As regular readers know, the BBC’s English language services did not report any of the fourteen separate incidents of missile attacks by terrorist groups located either in the Gaza Strip or the Sinai Peninsula that took place between January and November 2017. Multiple mortar attacks on an IDF position that were launched from the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad on November 30th were mentioned in a BBC report on another topic.
On December 7th three missiles were launched from the Gaza Strip.
“Two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip fell inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and did not reach Israeli territory, but set off rocket sirens in the Hof Ashkelon and Sha’ar HaNegev regional councils, as well as the city of Sdreot.
A Jihadist Salafi group in Gaza called the Al-Tawheed Brigades […] claimed responsibility for the first two launches. […]
A third rocket, of unconfirmed origins, was fired toward Israel and landed in Israeli territory in an open area, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed. Since the rocket did not approach an urban center it did not set off rocket sirens in the Negev communities near the Gaza Strip.”
Israel later responded to those attacks – which were not reported by the BBC.
On the evening of December 8th three more attacks took place. One projectile was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system, one – initially thought to have fallen short – was later located in the Sdot Negev district and one hit the town of Sderot.
“”There was an immense explosion. I heard glass shattering and then car alarms. The walls of my house shook. I didn’t dare leave the shelter. Now the entire street’s closed off and police and bomb squad technicians are everywhere. Ambulances are parked in front of my house and paramedics are looking for anyone who might have been hurt,” said a local Sderot woman.”
The following day an additional rocket was discovered in the yard of a kindergarten in Sderot which was fortunately empty at the time.
On the morning of December 9th the BBC News website ran an article titled “Israel strikes Gaza Hamas sites after rocket attacks” on its main home page, its ‘World’ page and its ‘Middle East page’. The article once again opened with inaccurate paraphrasing of statements from Israeli officials. [emphasis added]
“Israel says it has targeted sites in Gaza belonging to militant group Hamas in retaliation for rocket strikes.
Israel’s military said it hit weapons sites early on Saturday. Two people were killed, a Gaza hospital said, bringing the deaths in Israeli strikes and gunfire over the past day to four.
Three rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza late on Friday.
Israeli-Palestinian tensions have risen since President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
The report did not clarify that the two people killed were Hamas operatives and readers saw no reporting from the town of Sderot other than the statement “[n]o casualties were reported” that appeared later in the article.
The rest of the report related to additional incidents of Palestinian violence and demonstrations further afield, with now standard BBC messaging on “settlements” in Jerusalem and “international law” promoted towards its end. Readers also found a recycled euphemistic statement according to which:
“The last round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014”
Visitors to the BBC Arabic website also found a report on the Israeli response to Friday’s missile attacks.
Given that the BBC’s English language services elected to completely ignore numerous separate incidents of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip earlier in the year, the question that inevitably arises is why the attacks on December 8th were treated differently.
It is of course difficult to avoid the conclusion that the novel display of BBC interest in this particular round of attacks from Gaza is linked to the fact that it can be framed as being connected to – or indeed ‘fallout’ from – the US president’s announcement concerning Jerusalem. The fact that the BBC refrained from informing its English-speaking audiences of all previous attacks this year obviously reinforces that erroneous narrative.
(The table relates only to missiles that landed in Israeli territory and does not include shortfalls, interceptions or failed attacks)