On the afternoon of August 19th terrorists in the Gaza Strip violated a ceasefire agreement which had been due to expire some eight and a half hours later at midnight. The BBC News website’s reporting of that event at the time was documented in this article.
Since then, several additional reports have appeared on the BBC news website’s Middle East page and presentation of the events of the afternoon of August 19th has become increasingly divorced from reality.
In the report titled “Gaza conflict: Israel ‘targets Hamas leader Deif’” from August 20th, readers were told that: [emphasis added]
“At least 19 Palestinians have died since hostilities resumed on Tuesday, with both sides blaming each other for the collapse of the Cairo peace talks.”
An insert of ‘analysis’ by Kevin Connolly informs readers:
“Hamas blames Israel for the end of the ceasefire just as Israel blames Hamas…”
In paragraphs 21 to 24 inclusive readers discover that:
“The Israeli government accused Hamas of breaking the ceasefire by launching a salvo of rockets about eight hours before it was to have expired, and told its delegation in Cairo to return home shortly afterwards.
Palestinian negotiators blamed Israel for the failure of the indirect talks.
“Israel thwarted the contacts that could have brought peace,” said Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior member of the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
However, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev rejected the accusation, saying rockets from Gaza were “a clear violation of the ceasefire” and “destroyed the premise upon which the talks were based.” “
The BBC knows full well that the ceasefire was violated by Palestinian terrorists; it reported the missile fire which broke the truce one hour after it happened and so has no need to present the sequence of events as third-party statements. And yet, rather than conveying to audiences what it knows, the BBC elects to present the issue as though it were open to interpretation.
By August 21st BBC News website presentation of the subject had become even foggier. In a report titled “Gaza crisis: Israel kills three top Hamas commanders” readers were told: [emphasis added]
“Hostilities between the two sides resumed after talks on a long-term ceasefire deal collapsed on Tuesday.”
In fact, the accurate chronology of events shows that the missile fire by Gaza Strip-based terrorists at around 15:30 on August 19th was the reason for the collapse of the talks.
The article closes with the following euphemistic description of the truce violation:
“Gaza officials say a total of 54 Palestinians have been killed since the temporary ceasefire broke down.” [emphasis added]
The August 21st article includes short profiles of the three terrorists killed.
Remarkably, no mention is made of the fact that Raed al Attar and Mohamed Abu Shamala were named by Egypt as suspects in the 2012 killing of sixteen Egyptian soldiers and that their extradition had been demanded. Neither are readers told that Attar’s name was also linked to the 2011 prison breaks in Egypt or that Attar was sentenced to death and Shamala to life imprisonment by the Palestinian Authority in 1999 for killing a policeman in Rafah.
On August 22nd the BBC News website published a report relating to the topic of some of the summary executions carried out by Hamas in recent days under the title “Gaza: Hamas says 18 suspected informants executed“. Notably, reported previous incidents of summary executions earlier on in the conflict had been ignored by the BBC and no interest is shown in this article in the topic of whether or not those executed had access to any kind of due legal process or the significance of those executions from the point of view of the fact that officially, the Gaza Strip has been under the control of the Palestinian unity government since the beginning of June.
With regard to the August 19th breach of the ceasefire, readers are told in the caption to the main photograph illustrating that article that:
“Hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians resumed, scuppering efforts at a long-term ceasefire”
In the body of the report similar euphemistic terminology is employed:
“Hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza resumed on Tuesday, scuppering efforts in Cairo to achieve a long-term ceasefire deal.”
The BBC appears to be determined to erase any trace of Hamas responsibility for the breakdown of that ceasefire – and hence the Cairo talks – from the record by failing to report events accurately and factually.