No BBC reporting on latest Hamas cross-border tunnel

On January 14th the IDF announced the destruction of yet another cross-border tunnel running from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Unusually however, this latest tunnel – originating in the southern Gaza Strip – also reached Egyptian territory.

“The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday said it had destroyed a border-crossing Hamas attack tunnel, the third in recent months, that penetrated hundreds of meters into both Israeli and Egyptian territory from the Gaza Strip, in an airstrike in southern Gaza on Saturday night. […]

According to [IDF spokesperson Lt-Col] Conricus, the tunnel was dug in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, some 900 meters from Israel, and extended 180 meters into Israeli territory.

On the other end, it also extended hundreds of meters into Egypt, which could have allowed fighters in Gaza to attack Israeli positions from the Sinai Peninsula, he said.

Asked if the tunnel could have functioned as both a smuggling and attack tunnel, the army spokesperson responded, “It could have, but we deal with the infrastructure.””

Significantly, the tunnel ran under the Kerem Shalom crossing.

“The tunnel, which the army said belonged to the Hamas terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, ran underneath the Kerem Shalom Gaza crossing, as well as below major gas and diesel pipelines, spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters Sunday. […]

The Kerem Shalom Crossing routinely sees hundreds of trucks transporting medicine, food and drink into the Gaza Strip each day and acts as a major source of humanitarian aid to the beleaguered coastal enclave, which is subject to a blockade by both Israel and Egypt. Israel maintains the blockade to prevent terror group Hamas from importing weaponry. […]

“We know it’s a terror tunnel because it passes under different strategic assets,” Conricus said, referring to its proximity to the fuel pipelines into Gaza, the Kerem Shalom Crossing and a military installation nearby.

According to IDF figures, in 2017, over half a million tons of food entered the Strip through Kerem Shalom, along with 3.3 million tons of construction equipment and 12,000 tons of agricultural equipment.”

Despite both the threat to humanitarian supplies and fuel for civilians in the Gaza Strip and the significance of the fact that the tunnel reached Egyptian territory, the BBC chose not to report the story at all.

This is the third cross-border tunnel that the IDF has destroyed in the past two and a half months. On October 30th 2017 a tunnel belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was destroyed and while the BBC reported that story, its portrayal of the structure’s purpose was ambiguous. On December 10th 2017 the IDF destroyed a tunnel belonging to Hamas. The BBC did not produce any dedicated reporting on that story and the only mention of it came in half a sentence in an article on a different topic.

Now we see that the BBC – which has long under-reported and downplayed the subject of tunnels constructed by Hamas and other terror organisations – has chosen to completely ignore the story of Hamas’ construction of a structure breaching the sovereign territory of two neighbouring countries.

Related Articles:

BBC News conceals part of a story on Hamas tunnels

BBC News report on Gaza tunnel equivocal about its purpose

Jerusalem terror attack gets 21 words of BBC coverage

Comparing BBC reporting on ISIS and Hamas tunnels






Gaza terror smuggling again not newsworthy for the BBC

Earlier this month BBC One viewers heard Andrew Marr portray Israeli counter-terrorism measures along the border with the Gaza Strip as follows (at 05:45 here) during an interview with the Israeli prime minister:

Marr: “Now what is also clear, however, is that your policy for Gaza is not working: the policy of having a kind of cordon around Gaza, restricting what can come in and out – a kind of blockade of Gaza – has actually increased the power of Hamas in Gaza and mobilised the population behind Gaza because of the appalling human rights situation inside Gaza. This policy is simply not working.”

As has been noted here on many occasions, the BBC’s portrayal of that topic is usually at best superficial and at worst misleading and politically motivated. In the past audiences have seen or heard restrictions on the movement of people and very specific materials in and out of the Gaza Strip inaccurately described as “collective punishment” or a “siege”.

“Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade around Gaza aimed at preventing attacks by militants there, though the measure has been condemned by rights groups as a form of collective punishment.” BBC News website, February 13th 2017.

“…the stifling border closures the Israeli government says are for security, the people here say are for collective punishment.” BBC World Service radio, February 1st 2017.

“One of the reasons Gaza’s often described as the largest open-air prison in the world is the difficulty of getting across the border with Israel.” BBC World Service radio, May 19th 2015.

However, beyond the ‘Israel says’ mantra, BBC audiences rarely hear about the reasons why restrictions placed on the border with the Gaza Strip are necessary because Hamas terrorism is consistently ignored, downplayed or erased – with the result being that BBC audiences are therefore ill-equipped to put portrayals such as the one by Marr into their appropriate context. 

