Why the accuracy and impartiality of BBC reporting matters

Last week a debate on the conditions and health of Palestinian children was held in the House of Lords.  As noted by NGO Monitor, a briefing paper was prepared ahead of that debate.HoL pic

“In July 2016, the UK House of Lords Library posted a briefing paper: “Living Conditions, Health and Wellbeing of Palestinian Children,” which was “withdrawn” without explanation on July 19, but is available on unofficial websites.” 

As NGO Monitor points out, that briefing paper relied heavily on information promoted by various political NGOs – but it also included information gleaned from several BBC reports.

Footnote 4 (and 11) referred readers to an article titled “Palestinian jailed for murder of Israeli teenagers” which was published on January 6th, 2015 as the source for the following information:

HoL doc 1

As was noted here at the time that article was published:

“The BBC report plays down Hamas involvement in the kidnappings and murders:

“The leader of Hamas, the Islamist group dominant in Gaza, said in an interview in August that a Hamas cell had killed the teenagers but had not acted on instructions from above.”

The article fails to adequately clarify that funding for the terror attack came from Hamas sources in the Gaza Strip or that high-ranking Hamas operative Saleh al Arouri admitted the organisation’s involvement in August 2014.”

Footnotes 14 and 15 referred readers to a BBC article dating from September 1st 2014 as the source of the information below:

HoL doc 2

Notably, no effort is made to distinguish Palestinian civilian casualties from combatants. That of course will not come as a surprise to those who are aware of the sources of those UN quoted figures. As was previously noted here in relation to that BBC article:

“Once again we see the BBC quoting “the UN” as though that body were impeccably objective, but with no effort made to inform audiences with regard to the very significant issue of the background to those UN statements and the political motivations involved.”

Footnote 16 referred readers to a BBC report from August 27th 2014 titled “Gaza conflict: Israel and Palestinians agree long-term truce”.

HoL doc 3

As was noted here at the time:

“The real story behind the August 26th ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is of course the fact that Hamas could have accepted the same terms six weeks earlier and thereby prevented hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure and unquantifiable suffering for the people of the Gaza Strip.”

Footnotes 33, 34 and 36 referred readers to an article by Yolande Knell from July 8th 2015 titled “Why is Gaza reconstruction so slow?”

HoL doc 4

As was noted here at the time, that politicised campaigning article by Knell made no mention of Hamas’ misappropriation of construction materials or its renewed tunnel building and it misrepresented the topic of dual-use goods.

The BBC’s coverage of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and other assorted terrorist organisations in the summer of 2014 was highly – and consistently – problematic: not least for its serial misrepresentation of the topic of civilian/combatant casualty figures and the use of data supplied by Hamas and its supporters. Both during and after the conflict, the corporation adopted a campaigning role on the issue of the restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel in response to terrorism and presented a partisan view of the topic of reconstruction in Gaza.

It is obviously very disturbing to see reporting which did not meet the BBC’s professed editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality being promoted to members of the House of Lords ahead of a debate but the fact that the house’s researchers use such material as the basis for a briefing paper serves to highlight exactly why the British public, their politicians and public officials should be all the more concerned about the accuracy and impartiality of BBC journalism which later becomes “historical record“.  

 

Weekend long read

1) Our CAMERA colleague Sean Durns has recently produced two backgrounders which readers may find useful:

Hezbollah Backgrounder: 2016

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Backgrounder: 2016Weekend Read

2) As readers are probably aware, it is not unusual to find the BBC promoting the notion that the Gaza Strip is still under Israeli occupation, despite nearly eleven years having passed since the disengagement. Gilead Sher and Dr Dana Wolf explain why that is not the case.

Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations outlines legal requirements for occupation, which include the physical existence of hostile troops in an area, so that the legitimate government is incapable of exercising effective powers of government. Conversely, military withdrawal is a prerequisite for clearly demarcating the end of occupation. As such, never since the enactment of the Hague Regulations has an occupation been recognized without a foreign army present.” 

3) At The Tablet, David Collier asks “Do NGOs that work in and around Israel use their volunteers for propaganda?”.

