Some three hours after Hizballah had attacked an army base and a military vehicle with guided anti-tank missiles near Avivim on Israel’s northern border on September 1st the BBC News website published a report headlined “Hezbollah fires rockets into Israel from Lebanon”. The report opened with a description of Hizballah which avoids any mention of the fact that it is a terrorist organisation.
“The Lebanese Shia Muslim militant group Hezbollah has fired several anti-tank rockets into northern Israel in retaliation for a reported Israeli drone attack in Beirut last week.
Israeli military sources confirmed rockets had been fired at an Israeli army base and military vehicles.
The Israeli army responded by attacking targets in southern Lebanon.
Hezbollah sources reported several Israeli casualties, but Israel said no-one had been injured on its side.”
The report went on to tell readers that:
“The Lebanese military earlier said an Israeli drone had entered its airspace and dropped incendiary material on a forest along the border.
The Israeli army has acknowledged it started a fire. Tensions on the frontier escalated in recent days.”
The background to those opaque statements is as follows:
“The Israeli military fired artillery shells into a disputed portion of land on the Lebanese border on Sunday, amid soaring tensions along the frontier, a Hezbollah-affiliated news outlet reported.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed conducting “activities” in northern Israel, which sparked a fire near the border, but refused to comment on the nature of those actions.”
Significantly, readers of this report were told nothing of the fact that according to UN SC resolution 1701, Hizballah should have been disarmed years ago and should not be operating south of the Litani River. Neither was any information given concerning the failure of UNIFIL ‘peacekeepers’ and the Lebanese Armed Forces to stop this latest attack by the terror group.
Readers were told that:
“The Hezbollah attack and Israel’s response represent the most serious border incident between the two parties in recent years.”
Depending on how one defines “recent” one could of course argue that the 2015 Hizballah attack in which two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven injured was significantly more serious.
“In 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long conflict that killed more than 1,000 civilians, most of them Lebanese.”
Following a complaint from BBC Watch in February of this year the BBC News website amended three reports promoting a similar statement in order to clarify that the unverified claim that most of the Lebanese casualties were civilians came from the Lebanese government.
As those three reports stated, 43 Israeli civilians were killed during that conflict which means that the BBC is now claiming that at least 957 Lebanese civilians also died.
Estimates of the total number of Lebanese casualties during that 2006 war range from 1,035 to 1,200. As has been pointed out here on several previous occasions, while the Lebanese authorities did not differentiate between civilians and combatants, Lebanese officials did report even before the conflict was over that some 500 of the dead were Hizballah personnel and UN officials gave similar figures while Israeli estimates stand at around 600 (of whom 450 were identified with certainty: see page 55 here). In August 2006 the BBC News website acknowledged that “there are no reliable figures” for the number of Hizballah combatants killed in the war that had just ended at the time.
In other words, despite having acknowledged seven months ago that the civilian casualty figures it quoted were based on statements made by a government held hostage by the Iranian terrorist proxy Hizballah, the BBC News website has resumed the practice of promoting inflated Lebanese civilian casualty figures that it has not independently verified.