Another story which would help BBC audiences understand the real reasons for counter-terrorism measures, including restrictions on the entry of weapons and dual purpose goods into the Gaza Strip, recently came to light.

“An Israeli laboratory at the Kerem Shalom Gaza crossing recently thwarted an attempted smuggling of several tons of explosive substances that were headed for terror groups in the strip.

The lab, which was recently established at the crossing at the behest of the Land Crossings Authority in the Ministry of Defense, was called into action after a truck arrived at the area that was carrying what was said to be a large load of car oils.

Guards conducting the security checks grew suspicious of the truck’s content, and transferred specific oil types to the lab for further investigation, where it transpired that the oils were not intended for car engines, but were rather dangerous substances intended for the production of large quantities of explosive devices.”

The BBC – which is of course committed to helping its funding public understand “the world around them” – has so far ignored this story, thereby passing up yet another opportunity to help its audiences understand why Israel’s counter-terrorism measures are necessary – even as it continues to focus their attentions on the “appalling human rights situation inside Gaza”.

Related Articles:

Documenting the BBC’s continuing silence on Gaza smuggling

BBC waives another chance to explain why Gaza’s naval blockade exists

BBC News passes up chance to explain why Israeli counter-terrorism measures exist

BBC ignores another story explaining the need for Gaza border restrictions


Selective BBC framing of Hamas-Fatah ‘reconciliation’ continues

The November 1st afternoon edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour‘ included an item (from 19:18 here) described by presenter Razia Iqbal as follows:

Iqbal: “Let’s stay with Palestinian issues now and specifically Gaza, which has been controlled for the last decade by the Islamist group Hamas. Now Hamas has begun handing control of the border crossings with Egypt and Israel back to the Palestinian Authority which controls the rest of Palestinian territory. This is part of a reconciliation deal negotiated in Cairo last month between Hamas and Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority. I’ve been finding out more from our correspondent in Jerusalem Tom Bateman.”

Tom Bateman began by describing the ceremony at Rafah crossing on that day, then telling listeners that:

Bateman: “However, that crossing remains effectively completely closed and at the crossings with Egypt [sic – he apparently meant Israel] the very heavy restrictions remain in place. However, what has happened there is the dismantlement of the Hamas checkpoints there so when you cross between Israel and Gaza there is the Israeli side – the security there – and also the Hamas checkpoint. But the two sides obviously do not talk to each other so there’s always been a small PA checkpoint in between them. Now that checkpoint becomes the main checkpoint for the Palestinian Authority.”

In his response to a question from Iqbal about how the lives of people in Gaza are expected to change because of this hand-over of control of the Palestinian side of crossings from Hamas to the PA, Bateman suggested that it might lead to changes in Israeli policy.

Bateman: “But of course over time there is some hope that perhaps it may see restrictions eased and then of course that blockade on the Gaza Strip perhaps begin in some way to lift. Time will tell.”

What Bateman described as “that blockade” is of course restriction on the import to Gaza of weapons and dual-use goods that was introduced after Hamas’ violent coup in the Gaza Strip due to the need to protect Israeli citizens from Hamas terrorism.

The trouble is that nowhere in this report did either Bateman or Iqbal clarify to listeners that Hamas is a designated terror organisation that is very frank about its persistent aim to destroy the Jewish state by means of violence. Even when Bateman briefly touched on the topic of Hamas disarmament at the end of the item, he failed to inform listeners that since the announcement of the ‘reconciliation deal’ between Fatah and Hamas, various officials from the terror group have repeatedly clarified that no such step will be taken.

Bateman: “But over time the very big stumbling block – and what’s been the big problem in the past – is over the control of weapons; over Hamas’ armed wing…ah…with the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas saying, you know, there will be one law, one authority and one gun. But of course many people doubt whether full disarmament, you know, will take place.”

Neither did Bateman bother to explain to listeners that the failure to disarm Hamas will put the Palestinian Authority in breach of both its existing agreements with Israel and the Quartet Principles.

Since the story of Hamas-Fatah reconciliation first broke in mid-September, none of the BBC’s numerous reports concerning that topic have provided its audiences with a proper explanation of why Hamas must be disarmed if the PA is to meet its existing obligations.  Neither have any of those reports on a variety of BBC platforms included coverage of statements by Hamas officials clarifying the terror group’s refusal to disarm its militias and its intention to continue attacks against Israel.

As this latest report by Bateman once again indicates, the BBC’s failure to provide its funding public with the full range of information needed to properly understand this story is obviously not a matter of chance omission but of deliberate framing.

