How did BBC News report the latest Gaza missile attacks?

Visitors to the BBC News website’s main homepage, its ‘World’ page or its ‘Middle East’ page on the morning of June 20th were all informed that the people who had fired forty-five military grade projectiles at Israeli civilian communities in the space of some five hours during the previous night are ‘militants’ rather than terrorists.

In typical ‘last-first’ style, the headline to the BBC News website’s report on that story read “Israeli jets strike Gaza after rocket and mortar fire” and the euphemism ‘militants’ was seen again.

“Israeli jets have hit militant positions in Gaza after Palestinians fired rockets and mortars into Israeli territory, the Israeli military said.

The military said 25 targets linked to the militant Hamas movement were hit, in response to a barrage of about 45 rockets and mortar shells.”

Quoting “Gaza’s health ministry” without informing readers that it is run by the same terror organisation which co-organises, funds and facilitates the ‘Great Return March’ agitprop, the report went on:

“The strikes follow weeks of confrontation along the Gaza border.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and thousands more wounded since a protest campaign began on 30 March, Gaza’s health ministry says.”

Readers were not informed that over 80% of those killed during the violent riots have been shown to be linked to assorted terror groups or that Hamas itself admitted that the vast majority of those killed on May 14th belonged to its organisation.

The report went on to give a context-free portrayal of the Palestinian demand for ‘right of return’ with no effort made by the BBC to explain to readers what Hamas freely admits: that the aim of that demand is the eradication of the Jewish state.

“The demonstrations have seen thousands of Palestinians mass on the border in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.”

Despite the fact that the BBC is fully aware of the fact that attacks with petrol bombs, IEDs and guns have taken place in addition to attempts to damage the fence and infiltrate Israeli territory, it continues to avoid presenting such information in its own words.

“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.”

Although the June 20th attacks began at around 01:15 and continued until just before 6 a.m., the BBC claimed a more limited time-frame.

“Air raid sirens and phone warning systems sounded before dawn in Israel.

The military said Iron Dome missile defence system intercepted seven rockets fired by militants. Kites carrying containers of burning fuel were also sent into Israel, the military said.”

With the BBC having refrained from producing any serious reporting on the topic of the hundreds of deliberate arson attacks perpetrated over the last two months, it is unlikely that BBC audiences would be able to fill in the blanks left by the BBC’s tepid description of “kites….sent into Israel”.

The later part of the report purports to provide background information (including a map sourced from a partisan UN agency) but avoids informing readers of the highly relevant fact that the blockade on the Gaza Strip was implemented in response to Hamas terror attacks and not – as implied by the BBC – because Hamas “ousted” the Palestinian Authority.

“Gaza, an impoverished enclave of some two million residents, has long been blockaded by Israel and Egypt.

The blockade was tightened after Hamas, an Islamist group that won Palestinian elections in 2006, ousted its secular Fatah rivals from Gaza a year later.”

Two days before this report was published terror groups had launched rockets at the Ashkelon area. That attack went unreported by the BBC at the time and was not mentioned in this report.

Although Israeli civilians residing in the Western Negev region have been the target of eleven separate incidents of missile attack from the Gaza Strip since the beginning of this year, BBC audiences have not seen or heard even one interview with any of the thousands of the ordinary people affected by that terrorism. This report continued that editorial policy.

 

 

 

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BBC News finally mentions Gaza arson attacks – in just sixteen words

Readers of a BBC News website article titled “May raises concerns with Israel over Gaza violence” which appeared on the ‘UK Politics’ and ‘Middle East’ pages on June 6th (with the tag “Gaza border clashes”) were probably rather confused when they saw a reference to burning fields.

“Responding to her [Theresa May’s] comments, Mr Netanyahu said the problems in Gaza were “rooted in the fundamental goal of Hamas to destroy Israel”.

He added: “We are not witnessing a peaceful protest. In addition to burning our fields, these people are being paid for and pushed by Hamas to try to break into Israel’s defences, kill as many Israelis as they can when they get through the border and kidnap our soldiers.” [emphasis added]

Photo credit: KKL

We have previously noted here that BBC audiences have seen no coverage of the ‘Great Return March’ arson attacks that have destroyed thousands of acres of agricultural land, crops, nature reserves and woodland in southern Israel.