“There are hundreds of websites dedicated to providing information on volunteering opportunities worldwide and almost all of these sites contain a section on Palestine. One of the main concerns, wherever the NGO is based, is always safety. The African Volunteer Network, in a section on Somalia, as well as the group Hand in Hand for Syria both explicitly state they cannot send nonmedical volunteers into their specific areas because of the dangers. So how can there be so many aid agencies advertising for volunteers in Palestine? How can there be NGOs claiming Israel is conducting “genocide,” and is engaged in “war crimes” at the same time as organizations advertise for volunteers to help plant olive trees, teach English and work in refugee camps?”

4) BBC coverage of the recent anniversary of the Iran deal focused on highlighting negotiators’ recollections but the corporation refrained from providing its audiences with any substantial analysis of the topic.

“My favourite was the Persian chicken with crushed pistachios,” recalls Wendy Sherman. “Those times of breaking bread together are always useful in building the relationships you need when you are the middle of such tough negotiations.”

The Henry Jackson Society and the Friends of Israel Initiative have published a paper titled The Iran Deal a Year On: Assessing Iranian Ambitions.

“Key findings include:

  • Iran has breached the JCPA and associated agreements, with no penalty and in some cases active collusion by Western supporters of the deal.
  • Serious concerns exist over IAEA finding and reporting in relation to the implementation of the deal and the military dimension of Iran’s nuclear programme.
  • Iranian forces, in particular the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), are still involved in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen as an integral part of the Iranian government’s destabilising agenda.
  • Iran remains the principal sponsor of terrorism in the world – as acknowledged by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Iran continues to develop its ballistic missile programme.
  • The grave violations of human rights and freedom within Iran have not ceased and the hopes for a moderation of the regime have remained unmet.”

The full report can be found here

BBC ignores annual terrorist indoctrination of Gaza youth yet again

The summer season is upon us and with it come the annual ‘summer camps’ organised by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. The Tower reports:

“Hamas has opened three-week-long training camps in Gaza for over 50,000 elementary, middle, and high school students, the Gaza-based terror organization said in a press release Sunday.

Hamas official Ismail Radwan explained that the theme of the camps is the “Jerusalem Intifada,” and that the goal is “to raise a generation of Palestinians who love the resistance and the liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” The camps also include scouting and religious educational programming.”

In previous years the BBC has completely ignored these ‘youth camps’ but last year it made a minor exception: BBC audiences got a full fifty-two seconds of coverage of that topic in a programme made by Lyse Doucet. So far this year, the corporation appears to have reverted to form.

As Khaled Abu Toameh has previously explained:Hamas summer camp

“The declared goal of the camps to is to “prepare a new generation of Palestinian youths spiritually, mentally and physically for the battle to liberate Palestine.” When Hamas talks about the “liberation of Palestine,” it is not referring to the West Bank and Gaza Strip only, but to the whole of Israel. In other words, these Palestinian children are being educated and trained to prepare for joining the war aimed at destroying Israel.

The children are being taught that their role models are Hamas suicide bombers and terrorists responsible for the death of hundreds of Israelis over the past few decades. […]

Hamas’s religious education is aimed at teaching the children about Islam and its sharia laws. The children are being told that the whole of the land of Palestine (including Israel) is Muslim-owned land that can’t be given away to non-Muslims. They are also being taught that making peace with the “infidels” is prohibited under the teachings of Islam.”

The BBC is of course notoriously reluctant to provide its audiences with information on the issues of Palestinian incitement and glorification of terrorism and its portrayal of what it likes to term ‘obstacles to peace’ is hence perennially one-sided. It therefore comes as no surprise to see the corporation once again ignore the mass indoctrination of children with terror lauding ideology – even as it continues to promote a politicised narrative on the ‘reasons’ for the failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 

Related Articles:

BBC silent on British link to incitement of Palestinian children

Some context to the BBC’s ‘reporter in the Gaza rubble’ features

Back in October 2014 the BBC produced several reports on the subject of the Cairo donor conference aimed at securing funding for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip after the two-month long war initiated by Hamas in the summer of that year.Cairo conf art

BBC audiences were told that:

“International donors have pledged $5.4bn (£3.4bn) for the Palestinians at a conference in Cairo.