Related articles:

BBC News continues to conceal Hamas refusals to disarm

BBC adds superfluous punctuation to US and Israeli statements on Hamas

BBC News continues to mislead on Gaza electricity crisis

BBC News sidesteps the topic of Hamas disarmament yet again

Superficial BBC reporting on Hamas-Fatah ‘unity’ returns

BBC policy of ignoring Gaza smuggling continues

More attempts to smuggle restricted items into the Gaza Strip were thwarted last week.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defense, Twitter

Photo credit: Ministry of Defense, Twitter

“The Crossing Security Services Authority in the Defense Ministry thwarted an attempted smuggling into the Gaza Strip of commando knives on Tuesday.

The discovery of the knives was made by the authority and the Shin Bet at the Kerem Shalom border crossing on the Strip’s Egypt-Israel border on a shipment of plumbing tools.

 Two crates, concealed between different plumbing tools, were found to contain the professional commando knives, 30cm in length.”

In addition:

“Officials also recently intercepted a shipment destined for the Palestinian electric company in Gaza containing concealed graphite strips, the Government Press Office said in a statement, noting the raw material is often used to make rocket fuel.”

As has consistently been the case for many months (see ‘related articles’ below), there was no BBC coverage of these latest smuggling attempts.  That of course means that when the BBC states (as it frequently does) that “Israel says” that the restrictions on the import of weapons and dual-use goods into the Gaza Strip are for reasons of security, audiences have an insufficient understanding of the background and the facts to be able to put that statement – and the restrictions themselves – into the correct context.  

Related Articles:

Hamas terror cash shoes not news for the BBC

Gaza terror smuggling again not newsworthy for the BBC

Smuggling of rocket fuel to Gaza thwarted: BBC yawns and ignores

Celeb wedding makes front page BBC news but terror doesn’t

Israel seizes chemicals bound for Gaza – BBC yawns

BBC silent on latest Gaza Strip smuggling attempt





BBC News misleads audiences on UN food aid to Gaza Strip

h/t DS

On August 27th the BBC News website published an article titled “Gaza conflict: Israeli PM Netanyahu says war was ‘victory’” on its Middle East page. The report opens with various statements from a press conference held by Israel’s prime minister before stating in its seventh and eighth paragraphs:

“On Wednesday, the UN’s World Food Programme said one of its convoys had entered Gaza for the first time since 2007, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days.

Fishing boats also ventured out to sea as restrictions were eased.”

Now of course most readers would understand those words to mean that the UN’s World Food Programme has not been able to supply people in the Gaza Strip with food aid since 2007. Given that the report’s previous sentences relate mostly to statements made by the Israeli prime minister and the subsequent sentence uses the words “also [….] as restrictions were eased” in relation to the fishing zone, readers might well also assume that the fact that a WFP convoy had not been able to enter the Gaza Strip since 2007 had something to do with restrictions implemented by Israel.

However, as readers who took the time to click on the link would see, the BBC actually left out two very significant words in its paraphrasing of the World Food Programme statement.

“For the first time since 2007, a humanitarian convoy of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) successfully crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip today, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days.” [emphasis added]

But still, perhaps this is the first time since 2007 that the WFP has been able to provide food to people in the Gaza Strip? Well, no: it has been doing so throughout the recent hostilities and long before.

So how did it manage that if its convoys have been unable to enter the Gaza strip via the Rafah crossing since 2007? Via the Israeli-operated Kerem Shalom crossing, of course. [emphasis added]Kerem Shalom

“Kerem Shalom allows the transfer of hundreds of trucks daily carrying goods sent by the Red Cross, UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), the UN World Food Program (WFP), the Ministry of Health of the Palestinian Authority as well as Palestinian and independent traders. The transfer was carried out in coordination with the Israeli government, the IDF and the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Every day, between 250 and 280 trucks pass through the crossing, carrying over 6,000 tons of goods, mainly medical supplies and food, according to a list developed by involved international organizations.”

Wouldn’t it have been simple for the BBC to avoid misleading audiences by just adding those two words “from Egypt” and pointing out that WFP food aid enters the Gaza Strip regularly via Israel? 

And – whilst we’re on the topic of humanitarian aid – here’s an allegation any BBC correspondents still left in the Gaza Strip might perhaps like to investigate: “Fatah blasts Hamas for stealing humanitarian aid during Gaza operation”. 

“Fatah also accused Hamas of confiscating food and medicine sent to the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and other countries. It said Hamas distributed the aid among its men in mosques and sold some of it in the black market.”

