On July 3rd the BBC News website published an article on its Middle East page titled “Turkey sends Gaza aid after six-year rift with Israel ends” in which readers were told that:
“A Turkish ship carrying 11,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid for Gaza has arrived in the Israeli port of Ashdod. […]
The Lady Leyla ship was carrying food, clothing and toys intended to arrive in Gaza in time for Eid celebrations marking the end of Ramadan.
It has been unloaded at Ashdod and the aid donations will be transported overland through Israel to Gaza.”
Readers were not however given any information which would allow them to put those 11,000 tonnes of goods into context because the article refrained from informing them how much aid is transported into the Gaza Strip on a regular basis.
In the week preceding the arrival of the Turkish ship, 107,531 tons of goods entered the Gaza Strip: in other words, nearly double the amount of goods carried by the Turkish ship on every working day. On the day that the Turkish ship docked, 18,531 tons of goods entered the Gaza Strip in 602 trucks.
The article purportedly provides readers with background information concerning the core topic of the restrictions imposed by the countries neighbouring the Gaza Strip.
“Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2006 after the Palestinian group Hamas, which runs the territory, abducted an Israeli soldier. The measures were tightened by Israel and Egypt in 2007 after Hamas ousted its rival Fatah and forcibly took control in Gaza after winning elections the year before.”
Remarkably, that portrayal completely erases Hamas terrorism – including the thousands of missiles fired at civilian communities – from the picture provided to BBC audiences. As it has unfortunately been necessary to note here on numerous occasions in the past, the actual sequence of events is as follows:
“The violent Hamas take-over of Gaza took place between June 5th and 15th 2007 and the Palestinian Authority – the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people – was forcefully ejected from power. Following that event, both Egypt and Israel largely closed their borders with the Gaza Strip due to the fact that the body charged with joint security arrangements under the terms of the Oslo Accords – the Palestinian Authority – no longer exercised any control over the territory.
Three months later – on September 19th 2007 – in light of the escalation of terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli civilians originating in the now Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip – the Israeli government declared Gaza to be ‘hostile territory’.”
Since June 2010 restrictions on the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip have only related to arms, munitions and dual-use items which can be used for the purpose of terrorism. Having failed to inform readers about the Hamas terrorism which brought about and sustains the restrictions, the article closes with an “Israel says” tick of the impartiality box and the amplification of a dog whistle quote.
“Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas receiving materials that could be used for military purposes, but the UN has long been critical of it.
Last week Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it “collective punishment for which there must be accountability”.”
Reporting on the topic of restrictions on passage and the movement of specific types of goods through Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip and the naval blockade introduced in 2009 cannot possibly be considered accurate and impartial if it fails to inform audiences of the reason for those measures: Islamist terrorism against Israeli civilians.
Not only does this article fail to include any mention of that topic (or the fact that Hamas is an internationally designated terrorist organisation) but a click on the link to the only item of suggested related reading (out of 17 links in total) which seems likely to perhaps provide relevant background information – “Guide: Eased Gaza Blockade” – is dead.
Obviously BBC News was not sufficiently committed to telling this story in an accurate and impartial manner.