On May 27th the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an article titled “Gaza: Hamas killed and tortured, says Amnesty” which opens as follows:
“Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip committed serious human rights abuses including abductions, torture and extra-judicial killings of Palestinian civilians in 2014, a report says.
Most of the victims were accused of collaborating with Israel, Amnesty International investigators report.”
Later on in the report, readers are provided with ‘analysis’ from the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly which includes the following ‘explanation’ of Hamas’ actions:
Connolly also produced a filmed report on the same topic which, in addition to being broadcast on BBC television news programmes, appeared on the BBC News website under the title “Amnesty International: ‘Hamas killed and tortured Palestinians’“. Connolly opened that report with those same words:
“Hamas exercises undisputed authority within Gaza, and Amnesty’s powerful report depicts an organisation responding to the relentless pressure of Israeli military operations with a brutal campaign against its own enemies within.” [emphasis added]
In other words, Kevin Connolly would have BBC audiences believe that the terrorist organisation’s abduction, torture and execution of fellow Palestinians (during a conflict it initiated itself and refused for fifty days to bring to an end despite numerous opportunities to do so) only happened because of “relentless pressure” on the part of Israel.
Of course not only is there no factual evidence to support Connolly’s ridiculous claim, but even a partial look at Hamas’ record of extra-judicial killings shows that they have been carried out regardless of whether or not the terror organization happened to be simultaneously engaged in conflict with Israel.
“In 2009 Human Rights Watch produced a report which stated that thirty-two suspected collaborators had been killed between December 2008 and April 2009 and at least 49 people from the rival Fatah movement had been shot in the legs by masked gunmen.
In March 2010 Hamas announced that it would reinstate the death penalty in the Gaza Strip. As HRW pointed out at the time:
“Most of those facing the death penalty in Gaza are affiliated with the rival Fatah movement or are people whom Hamas military courts have convicted of collaborating with Israel.”
In November 2012 at least six summary executions took place with Hamas claiming responsibility in a note attached to an electricity pole. Those events got 29 words of coverage from the BBC at the time. In June 2013 the BBC failed to report on two executions and two more in May 2014 were likewise ignored.”
Kevin Connolly’s feeble attempt at ‘contextualisation’ of the actions of a lawless terrorist organization which seized – and holds – control of the Gaza Strip by means of violence and intimidation obviously says much about the ‘group think’ which enabled such a ridiculous claim to pass through the editorial process.
During last summer’s conflict, reports of extra-judicial killings like those included in this Amnesty International report appeared in the local media and yet – despite having numerous reporters on the ground at the time – the BBC (and most of the other foreign media) chose to ignore them and only covered the one instance in which Hamas itself was interested in publicity.
One cannot but wonder if, in light of this report, journalists from the BBC and other international news organisations still believe that their unwavering adherence to Hamas’ dictates to the foreign media throughout the 50 days of conflict can be justified.