Whilst previous experience shows that this may not be an entirely new story, it is surely one which would be of interest to members of the British public who responded to the BBC’s advertisement of the DEC charity appeal.  

BBC News’ blockade backgrounder not fit for purpose

With disturbing frequency we have noted here during the past few weeks many examples of BBC reporting which are in fact part and parcel of the corporation’s ongoing advocacy campaign in support of Hamas’ demand to lift border restrictions and the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.

In none of those reports were BBC audiences given a clear, accurate and factual picture of the nature of restrictions themselves and at no point has the BBC explained that what brought about, and sustains, that Israeli policy is terrorism against Israeli civilians emanating from the Gaza Strip.

On August 13th those repeated failures to accurately and impartially inform BBC audiences were further exacerbated by the appearance of an item on BBC television news and on the BBC News website purporting to provide background information on the topic.

With the Yezidi community currently under existential threat in Iraq and the death-toll in Syria continually passing ever more tragic milestones, the BBC’s description of border restrictions on the Gaza Strip as an element of the “Mid-East crisis” can only be interpreted as a reflection of its priorities and vision. “Mid-East crisis: The blockade of Gaza – in 60 seconds” was produced by Michael Hirst of the BBC News website and in that backgrounder viewers are presented with a series of captioned images.60 seconds blockade filmed

1. “Blockade strengthened after Hamas militants took over Gaza Strip in 2007”

Yet again the BBC fails to clarify that the June 2007 Hamas coup itself was not the prime reason for tightened border restrictions but the subsequent rise in terror attacks against Israeli civilians which caused the Israeli security cabinet to declare the Gaza Strip hostile territory in September 2007. Clearly audiences cannot hope to understand this issue fully as long as the BBC continues to erase the topic of Hamas terrorism from the picture.

2. “Israel controls border crossings…”

All governments of course have an obligation to provide security for their citizens and a border with a territory ruled by an internationally proscribed terrorist organization is clearly going to demand stringent control, but the BBC manages to make Israeli actions sound exceptional and unreasonable.

3. “…and enforces sea blockade”

The all-important context of weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip by sea is erased from the picture presented to BBC viewers.

4. “Egypt controls its crossing (Rafah)”

Again – it is Egypt’s right and responsibility to do so.

5. “Egypt’s leaders oppose Hamas”

Notably the crucial context of Gaza Strip-based terrorism in northern Sinai is not mentioned.

6. “Imports are controlled by Israel”

Only imports via Israel are controlled by Israel (not those coming through Egypt) and all imports are permitted with the exception of weapons and a specific list of dual-use goods which can be used for the purposes of terrorism.

7. “Sometimes only basic supplies are allowed in”

During times of hostilities such as the present, when the Kerem Shalom crossing is often attacked by terrorists and its staff thus endangered, entry of goods to the Gaza Strip may be limited to aid, medical supplies and basic goods, with non-essentials such as cars or washing machines given a lower priority. Normally the entry of goods is a function of demand from Gaza-based businesses.

8. “Building materials are severely restricted”

The only restricted items are those same dual-use goods which can be appropriated for terrorism purposes. Even they can be imported into the Gaza Strip if the construction project is guaranteed by an international body to be for civilian purposes only.

9. “UN says concrete and steel are vital for reconstruction”

Again, civilian projects guaranteed by an international body can import the necessary materials.

10. “Israel says Hamas uses them to build tunnels and bunkers”

One would think that the BBC would have seen enough evidence recently – including with its own journalists’ eyes – to make the use of the caveat “Israel says” superfluous to that statement. Remarkably, the BBC has shown no interest whatsoever in investigating the issue of the methods and route of appropriation of construction materials for the purpose of building those cross border attack tunnels or in reporting on the civilians projects which did not come into being in the Gaza Strip because of the commandeering of those materials. 

11. “Gaza exports are restricted”

There is no restriction whatsoever on exports abroad. Israel in fact helps farmers in the Gaza Strip to bring their produce to international standards and to export it, for example, to Europe.

12. “UN: one truck per day allowed out in 2013”

As the relevant monthly reports show, from February 2013 to December 2013 inclusive (the data for January 2013 is not available), a total of 560 truckloads of exports left the Gaza Strip in 334 days. Clearly that UN claim repeated by the BBC is inaccurate. Most of the exports from the Gaza Strip are agricultural and therefore seasonal in nature. Thus we see, for example, that in February 2013 a total of 109 truckloads of exports left the Gaza Strip.

