A postscript to BBC Business’ recent reports from the Gaza Strip

As readers are aware, Roger Hearing and Marie Keyworth from the BBC’s business department recently produced a series of reports (see related articles below) for BBC World Service radio which purported to inform BBC audiences worldwide about the state of the economy in both the Palestinian Authority controlled areas of Judea & Samaria and the supposedly PA controlled – but in fact Hamas-run – Gaza Strip.Business Daily 19 5 Keyworth

Though high on pathos and politically motivated messaging, the duo’s reports from the Gaza Strip notably made no mention whatsoever of one particular factor which has recently led to rising prices.

As the New York Times reported:

“Most recently, Hamas quietly initiated new import fees in an effort to cover the salaries of about 40,000 employees who have not been paid for months, raising prices in already-depressed markets. A kilogram of meat, a little over two pounds, increased by 50 cents, black pepper by $1.50 a kilogram and shampoo by 25 cents.”

Avi Issacharoff adds:

“The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip has instituted new taxes that will be used to pay the salaries of its administration officials, who number approximately 40,000.

Hamas, which declared the taxes under the heading “social solidarity,” decided to begin collecting them following a meeting of its parliament members who live in Gaza.

The new taxes, which include a 25 percent tariff on new cars, have led to higher prices, such as a 20% increase in the price of beef. […]

The new taxes are also constantly changing. One tax that was instituted recently requires companies registered with the Economic Affairs Ministry in Gaza to pay approximately NIS 500 to have a Hamas representative participate in a company conference. Hamas charges another few hundred shekels to have the conference registered, and if it is postponed, the postponement is taxed as well.

The most problematic taxes are levied on all goods that enter the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom border crossing. Even cartons of cigarettes that are brought in from the West Bank are taxed. This means that the average resident of Gaza pays more for cigarettes than his counterpart in the West Bank does, even though the standard of living in the West Bank is higher.

Another example is meat: Since importers must pay NIS 50 in taxes for every calf that enters Gaza, the price of beef has gone up. Hamas’s import tax on sheep is “only” NIS 25 per head.”Business Matters 19 5 Hearing intro

As readers may recall, salaries for those 40,000 Hamas employees have been an issue ever since the announcement of the Hamas-Fatah ‘unity government’ a year ago. As the Times of Israel explained at the time:

“The PA has been paying monthly salaries to nearly 70,000 public servants in Gaza despite the fact that the workers had not been allowed to serve in their positions since Hamas took over the Strip by force in 2007.

On its part, Hamas has employed 40,000 of its own civil servants to work in the PA employees’ stead.”

The Palestinian Authority refused to pay Hamas’ 40,000 employees and payment of those salaries appeared among the demands laid down by Hamas as conditions for halting the conflict with Israel which it initiated last July.

Back in July 2014 the BBC’s Yolande Knell produced a dumbed down report on the economy in the Gaza Strip which misrepresented the story of those 40,000 Hamas employees and now BBC Business reporters have ignored the issue of the price rises caused by taxes intended to pay their salaries. Once again we see that factors affecting the Palestinian economy which are the result of Palestinian decisions interest the BBC considerably less than any Israeli actions. 

Related Articles:

BBC Business accuracy fail on Gaza tomato exports

Mainstreaming anti-Israel rhetoric on the BBC World Service

BBC WS’s ‘Business Matters’ misrepresents the status of Area C in report on PA economy

BBC World Service’s Hearing reveals the political foundations of a ‘business’ report

Multiple breaches of BBC editorial guidelines in BBC WS’s ‘Business Matters’ report from Bethlehem

3 comments on “A postscript to BBC Business’ recent reports from the Gaza Strip

  1. Meanwhile, yesterday’s London Evening Standard newspaper ran a story that the BBC has sold its “Media Village” building complex in west London to a property developer to build apartments in a bid to generate £33 million in savings.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/bbc-sells-media-village-complex-in-bid-to-find-33m-savings-10299085.html

    The “Media Village” complex is just along the road from BBC “TV Centre”, which the BBC recently sold for £200 million to the same developer. Duvidl suggests these savings are tiny compared to the £3.2bn the BBC extracts annually from BBC licence fee TV taxpayers, each paying £145.50 per annum to have a TV set, on pain of imprisonment.

    BBC Watch readers will also remember that TV Centre was where BBC child rapist and DJ the late Sir Jimmy Savile parked his paedo-caravan in the parking lot. There he raped and assaulted some of his more than 400 child victims including child guests from his “Jim’ll Fix It” BBC children’s TV show. He died in 2011 after 52 years at the BBC without being indicted. He also sexually penetrated corpses at a morgue where he was a voluntary hospital porter. No BBC big-wigs past or present have, so far, been indicted for cover-up or other offences relating to the late Sir Jimmy and his paedo-caravan-club crimes.

  2. These information gaps are deliberate. It isn’t that these reporters don’t know what’s going on, they don’t have the courage to criticize Hamas. They’re scared both of Hamas itself but also of losing kudos with their fellow Israel-bashing types, journos, NGOs etc, who flock to Israel, the WB and Gaza. It’s just not cool to have a good word for Israel.

Comments are closed.