The total, announced by the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Boerge Brende, exceeded the $4bn (£2.5bn) the Palestinian Authority had asked for.

Half the sum would be “dedicated” to work in Gaza, he said, without specifying a use for the other half.”

Since then – and in particular around the time of the one-year anniversary of the start of the conflict – the BBC has frequently promoted the topic of the slow pace of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip, often inaccurately claiming or insinuating that border restrictions introduced by Israel to combat Hamas terrorism are to blame. Notably, the corporation has devoted considerably less attention to the issue of Hamas’ misappropriation of construction materials for the purpose of terrorism.

Now the World Bank has published an interesting document titled ‘Reconstructing Gaza – Donor Pledges’ in which the pledges made by various countries at the Cairo donor conference – and the amounts actually delivered since then – are detailed. The bottom line is that only some 40% of the pledged financial aid has actually been delivered but it is worth reading the document in full to see which countries have made good on their promises and which have not.

Next time the BBC sends Yolande Knell or Lyse Doucet to the Gaza Strip to do one of their signature ‘reporter in the rubble’ dispatches, it will be interesting to see whether or not they remember to inform audiences that countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have not delivered the full amount of funds they pledged for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.

 

Another BBC airbrushing of the Quartet report

As documented here previously (see ‘related articles’ below), the BBC News website’s portrayal of the report published by the Quartet on July 1st was far from satisfactory and failed to provide audiences with a balanced picture of its content. In this post we will take a look at how the same report was presented to listeners to BBC World Service radio in the July 1st edition of ‘Newshour’ – from 30:08 here.Newshour 1 jul

To recap – the report cited three main factors as “undermining hopes for peace”:

  • “Continuing violence, terrorist attacks against civilians, and incitement to violence are greatly exacerbating mistrust and are fundamentally incompatible with a peaceful resolution;
  • The continuing policy of settlement construction and expansion, designation of land for exclusive Israeli use, and denial of Palestinian development is steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution; and
  • The illicit arms build-up and militant activity, continuing absence of Palestinian unity, and dire humanitarian situation in Gaza feed instability and ultimately impede efforts to achieve a negotiated solution.”

In its discussion of the first factor on that list, the report was remarkable for its forthright condemnation of incitement and glorification of terror by official Palestinian bodies including Mahmoud Abbas’ party Fatah and the PA itself. Those topics have long been neglected by the BBC and were once again sidelined in the two articles which appeared on the BBC News website.

Sadly, listeners who heard Owen Bennett Jones’ introduction to the ‘Newshour’ item did not learn of the Quartet’s condemnation of incitement from official Palestinian bodies because he referred generally to “the Palestinians”. Listeners did however hear the erroneous claim that Israel is “building settlements” rather than building in existing communities.

OBJ: “A long-awaited report by Middle East peace mediators says Israel should stop building settlements and the Palestinians should stop inciting violence. The so-called Quartet – the US, the UN, the EU and Russia – says current trends imperil a two state solution. Publication of these recommendations came amid further attacks in the occupied West Bank where Israel has closed off the city of Hebron. Our correspondent Yolande Knell is in Jerusalem. First of all; what’s happening in Hebron?”

A few hours before this programme went on air a fatal terror attack had taken place on Route 60. The closure on Hebron was implemented as security forces searched for the terrorists but uninformed listeners would have had difficulty understanding that connection from Yolande Knell’s reply to Bennett Jones’ clear question.

YK: “We now have hundreds of Israeli troops going to Hebron, roadblocks set up around the city. This follows a lot of concerns from the Israeli military about the number of attacks that have been perpetrated from this city. It’s always a flash point for violence but they say about eighty attacks out of 250 attacks or attempted attacks since October have been in the Hebron area.”