13. “UN: 57% of Gaza households are ‘food insecure'”

That isolated statistic is of course of no use to BBC audiences and notably they are given no information regarding the political agenda of its supplier. Viewers have no way of comparing that figure with food insecurity in other parts of the world or with previous years before border restrictions had to be implemented because of Hamas’ policy of both itself engaging in terrorism and permitting other terrorist organisations to do so from territory it controls.

In summary, this backgrounder is doubly problematic in that it provides BBC audiences with inaccurate information on the one hand whilst failing completely to supply the vital context concerning the terrorism which is the cause of border restrictions and the naval blockade on the other.

As an attempt to meet the BBC’s obligation to provide audiences with information which will enable them to understand “international issues” it is neither use nor ornament. As part of the BBC’s continuing campaign to amplify and promote the current Hamas agenda, this backgrounder definitely fulfils its purpose. 



BBC’s Gaza border restrictions campaign continues: the Yolande Knell edition

Three days after Wyre Davies’ visit to the Kerem Shalom border crossing for commercial goods between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the BBC apparently decided that its viewers had not heard anywhere near enough misleading, context-free and inaccurate descriptions of the situation at that crossing and so it sent Yolande Knell to report from the same place.Knell 11 8 Kerem Shalom

Notably, Knell’s August 11th report – which, in addition to being broadcast on BBC television news programmes, also appears on the BBC News website under the title “Gaza conflict: Families return home as Gaza ceasefire holds” – makes no mention of the fact that the previous day the crossing through which all goods and humanitarian aid enter the Gaza Strip had to be closed because of missile fire by terrorists (caught on CCTV cameras here) which endangered the safety of its workers.

Knell opens with her version of the standard BBC messaging:

“Supplies rolling into Gaza today, coming across the border from Israel. Most of this is bought by Palestinian businesses. And there’s aid too, but the Israelis impose tight controls. Almost no exports leave here. Now, with talks about a longer term ceasefire deal back on in Cairo, maintaining Israel’s security and lifting Gaza’s blockade are the key demands. These lorries are bringing goods into Gaza from Israel’s only commercial crossing point which is just down the road. Palestinians want it to be open more fully so they can trade effectively.”

As was pointed out here only recently, the Kerem Shalom crossing does not currently work at full capacity because there is no demand for it to do so from the Palestinian side. Should demand rise, the crossing is capable of working three shifts a day.

“Israel has invested 80 million ₪ [shekels] to expand Kerem Shalom to accommodate up to 450 trucks daily. However, due to demand on the Palestinian side, the average number of trucks that enter Gaza each day remains between 300- 350.” [emphasis added]

And what of Knell’s claim that “almost no exports leave here”? She makes no attempt to inform viewers how she quantifies “almost no” or to what period of time she refers, but before the current hostilities exports of agricultural produce were leaving the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing as can be seen in the weekly reports produced by COGAT. Most importantly, Knell fails to inform audiences that not only does Israel not place any restrictions on the export of produce abroad, it actually helps farmers in the Gaza Strip to export their vegetables and flowers, for example, to Europe.

Knell’s claim that “the Israelis impose tight controls” is of course a woefully inadequate and misleading representation of the situation. She fails to inform viewers that the only import restrictions are on weapons and dual-use goods which can be used for the purposes of terrorism – surely a highly pertinent point of background information given that less than a month has passed since the discovery of Hamas’ thirty-two cross-border attack tunnels. Also in line with the usual BBC policy, Knell neglects to inform audiences why restrictions were imposed in the first place and her presentation predictably fails to include the word terrorism at all, meaning that viewers are herded towards the misunderstanding that border restrictions are the product of some sort of Israeli vindictiveness rather than a means of trying to protect Israeli civilians by curbing the flow of arms and other materials for terrorist activity into the Gaza Strip.

Likewise, Knell’s portrayal of the situation at the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt also fails to inform viewers of the reasons for restrictions imposed by Egypt.

“And then behind me you have the Rafah crossing point with Egypt. It’s been mostly closed to travelers for the past year. But Palestinians say it should be Gaza’s gateway to the world. Currently, only those with foreign passports or residency can leave to Egypt.”

It is more than obvious that the BBC has taken upon itself to amplify Hamas’ demands concerning the restrictions on its borders with Egypt and Israel and audiences are now seeing daily reports on the topic which all promote the exact same messaging. However, not one item of BBC content has properly clarified to viewers that it was Hamas terrorism which made it necessary to impose those restrictions in the first place or what the consequences of a relaxation of restrictions are likely to be.

