As has been documented here over the past few months, the BBC has failed to produce any serious reporting on the topic of the arson attacks using kites and balloons which Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been staging daily since April 11th.
However, no crystal ball was necessary in order to predict that after three months of largely ignoring that story, the BBC’s interest in it would suddenly perk up when Israel took action.
On July 10th the BBC News website published a report titled “Israel closes main Gaza goods crossing in response to arson attacks” on its Middle East page. The reason for Israel’s action was presented to readers in the report’s fifth paragraph as follows:
“Israel has shut the main cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip in retaliation for arson attacks by Palestinians and attempts to infiltrate its territory.
Only “humanitarian equipment”, including food and medicine, will now be allowed through Kerem Shalom.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to use a “heavy hand” against the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which dominates Gaza.
A Hamas spokesman called the Israeli move “a new crime against humanity”.
Palestinians have been launching kites and balloons carrying containers of burning fuel and explosive devices over the Gaza-Israel border since April.”
Readers next saw an image captioned “Gazans have been flying incendiary balloons and kites over the border with Israel” and were told that: [emphasis added]
“The devices have sparked 750 fires in southern Israel, burning more than 2,600 hectares (6,400 acres) of forest and farmland and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage, Israeli officials say.”
Curiously, three weeks earlier on June 20th, the BBC had reported that:
“Israeli officials say the crude devices have sparked more than 450 fires in recent weeks, burning 2,800 hectares of land and causing $2m (£1.5m) of damage.”
With the arson attacks having continued relentlessly since that June 20th report was published, it is of course impossible that three weeks later, a smaller area of land had been burned and the monetary value of the damage reduced from $2 million to “hundreds of thousands”. Local press reports cited a figure of some 7,000 acres destroyed.
Readers found the BBC’s now standard anodyne portrayal of the ‘Great Return March’ publicity stunt which continues to conceal from audiences the fact that the casualty figures quoted actually come from Hamas – which organised, facilitated and financed the agitprop – and that over 80% of those killed have been shown to have links to various terror factions.
“The arson attacks began during mass demonstrations along the border, at which thousands of Palestinians have expressed their support for the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel and also demanded an end to the blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt.
Israel and Egypt say the blockade is a necessary security measure against militants.
Gaza health officials say more than 130 Palestinians have been killed and 15,000 others injured by Israeli forces during the protests.
Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of using excessive force. Israel has said they have only opened fire in self-defence or on people trying to infiltrate its territory under the cover of the protests.”
Readers were told for the second time that in response to Israel’s announcement concerning the Kerem Shalom crossing:
“Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, called on the international community to intervene immediately to prevent what it called a “new crime against humanity”.”
The BBC’s report did not inform readers of the reaction from the Iranian funded Palestinian Islamic Jihad and of course no mention was made of the fact that the terror organisation now claiming a “crime against humanity” directed three separate attacks (all but ignored by the BBC) on that same crossing just two months ago.
The BBC then found it appropriate to amplify the messaging of a foreign funded political NGO.
“The Israeli non-governmental organisation Gisha, which promotes freedom of movement for Palestinians, also condemned the Israeli decision.
“The damage being caused to agricultural lands in Israel is grave and deplorable, but collectively punishing nearly two million people in Gaza by closing its only official crossing for the movement of goods is both illegal and morally depraved,” it wrote on Twitter.”
However, while the BBC News website apparently did consider statements from a terror organisation (twice) and a political NGO to be crucial to audience understanding of this story, the point of view of the residents of the area that has been under daily attack for three months was obviously once again deemed superfluous.