The Times of Israel and others reported on an incident in the Gaza Strip on March 13th:
“Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survived an apparent assassination attempt when a bomb went off next to his convoy as he visited the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, wounding several people, officials and Palestinian media reported.
The PA said Hamdallah and PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who was accompanying him, were unhurt. However, media reports said several bystanders were injured. Their condition was not immediately clear.”
The ToI report also notes that:
“Palestinian officials contacted Israel’s military liaison in order to coordinate Hamdallah’s exit from the Gaza Strip following the assassination attempt, The Times of Israel learned.
During the conversation, Israel offered to provide medical treatment to those injured in the attack and some of the wounded were being treated by doctors at the Israeli side of the Erez crossing.”
Although known to at least one BBC journalist, that information did not appear in the BBC News website’s account of the story – “Gaza blast targets Palestinian PM Hamdallah’s convoy“.
In contrast, that report does include the following:
“Hamas condemned what it called an “ugly crime” and said it had launched an investigation.
Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it believed the attack was carried out by the same people who last year assassinated Mazen Fuqaha, a commander of Hamas’ military wing, and attempted to assassinate Maj Gen Tawfiq Abu Naim, the head of Gaza’s internal security forces.”
Readers may well have had difficulty understanding that somewhat cryptic portrayal of Barhoum’s press release due to the fact that the BBC did not produce any English language reporting on either the assassination of Fuqaha or the attempted assassination of Abu Naim when those incidents took place.
Seeing as Hamas executed the people it claimed had assassinated Fuqaha in May 2017, Barhoum’s quoted claim that “the same people” were responsible for the October 2017 attack on Abu Naim and this attack on Hamdallah obviously lacks logic. So what did Fawzi Barhoum actually mean?
According to the New York Times, Barhoum was in fact using Hamas’ default ‘explanation’ for just about everything that happens in the Gaza Strip.
“The Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said, however, that Hamas had no role in the attack. He called the blast an attempt to “tamper with the security of the Gaza Strip” and to “strike any efforts to achieve unity and reconciliation,” and demanded an investigation.
Mr. Barhoum instead sought to blame Israel: He suggested those responsible were “the same hands” who had gunned down Mazen Fakha, a Hamas official responsible for a number of terrorist attacks, in March 2017, and tried to kill Tawfiq Abu Naim, the head of Hamas’s security forces in Gaza, in October.
Hamas has accused Israel of being behind the attacks on both men, who were freed from Israeli prisons in 2011 in a controversial prisoner swap for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.”
Later on in the day Hamas put out a statement claiming that the PA agreed with that version of events. However, as Khaled Abu Toameh reports:
“[Ismail] Haniyeh phoned Hamdallah after the explosion and the two agreed to “blame Israel and its collaborators” for being behind the explosion, according to a statement issued by the Hamas leader’s office.
But Yusef al Mahmoud, spokesperson for the PA government, later denied that Hamdallah had received any phone call from Haniyeh.”
The BBC’s public purpose remit obliges it to “provide accurate and impartial news […] of the highest editorial standards so that all audiences can engage fully with issues across the UK and the world”. Does the corporation really consider that the uncritical repetition of unproven knee-jerk accusations from a terror organisation contributes to meeting that obligation?