The BBC’s correspondents are not incompetent: they know exactly when and why those border restrictions were brought in and they are well aware of the fact that Hamas’ demand to lift restrictions stems not from any concern for the welfare of the people of Gaza, but from the dual need to be able to present an achievement as justification for initiating the recent hostilities and to be able to rearm for the next round.

Charged as they are with the responsibility of meeting the BBC’s obligation to “build a global understanding of international issues”, the consistent refusal of BBC journalists to present this highly topical issue to their audiences comprehensively, accurately and impartially is obviously a cause for very serious concern. 



More BBC misrepresentation of Gaza border restrictions from Wyre Davies

Between the commencement of Operation Protective Edge on July 8th and the beginning of the 72-hour ceasefire on August 5th, Israel transferred 1,856 trucks carrying 40,550 tons of supplies via the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip, including 37,178 tons of foodstuffs, 1,694 tons of humanitarian goods and 1,029 tons of medicines and medical supplies.

On August 8th, the BBC’s Wyre Davies (recently brought back to the region from his South America post and currently supposedly covering the Israeli side of the story) visited Kerem Shalom and produced a filmed report for BBC television news programmes which also appeared on the BBC News website under the title “BBC reports from blockaded Israel-Gaza border crossing“.Davies filmed 8 8

Davies elected not to confuse his viewers with the above statistics.

“This is the Kerem Shalom border crossing between southern Israel and Gaza. In fact we’re stood in – effectively – in no man’s land now. Israel over there, Gaza over there. And this is the main crossing for goods into Gaza itself. As you can see behind me, these are Gazan lorries picking up basic foodstuffs, some aid and other produce which will now then go into Gaza itself. It’s not very much and certainly it isn’t enough to feed over a million people in Gaza.”

Davies makes no effort to explain to viewers that in fact there is no limit on the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip with the exception of dual-use goods which can be (and are, as the discovery of 32 cross-border attack tunnels in the past few weeks has shown) used for the purposes of terrorism. He also fails to inform them that the Kerem Shalom terminal is in fact capable of handling larger volumes of goods than is currently the case or why that is:

“Israel has invested 80 million ₪ [shekels] to expand Kerem Shalom to accommodate up to 450 trucks daily. However, due to demand on the Palestinian side, the average number of trucks that enter Gaza each day remains between 300- 350.” [emphasis added]

Davies continues:

“And it’s the lifting of this regulated blockade which is of course one of Hamas’ main reasons and one main reason why Hamas says it will not extend the truce, the ceasefire, which lasted for 72 hours.”

What Davies’ reference to “one of Hamas’ main reasons” is supposed to mean is not clear, but certainly viewers could not be blamed for misinterpreting that as meaning that Hamas launches missiles at Israeli civilians because of the restrictions on the entry of certain goods into the Gaza Strip. The reality, of course, is that Hamas’ terrorism brought about those restrictions – not the other way round – but Davies fails to make that fact adequately clear to viewers, as has been the case in all BBC reporting on the topic of the blockade to date. Davies later says:

“There are peace talks currently ongoing brokered by Egypt in Cairo, but the two sides are still very far apart. While Hamas wants an end to this blockade of Gaza, Israelis want to demilitarise Gaza itself. But those are both proposals that neither side is prepared to countenance for now. So even if this temporary truce continues and does last for another week, month or even a year, the expectation is of course there will be another conflict at some point between Israel and Hamas over Gaza.”

Davies’ presentation of Hamas’ demand to lift border restrictions as being on a par with Israel’s proposal to demilitarise the Gaza Strip seriously misleads audiences. Not for the first time, this BBC report fails to inform audiences that according to existing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) :

“Except for the Palestinian Police and the Israeli military forces, no other armed forces shall be established or operate in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”


“Except for the arms, ammunition and equipment of the Palestinian Police described in Annex I, and those of the Israeli military forces, no organization, group or individual in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip shall manufacture, sell, acquire, possess, import or otherwise introduce into the West Bank or the Gaza Strip any firearms, ammunition, weapons, explosives, gunpowder or any related equipment, unless otherwise provided for in Annex I.”

Annex I states:

“In the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Police will possess the following arms and equipment:

(1) 7,000 light personal weapons;

2) up to 120 machine guns of 0.3″ or 0.5″ caliber; and

(3) up to 45 wheeled armored vehicles of a type to be agreed on between the two sides, and of which 22 will be deployed in protecting Council installations. The use of wheeled armored vehicles in the Security Perimeter, on the Lateral Roads and on their adjacent sides, or in the vicinity of the Settlements shall be approved through the relevant DCO. Movement of such vehicles along the central North-South road (Road No. 4) in the Gaza Strip may take place only after providing notification to the relevant DCO.”