“Since the “March of Return” protests began along the Gaza border at the end of March, hundreds of kites and helium balloons have been flown into Israel outfitted with Molotov cocktails and containers of burning fuel, setting fire to large swaths of land, though no injuries have been reported.

Israeli officials have said fires have destroyed over 17,500 dunams (4,300 acres) of land, the majority of it in nature reserves and parks.

There have been at least 285 separate fire incidents in the KKL/JNF nature reserves since April 11, burning 3,000 dunams (740 acres) of conservation area in the Beeri and Kissufim forests, Ben David [of the JNF] said. According to the Nature and Parks Authority, a total of 10,000 dunams in parks and reserves in southern Israel have been torched, including the KKL/JNF parks. Fires also burned an additional 7,500 dunams (1,800 acres) of farmland, mostly cattle grazing areas but also parts of some fields. […]

Israel’s Tax Authority said the agricultural damage alone stood at NIS 5 million ($1.4 million) and that damage caused to nature reserves and other land could drive up the figure.”

On one occasion the BBC changed a photo caption, thereby turning an image depicting “a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz” into one telling BBC audiences that “Israeli soldiers patrolled along the Gaza border”.

However, sharp-eyed visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page on June 7th may have noticed that a photograph captioned “Flaming kites sent from Gaza during the protests have burnt 2,250 acres of land in Israel” was included in a report titled “Israel blames Iran for Gaza border violence“.

The original caption to that photograph clarified what type of “land in Israel” has been burned:

“Israeli firefighters try to extinguish a fire that ignited at a field as a result of a Molotov cocktail kite that was sent from Gaza Strip few kilometers from the border with Gaza near Kibbutz Or Haner, in southern Israel, 05 June 2018. Media reports that after a cease-fire was achieved between Israeli military and Palestinian militants in Gaza on 29 May 2018 Palestinians from Gaza continue to send Molotov kites to the Israeli territory and cause damage to thousands of acres of agriculture and nature reserves in Israel as Palestinians mark the ‘Naksa Day’ or the so-called Six-days war.”

The arson attacks have continued since the BBC published that photo caption on June 7th but as we see, after two months and hundreds of arson attacks causing damage to thousands of acres of crops, agricultural land, woodland and nature reserves – including wildlife – the BBC has managed to come up with the grand total of just sixteen words on that story.

Related Articles:

BBC News makes a story disappear by changing photo captions

BBC News yawns at ‘Great Return March’ arson incidents

BBC News website ignores most of renewed Gaza rocket fire

 

 

BBC News website ignores most of renewed Gaza rocket fire

On the evening of Saturday June 2nd two missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip.

“…on Saturday night, the army’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired at southern Israel by a terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, the military said.

A second rocket was also launched around the same time, but appeared to fall on the Palestinian side of the Gaza border, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The rocket launches appeared to be the first violation of a fragile ceasefire in effect since Wednesday morning, but came after a weekend of intense violence along the Gaza border.

The two rocket launches triggered sirens in Israel’s Eshkol region, near the south of the Strip, shortly before the end of Shabbat.” 

Israel responded with strikes on military facilities belonging to Hamas.

Reporting on those two rocket launches was added to an article titled “Gaza violence: Thousands attend funeral for Palestinian medic” which was published on the BBC News website’s main homepage as well as its ‘World’ and ‘Middle East’ pages on the evening (local time) of June 2nd.

“Later on Saturday rockets were fired from Gaza and Israel reportedly responded with air strikes. […]

Hours after the funeral two rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel, the IDF said, triggering air raid sirens in Israeli villages near the border.

One rocket was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system and the other apparently landed inside Gaza, a statement said.”

However, four more projectiles were subsequently fired during the night.

“In the staggered attacks overnight Saturday-Sunday, the first projectile was launched shortly after 12:30 a.m., setting off sirens in the southern town of Sderot and surrounding Sha’ar Hanegev region.