According to the Times of Israel, the IDF spokesman actually said that “seventy-nine terrorists have originated from Hebron” and remarkably, Knell did not bother to inform listeners that Hebron is a notorious traditional Hamas stronghold. She continued:

“And now it’s searching for a gunman who earlier shot some 20 rounds at an Israeli car on the main road – Route 60 – just close to Hebron. This led to a crash that killed one Israeli man – a father of ten – and left his wife and two of his children in hospital. The Israeli military says it also wants to prevent copy-cat attacks and stop a rise in violence which is often seen in the final days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.”

Knell did not clarify for her listeners why the close of Ramadan might bring about “a rise in violence” or inform them that during that month alone six Israelis had been murdered in terror attacks by the time she produced this report.

Prioritising the name used by Palestinians to describe the most ancient Jewish shrine, she went on to describe an attempted attack which had taken place the same morning and in which a woman tried to stab a Border Police officer as follows: [emphasis added]

“Earlier there was a Palestinian woman in her twenties who was killed in the old city of Hebron. Soldiers shot her close to a disputed holy site; the Ibrahimi mosque – also known as the Cave of the Patriarchs. She’s said to have been carrying a knife and importantly, she came from the same village as a teenager who killed a 13 year-old American-Israeli girl in her home in a settlement just outside Hebron one day ago. And even after all the attacks there’ve been recently, this very brazen attack where she was stabbed to death in her own bedroom has really caused a lot of shock and horror.”

Owen Bennett Jones then asked Knell another clear question which she failed to answer.

OBJ: “So just to give us a general picture of what’s going on in the West Bank over the last few months, say, how frequent are the attacks there against Israelis?”

YK: “Well certainly there has been a concentration of the attacks within the West Bank. This is where you have Israeli settlers – and there are more than 560 thousand of them in total in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – and they’re living in close proximity to Palestinians. Often you have Palestinians of course also working inside settlements and the settlements themselves are seen as an obstacle to peace; this is something that has been reiterated by a long-awaited report from the Quartet of Middle East mediators – the US, EU, UN and Russia – that has just been published. But I have to say; over the past few months – really since the beginning of this year – it had seemed the number of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis had begun to subside. But then things have really picked up in the last few days, during the month of Ramadan.”

Obviously Knell was either unable or unwilling to answer the question of “how frequent are the attacks […] against Israelis” in Judea & Samaria and given that the BBC consistently under-reports the topic of Palestinian terror, that is hardly surprising. While Knell is correct in her claim that the number of attacks had been decreasing up until June, the fact is that according to Israel Security Agency figures, between October 2015 and June 2016 inclusive, 1,471 terror attacks took place in Judea & Samaria: an average of 163.4 attacks per month or 5.4 attacks per day. One would of course expect a BBC correspondent permanently based in the area to be able to report that information to audiences.

graph attacks Judea Samaria

Bennett Jones continued, once again promoting the inaccurate notion that Israel is building ‘settlements’ rather than constructing housing in existing communities.

OBJ: “Well now this Quartet report you mentioned is taking – if I could put it like this – the usual line: stop building settlements to the Israelis, stop inciting violence, stop using violence to the Palestinians. Is either side listening?”

Knell replied:

“Well there was so much expectation ahead of the publication of what’s turned out to be an eight-page report. There’s not much here that’s surprising: no talk really of international pressure that could be brought to bear. Already the Palestinians have come out saying this report doesn’t meet their expectations. They say that it tries to equalise the responsibilities between a people under occupation and a foreign military occupier. And we’ve just had a statement too from the Israel prime minister’s office that talks about how Israel cannot negotiate peace with itself and it rejects any attempt it says to draw moral equivalence between construction in the settlements and terrorism. So it seems to have been roundly dismissed and when authors talked about their hopes that they could help support further peace talks – well that doesn’t seem to have really helped much at the moment.”

The item ends there and as we see, once again BBC audiences have had their attentions focused on ‘settlements’ – described by Knell as an “obstacle to peace” – but have learned nothing about the much neglected subjects of incitement from official Palestinian sources as highlighted in the Quartet report and nothing about its condemnation of Hamas terror, tunnel building and arms smuggling.