Article XV of the same treaty states:

“Both sides shall take all measures necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism, crime and hostilities directed against each other, against individuals falling under the other’s authority and against their property and shall take legal measures against offenders.”

In other words, by requesting the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, Israel is in fact pressing for adherence to existing agreements – signed by the Palestinian Authority and brokered by the international community – which Hamas has breached. An understanding of that point is of course crucial to BBC audiences’ ability to understand the conflict as a whole and efforts to end this particular round of hostilities in particular. Audiences have not been provided with that information to date; had they been, they might also have better understood some of the background behind Davies’ next inaccurate statement.

“There have been four conflicts – four wars – over Gaza in the last ten years and the two sides are fundamentally very far apart.”

Those conflicts have not been “over Gaza” but escalations caused by Hamas’ continuous terrorism against Israeli civilians. Davies is not the first BBC correspondent in recent days to use the ‘four wars in ten years’ theme but audiences have at no point been informed that in fact, the residents of southern Israel have been under attack from thousands of missiles fired from the Gaza Strip since 2001.

In addition to that filmed report, Davies also produced a written version titled “After the Gaza ceasefire: Hyper-tense and under fire” which appeared on the BBC news website’s Middle East page on August 8th.Davies written 8 8

That article’s opening lines give some insight into the lack of understanding of what Hamas is and what its aims are in BBC circles: Davies is apparently under the impression that Hamas has the welfare of the residents of the Gaza Strip at heart.

“Why Hamas, and possibly other militant groups in Gaza, decided to resume firing rockets on Israel on Friday morning is perplexing.

They cite their long-standing demands that Israel should ease its economic and physical blockade on Gaza, but the one thing the war-weary and battered residents of Gaza and southern Israel need right now is calm and time to repair the damage.”

Much of that article too joins the mounting list of BBC content produced in the last few weeks which is  devoted to context-free promotion of Hamas’ demands regarding the border restrictions. 

“But, that perhaps, is part of the Hamas strategy.

They don’t want Israelis to feel safe or comfortable as long as the blockade of Gaza continues (and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem).

While Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants live, penned in, barely able to make a living – so the argument goes – why should Israelis just across the fence feel any more secure?”

Hamas’ issues with Israel of course extend far beyond any “blockade” or “occupation”, but Davies makes no attempt to inform readers of the terror organisation’s end game and stays equally mum on the topic of the Gaza Strip’s (or more accurately, Hamas’) affluent classes. He continues:

“…there’s also a realisation there will be another conflict in two or three years if the fundamental issues behind this crisis aren’t addressed.

For Hamas and its supporters in Gaza, that means lifting the blockade.

At the Kerem Shalom crossing I saw several truckloads of food, blankets and aid being transferred onto trucks on the Gazan side.

That trade (and aid) continued throughout the month-long conflict, but Gazans say it is nowhere near enough. They say they are completely dependent on what Israel decides to allow in and, for now, there are severe restrictions on building materials, concrete and other basics.

The reason for that, argues Israel, is obvious – while those materials are potentially used to build tunnels and other militant infrastructure, they’ll not be allowed in.

For Israel, the goal is peace and quiet and that means a demilitarised Gaza – something that Hamas won’t countenance in the present climate.”

There has been much promotion by the BBC of the topic of future ‘more of the same’ conflicts but no clear picture has been presented to BBC audiences with regard to the fact that Hamas’ demand to lift border restrictions – so vigorously and enthusiastically promoted by the BBC – is rooted not in concern for the welfare of the ordinary man, woman and child on the Gaza street, but primarily in the need to replenish and upgrade its weapons stocks precisely so that it can continue to instigate future conflicts in accordance with its ideology


BBC gives one-dimensional view of shortages in Gaza hospitals

The BBC has taken it upon itself to promote the theme of shortages in hospitals in the Gaza Strip – with little or no context. 

Here are just a few examples:

 An interview from November 18th with a WHO representative titled “Gaza medical supplies ‘running low’ – World Health Organisation” broadcast on BBC Television News.

A report by Ben Brown – also broadcast on BBC Television News on November 18th – in which he says:

“But there have been warnings from the World Health Organisation that the hospitals in Gaza are becoming overwhelmed and beginning to run out of supplies and really struggling to cope.”

From the same date – an entire report, headlined Gaza crisis: Every hospital ward is full by Wyre Davies, also broadcast on BBC Television News. 