 The second projectile was fired at Israel less than an hour later, triggering alarms in the Eshkol region, the army said.

At 2:45 a.m., sirens again sounded in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon regions in southern Israel as another projectile targeted southern Israel.

All three were shot down by the Iron Dome, the army said. It was not immediately clear if the projectiles were rockets or mortar shells.

At 3:20 a.m., sirens again went off in the Shaar Hanegev and Sdot Negev regions, with the army confirming another “launch from the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory,” and identifying the projectile as a rocket.”

More strikes on Hamas facilities were carried out in response.

The BBC’s report was not updated to include those overnight attacks and no additional reporting appeared.

Also absent from the BBC’s report was any mention of additional incidents which took place during the rioting along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel on June 1st.

“The army said that an IDF vehicle came under fire during the riots and that a Palestinian who breached the border fence in northern Gaza planted a grenade that exploded. […]

The Palestinian rioters also sent fire kites over the fence on Friday, causing three large blazes in nearby Israeli fields.”

Arson attacks using incendiary kites continued on June 2nd, causing harm to wildlife and destroying part of a nature reserve and hundreds of acres of agricultural land but no mention of that appeared in the BBC’s report.

Since the ‘Great Return March’ events commenced at the end of March, over 270 fires have been started by Palestinians using incendiary kites, reportedly destroying some 25,000 dunams (6,200 acres), or more than a third of all the land adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, BBC audiences have seen no coverage of those arson attacks whatsoever.

Related Articles:

BBC News makes a story disappear by changing photo captions

BBC News yawns at ‘Great Return March’ arson incidents

 

 

 

 

BBC News makes a story disappear by changing photo captions

On May 15th the BBC News website’s ‘In Pictures’ page published an item headlined “‘Hear our message’: Gaza border violence in pictures” which related to the previous day’s events and opened by telling audiences that:

“Monday was the deadliest day since violent unrest returned to the Gaza Strip border fence with Israel almost two months ago.

Palestinian protests were fuelled by the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem.

Israeli troops guarding the border killed at least 58 people and injured almost 3,000.”

Obviously “violent unrest” did not just appear out of the blue at the end of March: it was meticulously planned weeks in advance. BBC audiences have however been told nothing of what was organised, by whom, when and why and that means that the corporation can continue to promote false linkage between the pre-planned violence along the border and the relocation of the US embassy to an existing building in Jerusalem.

Notably, this item has not been updated to inform BBC audiences that 50 of the people killed on May 14th were – according to Hamas – linked to that terrorist organisation.

Scattered among the photographs are what the BBC describes at the bottom of the report as “witness interviews” gathered by “Reuters and AFP news agencies”. Notably, those ‘witnesses’ – identified only by their first name – tell only one side of the story.

“Many may get martyred today, but the world will hear our message. Occupation must end.

Ali, science teacher, Gaza”

“Killing me will not change anything. They need to kill every last one of us to change the facts.

Samir, refugee, Gaza”

“I am happy that my son is a martyr. He is among dozens who died for the sake of Palestine.

Ibrahim, 50, whose son was killed near Gaza City”

Although all the photographs used in this item were sourced from various agencies, the BBC replaced their original captions with its own. Photo number one, for example, was originally captioned:

“Palestinians protesters pull barbed wire fence installed by Israeli army along the border during clashes after protests near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip, May 14, 2018.”

The BBC replaced that description with:

“Israel says some 40,000 Palestinians took part”

The seventh photo was likewise originally captioned:

“Palestinians protesters pulling barbed wire fence installed by Israeli army along the border during clashes after protests near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip, 14 May 2018.”

The BBC replaced that with:

“Israel said soldiers had fired on people carrying out “terrorist activity and not on demonstrators””

The original caption to the fourth photo read:

“An Israeli armoured personnel carrier (APC) maneuvers on the Israeli side of the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip May 14, 2018”

The BBC replaced that with:

“Israeli forces responded to protesters with tear gas and live fire from snipers”

In light of the BBC’s ongoing failure to inform its audiences about the multiple incidents of damage caused by ‘Great Return March‘ participants to the crops and irrigation systems of Israeli farmers in fields adjacent to the border, the change made to one caption is particularly noteworthy.