This is the BBC’s third attempt to ostensibly inform its audiences what was in the Quartet report and it is the third time that it has refrained from doing so comprehensively, accurately and impartially. Obviously the way in which BBC audiences view the failure to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict will be influenced by these reports, with the fact that the BBC has airbrushed Hamas and Palestinian Authority related factors from the picture sabotaging audiences’ chances of properly understanding of the issue.

Related Articles:

BBC’s account of Quartet report exposes the holes in its own narrative

BBC’s Knell airbrushes two-thirds of Quartet report out of the picture

 

Hamas terror cash shoes not news for the BBC

As has been noted here on numerous occasionsover the past two years the BBC has avoided providing its audiences with any serious reporting on the topic of Hamas’ efforts to build up its infrastructure in Palestinian Authority controlled areas and certainly has not proffered any analysis of how that factor has influenced the surge in terrorism seen over the last ten months.

Concurrently, the BBC’s portrayal of the reasons for restrictions on entry to Israel from the Gaza Strip is often at best superficial and at worst misleading; particularly when its journalists elect to amplify populist notions of “collective punishment” but ignore cases in which entry permits are abused for the purpose of terrorism.

A recent announcement from the Israeli security forces highlights both those issues as well as that of Hamas’ deliberate use of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip as human shields – a topic which the corporation has similarly failed to adequately address.

The Jerusalem Post reports:Euros

“A joint Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Israel Police Southern District and IDF operation resulted in the arrest on June 16 of 65-year-old Faiz Atar from Bet Lahia in Gaza, who had a permit to enter Israel to conduct trade. […]

The Shin Bet said the suspect hid cash in his shoes for Hamas, and smuggled tens of thousands of euros to terrorist operatives in the West Bank.
As the investigation continued, the domestic intelligence agency gleaned valuable information on Atar’s family in Gaza and their activities on behalf of Hamas, including tunnel digging.

“It emerged that his sons made use of his home to meet with Hamas operatives. The investigation revealed information on tunnel openings, which are partly located underneath civilian structures – including innocent civilian residential buildings and mosques – and rocket launch locations, which are located near civilian structures in a manner that endangers the civilian population in the Strip,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.”

In addition:

“Security forces nabbed a Gazan resident at the Erez Crossing in June with 10,000 euros stuffed in his shoes, intended for Hamas operatives in the West Bank. When the suspect, identified as Jabaliya resident Itallah Sarahan, 37, was questioned, security forces learned that he received a permit to enter Israel for trade purposes two weeks prior to his arrest.

On his first day visiting Israel, a Hamas policeman on the Gazan side of the crossing asked Sarahan if he would smuggle cash to Hamas in the West Bank. Sarahan “expressed his willingness to do so,” the Shin Bet said, leading the Hamas police officer to take him to a meeting with the Islamist regime’s operatives, who paid him for the mission and provided him with special shoes in which the money was hidden.”

The BBC cannot possibly claim to be meeting its remit of enhancing “audiences’ awareness of international issues” as long as it continues to avoid such stories and the broader issues behind them and the omission of that context of course shapes audience views of Israeli counter-terrorism measures. 

 

 

BBC Persian promotes falsehood in report on Elie Wiesel’s death

h/t Dr CL

A member of the public recently alerted us to an inaccuracy in an article concerning the death of Elie Wiesel which appeared on the BBC Persian website on July 2nd.BBC Persian Wiesel art

The final paragraph of that article tells readers that in 2014, during the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Elie Wiesel accused Israel of committing genocide in the Gaza Strip. A translation of that paragraph (confirmed by a professional Farsi translator) reads as follows:

“Two years ago, Elie Wiesel, together with 300 Holocaust survivors, criticised Israel because of its attack on Gaza, and accused the Israeli government of genocide.”

Elie Wiesel made no such accusation and did not put his name to that statement advertised by IJAN (International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network) in the New York Times. In fact, the IJAN statement included direct criticism of Wiesel and was made in response to an earlier advertisement criticising Hamas’ use of human shields which was put out by Wiesel himself.

The BBC should be familiar with the facts behind that story: after all, it took it upon itself to amplify that IJAN statement extensively at the time. Clearly the falsehood promoted by BBC Persian requires immediate retraction and prominent correction.

