On April 13th the BBC News website published a report about the third consecutive Friday of rioting along the Israel-Gaza Strip border. Titled “Fierce clashes continue at Gaza-Israel border fence“, the article was promoted on the website’s main homepage and ‘World’ page as well as on its ‘Middle East’ page and it included the same themes – and omissions – seen in previous BBC reporting (see ‘related articles’ below) on the same story.
Although readers once again saw use of the term ‘ancestral land’, the report made no effort was made to clarify that the vast majority of the people described as refugees are in fact descendants of refugees or that the aim of the Palestinian demand for ‘right of return’ is in fact to eradicate the Jewish state: a goal that it is incompatible with the internationally accepted ‘two-state solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Protesters want refugees to be allowed to return to ancestral land now in Israel. […]
Organisers call the rolling protests the Great March of Return.
They will culminate on 15 May, the 70th annual commemoration of what Palestinians call the Nakba, or Catastrophe, of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of their people in the war which followed Israel’s creation in 1948.”
Yet again BBC audiences saw unquestioning repetition of casualty figures provided by the “Palestinian health ministry” – but without clarification that the ministry concerned is controlled by the terror group Hamas – which is one of the organisers of the ‘Great Return March’ publicity stunt.
“Fierce clashes have erupted again on the Gaza-Israel border, with Palestinian officials reporting hundreds of people injured. […]
Another man died this Friday, the Palestinian health ministry says.”
BBC audiences were not informed that the majority of those killed (mostly males between the ages of 19 and 45) have been identified as being linked to terror groups such as Hamas, the PIJ and the DFLP.
Once again the BBC refrained from telling its audiences in its own words exactly what the ‘protesters’ were doing.
“Islam Herzallah, 28, reportedly died in hospital after he was shot by Israeli troops east of Gaza City.
Israel’s army estimated there were 10,000 people “rioting” on Friday, with some attempting to breach the fence with firebombs and explosive devices.”
In contrast the New York Times, for example, was able to give its readers a more informative account:
“At the Shejaiya protest site east of Gaza City, where Mr. Herzallah was shot, demonstrators again used thick smoke from burning tires as cover, successfully dismantling an Israeli barrier of coiled barbed wire before retreating when Israeli soldiers shot at them.”
Additional information absent from the BBC’s account of events was reported by Ynet, among others:
“The military said that demonstrators hurled an explosive device and several fire bombs near the fence in what it said was an apparent attempt to damage it. One such explosive device planted in the vicinity of the Karni crossing ended up injuring several demonstrators by mistake after detonating prematurely. […]
The protests included a new method aimed at harming Israel beyond the fence in the form of kites being set alight and flown over the fence onto Israeli territory. A video demonstrating this method was published on Wednesday in a bid to encourage the residents to fly the burning kites into Israel.”
The BBC’s report inaccurately claimed that the weekly agitprop is dubbed ‘Flag Friday’:
“More than 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire since the start of “Flag Friday” demonstrations two weeks ago.”
In fact – as the NYT noted – that name was specifically given to the April 13th episode.
“The theme of the day for the protests was “Flag Friday” — burning the Israeli blue and white, and raising giant standards with the Palestinian red, white, green and black. Gaza printers had been busy all week with an unusual assignment: preparing thousands of Israeli flags to ignite.
Less than a week before Israel will celebrate its Independence Day, Palestinian children held posters showing Israel’s flag crossed out in red, with a slogan calling for the country’s demise.
Protesters arriving at one encampment, in Khan Younis, trod on or rode motorcycles and even a camel over an elongated Israeli flag, with its Star of David, before heading toward the fence.
As on the previous two Fridays, the protests showed something of a split personality, with some participants vowing to be peaceful as others a few feet away prepared gasoline bombs to hurl at the Israeli side.”
As we see, the BBC continues to avoid providing its audiences with the background which would facilitate their understanding of why Israel (and the pro two-state solution international community) ‘rejects’ the Palestinian demand for ‘right of return’ that is the professed rationale for these weekly publicity stunts. In light of that continued failure, one can only conclude that the BBC’s intention is not to meet its remit as a supplier of “impartial news and information” but to provide amplification for that anti-Israel political campaign.