The BBC’s caption to the eighth image is:

“Israeli soldiers patrolled along the Gaza border”

However, that photograph was originally captioned:

“Israeli soldiers walk amidst smoke from a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip, which was caused by incendiaries tied to kites flown by Palestinian protesters from across the border, May 14, 2018.”

In other words, the BBC elected to remove that brief reference to the story of millions of shekels-worth of deliberate damage caused by rioters along the Gaza Strip border in recent weeks.

Once again the narrative – or “our message” as it is described in this item’s title – that the BBC intends to communicate to its audiences is amply clear. 

 

BBC News yawns at ‘Great Return March’ arson incidents

Between March 30th and April 27th the BBC News website produced reports on all but one of the Friday ‘protests’ staged along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip by the organisers of the ‘Great Return March’.

March 30th: BBC News claims Gaza stone throwers engaged in ‘peaceful demonstrations’

April 6th: BBC reporting on Gaza border rioting continues to avoid core issue

April 13th: BBC report on latest Gaza violence follows established pattern

April 20th: no reporting

April 27th: “Israel border clashes: Three Palestinians killed, Gaza officials say

The weekly rioting was renewed on Friday May 4th and once again it included attempts to cause fires on Israeli farm land adjacent to the border. The use of incendiary kites for that purpose has been seen since the third week of the publicity stunt organised by Hamas and other terror groups but BBC News website audiences have seen no reporting whatsoever on that topic. In contrast, readers of the New York Times were informed that:

Photo credit: ITIC

“Gaza’s flaming-kite squadrons had worked for days to prepare for Friday’s protest along the border with Israel, building hundreds of flimsy-framed sails with tails meant to carry crude incendiary devices, like rags soaked in gasoline.

Their battle plan was to fly them in swarms into Israel with the aim of igniting the dry fields of the rural communities on the other side of the border fence. They were counting on help from a heavy heat wave to fan the fires. […]

“The wind is still against us,” Ismail al-Qrinawi, 41, said about 4 p.m. at a protest site near Bureij, about halfway along the 25-mile eastern border of the Gaza Strip. “We are waiting for it to pick up so we can fly tens of kites and burn their crops,” he added, as masked men waited nearby with a couple of kites and gasoline. […]

Nearly 400 acres of wheat ready for harvesting went up in flames, according to Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, which represents many Israeli communities along the border with Gaza. The damage was worth nearly half a million dollars, for which the farmers will get compensation from the state.”

BBC audiences likewise did not see any dedicated reporting on the subject of an arson attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing which was also carried out during the May 4th rioting.

“Yesterday, Friday, May 4, 2018, the riots escalated as Palestinian rioters vandalized and set ablaze the pipes that carry fuel and gas, as well as several of the crossings where humanitarian aid from the State of Israel and the international community passes into the Gaza Strip in order to improve the wellbeing of Gaza residents. The rioters burned offices, buildings, and gas tanks, and damaged fences and gate.”

As noted at the Times of Israel:

“The damage caused Friday will very likely cause delays and difficulties in the transfer of goods into Gaza, not to mention the supply of desperately needed fuel, and exacerbate the already difficult humanitarian situation.”

However, the only mention of that incident on the BBC News website came in the form of twenty-two words in a report on another topic that was published the following day:

“On Saturday, Israel accused Hamas of setting fire to gas supplies and damaging crossing points where humanitarian supplies are brought into Gaza.” [emphasis added]

Kerem Shalom is the sole crossing point for commercial goods into the Gaza Strip and some 2,370 trucks pass through it weekly carrying supplies that include building materials, food, agricultural produce and medical supplies. In addition, some 607 thousand litres of petrol, 3,200 litres of solar and 1,500 tons of gas are usually piped weekly into the Gaza Strip through that now damaged infrastructure.

While BBC audiences are regularly – and often falselyled to believe that counter-terrorism measures employed by Israel are the prime factor influencing the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, significantly this latest example of Palestinians sabotaging their own supply routes only got a cursory mention from the BBC.

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