Related Articles:

BBC News website promotes the anti-Israel defamation of a fringe racist group

Resources:

BBC Persian e-mail: Persian@bbc.co.uk

BBC Persian complaints

BBC Persian on Twitter  

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – June 2016

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during June 2016 shows that throughout the month a total of 103 incidents took place: 71 in Judea & Samaria, 29 in Jerusalem, two inside the ‘green line’ and one incident originating from the Gaza Strip.

The agency recorded 86 attacks with petrol bombs. Two shooting attacks, 10 attacks using explosive devices, one vehicular attack and one stabbing attack took place in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem. One stabbing attack and one shooting attack occurred inside the ‘green line’. Along the border with the Gaza Strip one shooting attack took place.

Five Israeli civilians were murdered in Palestinian terror attacks during June. Twenty-one people (mostly civilians) were wounded: fifteen in the shooting attack in Tel Aviv on June 8th, one during the attack in Kiryat Arba on June 30th, two in a stabbing attack in Netanya on June 30th, two in a vehicular attack in Kiryat Arba on June 25th and one soldier was wounded by a petrol bomb in Issawiya on June 29th.

The BBC News website covered the shooting attack at Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on June 8th and produced a follow-up article the next day, the third version of which included the names, ages and genders of the four people murdered.

The stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba on June 30th was also reported and the murdered victim was named. The same article was later updated to include a brief mention of the stabbing attack in Netanya on the same day in which two people were wounded.

“Later on Thursday, a Palestinian stabbed and injured two Israelis in the coastal city of Netanya before being shot dead by a passing civilian.”

An attempted stabbing attack near Einav on June 2nd was briefly mentioned in the caption to a photograph which appeared in an article on a different topic.

“On Thursday a Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Tulkarm. The Israeli army said the woman had tried to stab a soldier”

Attacks on vehicles travelling on Route 443 on June 21st were reported on the BBC News website after a passer-by was mistaken for one of the terrorists and shot dead by a soldier at the scene.

Incidents which did not receive any coverage on the BBC News website included attacks on two buses on June 5th, shooting attacks on cars travelling near Halamish on June 7th, a stoning attack on a bus on June 8th, a stoning attack on a bus on June 12th and a vehicular attack near Kiryat Arba on June 24th.

In conclusion, the BBC News website reported the two fatal incidents which took place during the month of June (but without describing them as terror attacks in its own words) and mentioned three additional non-fatal attacks.

In comparison with its record during 2015, we see an improvement in BBC coverage of fatal terror attacks in Israel during the first half of 2016 with all the attacks having been reported. Overall, the BBC News website has reported 4.18% of the terror attacks which took place between January and June 2016 inclusive and its record of reporting the missile attacks launched from the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year remains at 0%.

Table June

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – May 2016

Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel: October 2015 to March 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – December 2015 and Q4 summary

 

BBC News erases Hamas terror from portrayal of Gaza blockade

On July 3rd the BBC News website published an article on its Middle East page titled “Turkey sends Gaza aid after six-year rift with Israel ends” in which readers were told that:Turkey ship art main

“A Turkish ship carrying 11,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid for Gaza has arrived in the Israeli port of Ashdod. […]

The Lady Leyla ship was carrying food, clothing and toys intended to arrive in Gaza in time for Eid celebrations marking the end of Ramadan.

It has been unloaded at Ashdod and the aid donations will be transported overland through Israel to Gaza.”

Readers were not however given any information which would allow them to put those 11,000 tonnes of goods into context because the article refrained from informing them how much aid is transported into the Gaza Strip on a regular basis.

In the week preceding the arrival of the Turkish ship, 107,531 tons of goods entered the Gaza Strip: in other words, nearly double the amount of goods carried by the Turkish ship on every working day. On the day that the Turkish ship docked, 18,531 tons of goods entered the Gaza Strip in 602 trucks.

Cogat tweet Gaza goods wk ending 30 6

The article purportedly provides readers with background information concerning the core topic of the restrictions imposed by the countries neighbouring the Gaza Strip.

“Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2006 after the Palestinian group Hamas, which runs the territory, abducted an Israeli soldier. The measures were tightened by Israel and Egypt in 2007 after Hamas ousted its rival Fatah and forcibly took control in Gaza after winning elections the year before.”

Remarkably, that portrayal completely erases Hamas terrorism – including the thousands of missiles fired at civilian communities – from the picture provided to BBC audiences. As it has unfortunately been necessary to note here on numerous occasions in the past, the actual sequence of events is as follows:

“The violent Hamas take-over of Gaza took place between June 5th and 15th 2007 and the Palestinian Authority – the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people – was forcefully ejected from power. Following that event, both Egypt and Israel largely closed their borders with the Gaza Strip due to the fact that the body charged with joint security arrangements under the terms of the Oslo Accords – the Palestinian Authority – no longer exercised any control over the territory. 

Three months later – on September 19th 2007 – in light of the escalation of terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli civilians originating in the now Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip – the Israeli government declared Gaza to be ‘hostile territory’.”

Since June 2010 restrictions on the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip have only related to arms, munitions and dual-use items which can be used for the purpose of terrorism. Having failed to inform readers about the Hamas terrorism which brought about and sustains the restrictions, the article closes with an “Israel says” tick of the impartiality box and the amplification of a dog whistle quote.  

“Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas receiving materials that could be used for military purposes, but the UN has long been critical of it.

Last week Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it “collective punishment for which there must be accountability”.”

Reporting on the topic of restrictions on passage and the movement of specific types of goods through Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip and the naval blockade introduced in 2009 cannot possibly be considered accurate and impartial if it fails to inform audiences of the reason for those measures: Islamist terrorism against Israeli civilians.

Not only does this article fail to include any mention of that topic (or the fact that Hamas is an internationally designated terrorist organisation) but a click on the link to the only item of suggested related reading (out of 17 links in total) which seems likely to perhaps provide relevant background information – “Guide: Eased Gaza Blockade” – is dead.

Turkey ship art related

Turkey ship art 404

Obviously BBC News was not sufficiently committed to telling this story in an accurate and impartial manner. 

BBC News coy on lawfare NGOs it previously quoted and promoted

On July 4th the BBC News website published a report titled “Israeli politician Tzipi Livni ‘summonsed by UK police’” on its Middle East page.Livni art

One coyly worded paragraph is of particular interest:

“Correspondents say pro-Palestinian activists have filed a series of complaints against Israeli officials, including Ms Livni, in recent years.”

Who those “correspondents” are is not made clear and of course the said “activists” are more accurately described as anti-Israel than “pro-Palestinian” but remarkably, the BBC chose not to identify them for its readers.

Fortunately, NGO Monitor has background information on that subject which includes the following:

“The main NGOs behind the campaigns in the UK and beyond, including at the International Criminal Court, are Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Haq, and Al Mezan. All are funded by European governments.

In the UK, they have been supported by Daniel Machover of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights and Hickman & Rose Solicitors, as well as Irvine, Thanvi, Natas and Imran Khan & Partners.”

If the names of those political NGOs engaged in lawfare against Israel and its public figures seem familiar to readers, that is because the BBC has quoted and promoted them extensively over the years – and in particular during its coverage of the conflict between Israel and terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.

Not only were the Gaza Strip casualty figures cited by the BBC based on information sourced, inter alia, from the PCHR and Al Mezan, but the corporation engaged in vigorous amplification of unsubstantiated claims of ‘war crimes’ by the PCHR literally from day two of the conflict.

Reminders of the BBC’s promotion of Al Haq can be found here, of Al Mezan here and of the PCHR here.

Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas addresses the PCHR 2006 conference

Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas addresses the PCHR 2006 conference

The BBC has never provided its funding public with a satisfactory explanation as to why it uncritically amplifies the agendas of organisations which make no secret of the fact that they are involved in a political campaign of lawfare against Israel or why it rejected complaints which challenged the BBC’s use of obviously politically partisan information from those sources.

Audience understanding of this latest lawfare stunt (and the topic in general) would of course be greatly enhanced were the corporation to name its protagonists and finally provide some accurate and impartial information concerning their political agenda.