Davies says:

“We’ve been down to the main hospital in Gaza – Shifa Hospital – on many occasions. I was there a couple of days ago and every single ward was full and the emergency rooms were…every half hour or so they were bringing in the victims of Israeli air strikes ..erm.. and at the time they said they could cope but the problem of course is that the longer these attacks go on, the fewer supplies they have and of course if the attacks escalate into a full ground invasion there will be significantly more casualties. There have been 50, 52, Palestinian deaths in Gaza from the fighting over the last 4 or 5 days – half of these are civilians – but if there was to be a ground invasion, that will certainly increase. …one significant development today in terms of aid and other materials getting in – the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza has been opened again this morning and that has allowed in …erm…several trucks containing aid and other basic equipment. So hopefully the hospitals and the aid agencies will be able to get their hands on some of that aid.”

Like his colleague Jon Donnison, Davies does not make it clear to audiences that the information he is repeating – both in terms of situations in hospitals and casualty numbers and causation – is coming from Hamas sources.

He also fails to mention the circumstances surrounding the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing through which supplies enter the Gaza Strip. In reality, it is the very same Hamas which is providing information to Davies about shortages in hospitals which, together with its affiliates, is also firing rockets at the border crossing and repeatedly forcing its closure. 

Another related point which Davies fails to address completely is the fact that Palestinian patients from Gaza continue throughout the hostilities to enter Israel through the Erez Crossing for medical treatment. 

Here is the Kerem Shalom crossing on November 18th:

On November 19th, replacement parts for a CT scanner were transported into the Gaza Strip via Erez Crossing.

On November 19th, fourteen Palestinians and their accompaniers travelled into Israel for medical care.

On November 20th, 118 truck-loads of medical and other supplies were scheduled to enter the Gaza Strip via Kerem Shalom, but the crossing had to be closed due to rocket fire. 

The problem of shortages in hospitals in the Gaza Strip did not, however begin with the current round of hostilities. The lack of communication and coordination between the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and Gaza’s Hamas rulers has for significant time been affecting both supplies to Gaza hospitals and the ability of patients to travel for medical treatment elsewhere.

Here is some relevant context:

The restricted medical supplies in Gaza are marked by a shortage of 400-500 varieties of medical equipment (out of a defined 700), including a shortage of surgical and anesthetic equipment.

There is an average shortage of 33% of desired types of drugs at any given time.

Medical suppliers are often reluctant to sell supplies to Gaza since there are issues with nonpayment.

All the requests for medical supplies (equipment and medicine) submitted by the international community to the Gaza CLA [The Coordination and Liaison Administration to Gaza] have been approved for entry into Gaza.

 On average medical supply requests (medicines and light equipment) are approved within a span of 24-72 hours. Coordination of approved medical supplies is completed within one working day after the organization submits the intended day of import. 

Since September 2012, international organizations, in coordination with the Gaza CLA, have imported 32 trucks of drugs and medical supplies through Kerem Shalom Crossing. This has included spare parts for dialysis machines, helium for MRI machines, and three fully ambulances. An additional five loads of medicine were imported into Gaza through the Erez Crossing through special coordination. 

Since the beginning of Operation ‘Pillar of Cloud’:

Gaza hospitals are reported to be at 80% capacity, only slightly higher than intake then during routine periods.

On November 17th the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories updated Hassin el Alshich [Gaza Health Ministry] that, despite the problematic security situation and the ongoing rocket fire, it would be possible to transfer medical supplies into Gaza.

It is misleading – as well as inaccurate – when the BBC chooses to present to its viewers with a one-dimensional picture of the situation in Gaza hospitals as though all their problems were directly attributable to Israel’s actions when that is clearly not the case – either from the point of view of Hamas’ prevention of supplies arriving by rocket fire on the crossings or from the wider view of Hamas’ role in initiating the conflict. 

BBC report on violence in Sinai

h/t DG

A group of armed men murders 16 people, steals two military vehicles – one of which it first loads with explosives – then, also equipped with additional weapons, flak jackets and explosive belts, it storms an international border, where it detonates the truck carrying the explosives whilst the second vehicle of armed men attempts to illegally infiltrate the territory of a sovereign country. 

How would you describe such an event?  

According to the BBC, it was [emphasis added] “an apparent attempt to carry out another attack” and it was executed by “militants”. 

The same BBC article (which relates to Saturday’s violent events in north Sinai) concludes with the following reassuring statement:

“Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi has stressed that there is no cause for concern, maintaining that his country is committed to all international treaties.”

So apparently we can ignore items in the Egyptian press such as this, this or this.