BBC’s Ian Pannell does a convincing impression of Al Aqsa TV

“BBC News aspires to remain the standard-setter for international journalism…” [source]

On July 28th BBC television news audiences viewed some of that ‘standard setting’ journalism in the form of yet more unchallenged Hamas propaganda, this time facilitated by Ian Pannell. The item also appeared on the BBC News website under the title “Hamas: ‘We are getting killed but we won’t give up’“. Pannell’s ‘interview’ (and that term is used very loosely here) with Hamas spokesman Ehab al Ghossein begins with the latter saying:Pannell int Hamas spox

“This my relatives, my people. Maybe I’m gonna get killed in the next hour. So; whenever we stand in front of this Israeli occupation that…this army that has no ethics – they are just killing civilians, kids, and the world is watching – the only thing I have is to continue standing in front of it. To continue to resist in front of it. I’m looking for my freedom and I know that the price of freedom will be high so I…nobody can make me give up or hold the white flag without getting my freedom and this is the sense for all the Palestinians. We are paying, we are getting killed but we won’t give up.”

Does Pannell bother to point out to BBC audiences – and al Ghossein – that the Gaza Strip has not been under “Israeli occupation” for nine years? In light of that fact, does he dig deeper in order to give viewers some sort of insight as to how Hamas defines ‘occupation’ and which geographical areas its definition actually includes? Does he pick up on the glaring aberration of an internationally designated terrorist organization – which has targeted Israeli civilians with thousands of military grade missiles for fourteen years and sent dozens of suicide bombers to carry out carnage in Israeli cafes, shopping malls and buses – lecturing BBC viewers on “ethics”? The answer to all those questions is of course no. Instead, Pannell allows al Ghossein a platform from which to cynically commandeer the language of human rights, turning a violent, antisemitic terrorist organization into a popular movement for “freedom”.  

Pannell then tries to steer al Ghossein towards expatiation of Hamas’ pre-ceasefire demands – a theme we have seen being advanced repeatedly in BBC coverage in recent days.

“So let’s talk about those objectives. What are the key demands of Hamas? You say that you will abide by a humanitarian truce during Eid. The implication is you will resume the conflict after that until you get – what?”

EaG: “Well the problem is in the Israelis who are keeping to kill us. Not us. They started this war and they continue…”

Pannell interrupts, but not to clarify to audiences that al Ghossein’s version of events is inaccurate and untrue. Instead, Pannell is looking for advancement of his selected theme.

“But the objectives that would lead to the Palestinian factions and the Palestinian people saying enough…”

EaG: “Well…err…nobody will tell the Palestinians to stop defending themselves. The problem is the Israelis who are continuing to kill my people. And so I’m telling you…”

Pannell still hasn’t got what he came for.

“I’m just keen to know…yeah…what is it that you actually want now?”

Finally, al Ghossein responds to Pannell’s repeated prompts and the buzz words arrive.

EaG: “The solution is easy. We’re talking about two million people living in a big jail. 140 square miles with…err…no borders, with no products, with no electricity. There is no life. It’s a slow death since eight years. What we are looking for is lifting the siege, opening the borders and this is actually our rights. We shouldn’t get with all this blood. We should get it without anything but the problem is unfair international community that keep in silence since eight years in front of them.”

Predictably, Pannell makes no effort to ask his interviewee why – if it is so concerned about conditions in the Gaza Strip – Hamas initiated, carried out, allowed and facilitated the terrorism in the territory under its control which brought upon the population there the implementation of border restrictions by both Israel and Egypt in order to protect their own civilians. Neither does Pannell bother to enquire whether – in the event of the lifting of border restrictions – Hamas will rearm with the help of its foreign sponsors Iran and Qatar and continue to carry out terrorism against its neighbouring countries. He goes on:

“Are you any closer to achieving those aims now than you were one month ago?”

EaG: “Well we believe that we are going to get and achieve our goals. It’s not our goals as Hamas goals – no: it’s the Palestinian goals. And whatever happened we won’t change our stance. We look our freedom. If they kill all of us, all of us at all, we should get in the end our freedom. The only thing we have is dignity. We’re saving our dignity and looking for our freedom whatever surprise is continue to happen.”

As an aspiring “standard-setter for international journalism” the BBC should be deconstructing Hamas propaganda in order to help audiences cut through the terrorist organisation’s rhetoric and understand the real issues at stake, but audiences have not seen that happen at any time during the last three weeks. This lackluster performance by Ian Pannell in which he failed to challenge even one of al Ghossein’s falsehoods on the one hand and facilitated the portrayal of a terrorist organization as some sort of troop of benevolent human rights campaigners on the other, shows yet again that in its reporting from the Gaza Strip, the BBC’s ‘standards’ are much more in line with those of the propaganda spouting Al Aqsa TV run by its Hamas hosts. 

4 comments on “BBC’s Ian Pannell does a convincing impression of Al Aqsa TV

  1. Your approach is so biased, so pro israeli that it makes me sick. Of course , 1100 palestinian civil casualties and the complete detruction of what is the greatest concentration camp of all times is the proper and legitimate self defense action from a people so keen to forget it was in the same situation 70 years ago. A just retaliation for what… 4, 5 civilian casualties … By the way, will you propaganda activist have the guts to publish this comment. I did not see any… You said “high standards journslim”…what a pity

  2. Clearly, you are struggling through your pathetic existence with a brain barely the size of a split lentil. 1100 Palestinian CIVILIAN casualties, you claim!! – even ignoring the issue of unconfirmed casualty figures, what you are clearly claiming is that NONE OF THE DEAD in Gaza were actually Hamas fighters! Don’t you DARE accuse other people of what you falsely claim to be ‘propaganda’, and then spout such complete and obvious bullsh*t yourself. Better to stay silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
    As for your ‘concentration camp’ claim, if Gazans don’t need to be prevented from inflicting their murderous tendencies on their neighbours, then why do you imagine Egypt has found it necessary to close its borders to its ‘muslim brothers’ in Gaza as well? How blind can you actually be? And while we’re at it, the current conflict was not started by Israel at all, and was certainly not about 3 boys being murdered. The IDF finally took action as a result of the increasing hail of missiles emanating from Gaza, which became more and more frequent during the timeperiod they were looking for those boys, but had been steadily increasing even preceding that. 400+ missiles flew out of Gaza into Israel’s civilian communities between the start of this year and the point at which the 3 kids were snatched. That in and of itself serves to illustrate why BOTH Gaza’s neighbours have found it necessary to prevent Gazans moving freely amongst them. Tough luck for Hamas that the Israelis now have Iron Dome, and it’s harder to kill them with missiles: it doesn’t alter the fact that Hamas is consistently deliberately aiming at Israeli civilians, and it’s only Israel’s careful preparation and planning that prevents carnage. Israel has an obligation to its citizens to do what it can to stop Hamas’s attacks. If civilians are now getting killed in Gaza as a result, that’s ENTIRELY down to Hamas’s actions, and the way they DELIBERATELY operate out of civilian areas and buildings, ensuring civilians are all around them as they carry out their terrorism. If Hamas want to stop Gazan civilians being killed, all they have to do is simply stop firing their own missiles into Israeli towns and cities – but they won’t stop, because they couldn’t care less – in fact the worse they can engineer any situation in Gaza to look before they drag the world’s cameramen in to film it, the more morally and mentally challenged idiots like you fall for their crap.

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