Two months ago the BBC News website used the story of conjoined twins born in the Gaza Strip and needing medical treatment abroad to amplify misleading, and politically partisan messaging on the topic of Israel’s counter-terrorism measures.
Promoting links to the website of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – UN OCHA – despite the less than neutral and impartial stance taken by that body – the report told BBC audiences that:
“Israel and Egypt have maintained a land and sea blockade on Gaza for a decade in an attempt to prevent attacks by militants based there.
The restrictions, repeated cycles of armed conflict, Palestinian political divisions and budget cuts have led to a serious deterioration in the availability and quality of health services in the territory, according to the UN.
Severe power shortages earlier this year forced hospitals to postpone elective surgeries, discharge patients prematurely, and reduce cleaning of medical facilities.”
As was noted here at the time:
“…the restrictions placed on the import of dual-use goods (i.e. items which can be used for terrorist purposes) to the Gaza Strip do not apply to medical supplies. The party responsible for medical services in the Gaza Strip is the Palestinian Authority and it is that body which has in recent months exacerbated the chronic crisis affecting the healthcare system in Gaza by severely cutting medical aid and referrals for treatment in Israel. Likewise, it is the Palestinian Authority which is solely responsible for those “severe power shortages” in the Gaza Strip that have affected medical services as well as additional fields.”
Readers were also told at the time that:
“The Israeli military body responsible for co-ordinating access to and from Gaza, Cogat, said it had not received any request for the twins to exit the territory.”
Three days after the BBC published that article it was reported that a hospital in Saudi Arabia had said it would treat the twin girls. A travel request was apparently submitted and last week COGAT reported that, with help from Israel, the twins and their father had embarked on the journey to Saudi Arabia.
If the BBC was interested in this story per se (and not just as a hook for inaccurate and misleading messaging concerning Israeli counter-terrorism measures) we would of course have expected to see a follow-up article.
No such BBC reporting has been seen to date.