On June 27th the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an article titled “Israel and Turkey end rift over Gaza flotilla killings” which has since undergone extensive amendment.
Among the report’s notable features are:
“Israel and Turkey have normalised relations, ending a six-year rift over the killing by Israeli troops of 10 Turkish activists on a Gaza-bound ship.”
“Ten pro-Palestinian Turkish activists, one of them a dual American citizen, were killed and dozens wounded as clashes broke out after the commandos boarded the ship, descending on ropes from helicopters.” [emphasis added]
“The two sides had blamed each other for the violence. The activists said the commandos started shooting as soon as they hit the deck. Israel said the commandos opened fire only after being attacked with clubs, knives and a gun which was taken from them.”
3) The vague statement that the ship was “Turkish-owned” – without any mention of the specific organisation which purchased it (together with one other ship in the flotilla) and the fact that it – the IHH – was one of the publicity stunt’s main planners. Oddly, the IHH is not named even once throughout the whole report and readers therefore remain unaware of its relevant ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
“The Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara was part of a flotilla attempting to breach the blockade when it was intercepted by Israeli commandos on 31 May 2010.”
4) A rare realistic portrayal of the aim of the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip is followed by the amplification of a propaganda slur.
“Israel maintains its blockade of Gaza to try to prevent weapons or materials reaching Palestinian militants, with whom it fought a devastating war in 2014, while allowing humanitarian aid into the territory.
Palestinians say the policy is tantamount to collective punishment, and UN and aid officials have warned of deteriorating conditions in Gaza.”
5) The amplification of the Turkish PM’s inaccurate claim concerning the ‘lifting’ of the blockade.
“”The total embargo imposed on Palestine and on the Gaza region in particular, is to being lifted to a great extent through Turkey’s leadership,” Mr Yildirim asserted.”
6) The failure to note the IHH’s opposition to the agreement and its pledge to continue legal action.
“…Turkey agreed to pass legislation protecting Israeli troops from legal claims over the Mavi Marmara incident…”
One aspect of this report, however, must have been particularly confusing for readers who regularly get their news from the BBC. In the insert of ‘analysis’ from Jonathan Marcus, readers were told that under the terms of the deal:
“Israel sees an end to its practical difficulties with Turkey and gets assurances about future Hamas activity on Turkish soil.”
In the body of the report they were informed that:
“In return, Turkey agreed to […] prevent any military action or fundraising by Hamas operatives based there.”
However, BBC audiences have no idea that there are any Hamas operatives based in Turkey because (as has been documented here on numerous occasions) for the last two years the corporation has diligently avoided telling them that operations – including Hamas’ efforts to strengthen its infrastructure and standing in Palestinian Authority controlled areas – were being run from that NATO member country.
The serial omission of information on that topic obviously now compromises the ability of audiences to understand the background to the references to Hamas made in this article and that impacts their understanding of this particular “international issue“.