went dark last night we heard this volley of rockets that were being fired by militant groups here into Israel. This is really the most significant development of the last 24 hours, I think: the fact that they’re using these longer range missiles now. The militant groups here claim that they’re both locally made rockets but also some that the Israeli military has said appear to be Syrian-made using Iranian technology. And the militant groups here have managed to obtain these rockets despite the fact that Gaza is of course…em…kept under very tight border restrictions by both Israel and Egypt. The Israeli military says that more than 45 rockets…em…were fired overnight, targeting…ah…big cities – Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and also Hadera which is more than eighty miles away from the Gaza Strip. It says although no-one was actually hurt directly as a result of these rockets, that the majority of the Israeli population was placed in immediate danger.”
Knell does not bother to explain to viewers how Israel manages to limit casualties by investment in means such as early warning systems, missile defence systems, air-raid shelters and safe rooms. Neither does she trouble them with details of the locally made M75 and Syrian-made M302 missiles. But most significantly, she does not clarify the topic of Iranian involvement in the supply of those latter missiles – an example of which was seen in March of this year – or the fact that during Morsi’s presidency, the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip was under considerably less control than it has been of late, due to the close relations between Hamas and its parent movement, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Knell’s second filmed report from July 9th is titled “Video shows Israeli airstrikes on Gaza Strip” and its synopsis once again promotes the inaccurate notion that the terrorists’ missile strikes are a ‘reaction’ to Israeli actions.
“Palestinian militants have fired more rockets at Israeli cities after Israel carried out dozens of overnight air strikes on the Gaza Strip.”
The synopsis fails to inform audiences how many of the casualties it cites are civilians and how many terrorists.
Knell tells viewers:
“It’s very quiet here on the streets of Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip. Most residents are just staying indoors trying to remain safe. There’ve been a lot of Israeli airstrikes here in the past day or so, several of them targeting houses. If you look at this one over here, it’s been almost destroyed. Locals say that it was an Islamic Jihad leader that was living here. He and his family weren’t in the house at the time. But in another home nearby there were six members of one family who were killed as the Israeli military went after another Islamic Jihad leader. Now the IDF says what it’s targeting here are rocket-launching sites as well as known militants, but of course this is also a residential area and now we’re starting to see the number of civilians killed in this latest conflict mounting up, as well as the numbers of wounded.”
Yet again, no effort is made to explain to viewers that the houses targeted also act as command and control centres for assorted terrorist organisations and in some cases as missile storage and/or launch sites – as Knell herself documented the previous day in another BBC report – and that fact makes them legitimate targets.
“Nearby a house had just been damaged by an Israeli air strike. Two ambulances whizzed by carrying away the injured.
“[Militants] used to launch rockets from here. [The Israeli military] targeted these houses several times,” a local man told us.”
Neither does Knell inform viewers of the fact that Hamas and other terrorist organisations use the local civilian population as human shields, both by urging them to ignore IDF warnings of airstrikes and by deliberately placing missile launchers and weapons stores in residential areas – thereby intentionally raising the number of civilian casualties for propaganda purposes.
The BBC has so far erased all these very important topics from the view of its audiences in all of its reporting. Until it begins to tell them the whole story, BBC audiences will not be able to establish informed opinions on the issue of the current conflict.