BBC reporting on Palestinian domestic topics in general and human rights issues in particular (in both the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority controlled areas) is notoriously sparse.
Extrajudicial executions carried out by Hamas in November 2012 got the grand total of 29 words of coverage from the BBC’s Middle East editor. In June 2013 and in May 2014 the corporation failed to report extrajudicial executions in the Gaza Strip. In the summer of 2014 it only reported executions which Hamas at the time wanted publicised. In May 2015, in two separate reports, the BBC’s Kevin Connolly found it appropriate to ‘contextualise’ an Amnesty International report on Hamas human rights abuses during 2014 by dragging Israel into the picture.
It therefore comes as no surprise to see that the BBC has ignored this story.
“A court in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Wednesday sentenced four Palestinians to death on charges of spying for Israel, a statement and court sources said.
The court said in a brief statement that a 23-year-old man from the Zeitoun area south of Gaza City had been sentenced to death on espionage charges. It did not provide his name.
Three other men who “fled from justice” were also found guilty in absentia, it said.
A court source told AFP the four were convicted on “charges of spying for the occupation”, including “surveillance” and providing information about cars and homes to help Israel plan alleged assassinations.”
As Khaled Abu Toameh has pointed out in the past:
“Under Palestinian Authority law, all death sentences must be approved by the president of the PA. But in 2005, PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued a moratorium on death sentences – a prohibition that did not stop Hamas from pursuing executions under the pretext that the PA president was no longer a legitimate leader since his term had expired in 2009.”
Another recent story ignored by the BBC relates to Hamas abuse of Gaza based journalists.
“Palestinian journalist Ayman al-Aloul frequently writes about the hardships of life in the Gaza Strip, and is one of the few voices willing to publicly criticize the rule of the Islamic Hamas movement.
But after nine days in jail, al-Aloul says he won’t be writing about politics anymore. He said a painful experience that included beatings and being forced to sit uncomfortably in a tiny chair has made him a “new man” and that he will now focus on less controversial topics like sports, food, literature and fashion.
“I’ve decided not to talk about the general situation anymore,” al-Aloul said in an interview at his home Tuesday, a day after he was released. “The experience I went through was very difficult.””
Readers may recall that in December 2015 the BBC World Service passed up on an opportunity to inform audiences about Hamas media censorship.