About an hour and a half after terrorists in the Gaza Strip had begun a barrage of attacks on civilian targets in Israel on the afternoon of November 12th the BBC News website published an article titled “Israel-Gaza violence erupts after covert op killings“.
The report has since been amended numerous times but its headline has not been changed and its opening paragraph remains basically the same:
Version 1: “Violence has flared between Israel and Gaza, a day after seven militants and an Israeli soldier were killed amid an undercover Israeli operation in Gaza.”
Version 13: “Violence has flared between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, a day after seven militants and an Israeli soldier were killed during an undercover Israeli operation in Gaza.”
The “militants” – actually all members of armed terror groups – were not killed “during an undercover Israeli operation” but after that mission had been exposed. Hence the suggestion to audiences that “killings” took place during a “covert op” is inaccurate and misleading.
By the time the first version of this article was published between 80 and 100 rockets and mortars had been fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian communities. The BBC described that publicly known information as follows:
“Scores of rockets were launched at Israel…”
In version 13 of the report – published on the morning of November 13th – readers were told that:
“Militants fired 300 rockets and mortars at Israel. One hit a bus, seriously injuring a soldier nearby.”
By the time that version saw light the official figure was 370 missiles. Since the previous evening it had been known that the attack on the bus, which opened the barrage of attacks, was not carried out using a rocket or a mortar: Hamas had already put out a statement announcing that the attack was carried out using a Kornet guided anti-tank missile.
Readers then saw a qualified representation of the Israeli response to the hundreds of attacks:
“Israel responded with more than 70 strikes on what it said were targets belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.” [emphasis added]
The report went on:
“Three Palestinians, two of them reportedly militants, were killed.” [emphasis added]
Twelve hours before this version of the report was published it was already known that:
“At least three Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the retaliatory attacks and three others were wounded, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said. The Gaza health ministry identified the dead as Muhammed al-Tatri, 27, Muhammed Oudeh, 22, and Hamad al-Nahal, 23. The military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group claimed two of the dead as its members.”
Readers had to go right down to the article’s 33rd paragraph to discover that the BBC was in fact aware of that information and so the use of the word “reportedly” was entirely superfluous.
The article went on:
“Meanwhile, Israeli medics said 10 people in Israel were injured.
Israeli media later reported that a man was killed after a house was hit by a rocket in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.”
Hours before this version of the report appeared the Israeli ambulance service had already announced that it had treated 53 injured people and further injuries and one fatality were sustained in a further attack on Ashkelon several hours before the BBC published this article.
The BBC’s report continued with a section titled “What happened on Sunday?” in which readers were once again given an account of the incident near Absan al Kabira, east of Khan Younis, that is mostly sourced from the terror group Hamas.
That was followed by a section titled “Why did Israel kill the commander?” and another titled “What has happened since Sunday’s operation?” in which the BBC refrained from telling readers in its own words of the previous barrage of rocket attacks.
“The Israeli military said that immediately after the clashes, 17 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, three of which were shot down.” [emphasis added]
The article went on to inaccurately claim that the November 12th attacks had taken place throughout the day, rather than from 16:30 onward.
“Throughout Monday, some 300 rockets and mortars were launched towards Israel, dozens of which were intercepted while many landed in open spaces, according to the Israeli military.” [emphasis added]
Remarkably, BBC audiences saw no reporting on the numerous direct missile hits on homes and businesses in places such as Sderot, Ashkelon and Netivot and no comment from any of the people affected by the unprecedented barrage of attacks. No images of the damage sustained to the homes of Israeli civilians appeared in this report.
The report ended with a section titled “Why are Israel and Hamas enemies?” that was recycled from a previous report and in which BBC audiences once again saw the violent rioting, terror attacks and infiltrations which have been taking place along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip for more than seven months whitewashed as “protests”.