BBC still prevaricating on purpose of Hamas tunnels

On the morning of April 15th the IDF announced the destruction of yet another cross-border tunnel originating in the Gaza Strip.

“A military spokesman said the tunnel was dug by the Hamas terrorist group and was connected to a “kilometers-long” network of other passages under the Gaza Strip.

The tunnel reached “tens of meters” into Israeli territory in the area of the northern Gaza Strip, close to the Israeli community of Nahal Oz, the army said. It was constructed after the 50-day 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to the IDF. […]

Security forces had been monitoring this tunnel network, which had been under construction for years, the spokesman said. The decision was taken to destroy the tunnel once it crossed into Israeli territory, he added.

Palestinian tunnel diggers were working their way up to the surface to construct an exit within Israeli territory when the army decided to act.”

Later the same day the BBC News website published a report titled “Israel destroys ‘longest and deepest’ Gaza tunnel” in which the underground structure constructed for the purpose of infiltration of Israeli territory in order to carry out terror attacks was described as having been dug by “militants”.

“The Israeli military has disabled a major tunnel dug by militants which reached into Israel from the Gaza Strip, officials say.”

The BBC avoided giving readers a clear and accurate description in its own words of the purpose of cross-border tunnels constructed by terror factions in the Gaza Strip:

“A military spokesman said it had been dug since the 2014 Gaza war, when Israel destroyed more than 30 tunnels which it said were meant for attacks.” [emphasis added]

Readers were not informed that during the summer 2014 conflict Hamas used cross border tunnels to infiltrate Israeli territory on four separate occasions in the space of twelve days. 

The BBC’s reporting on the topic of tunnels at the time included twenty-three seconds from Lyse Doucet and a sixty-six second ‘backgrounder’ which made copious use of the ‘Israel says’ formula.

“It [Israel] has stated the tunnels pose a threat of terrorist attacks against the Israeli population.”

Israel says tunnels like this are being used by militants to infiltrate its territory”. [emphasis added]

Just one July 2014 BBC News website report (from an outside contributor) gave audiences a clear view of the purpose of Hamas’ cross-border tunnels.

“After the failure of Hamas’ rocket forces to inflict significant damage on Israeli towns in November 2012, they decided to build a large offensive-tunnel capability that would enable them to infiltrate assault teams into Israeli villages within a few kilometres of the border or place large bombs underneath these villages.”

Since the summer 2014 conflict, what reporting there has been on the subject of efforts by Hamas and other terror groups to rebuild the network of cross-border tunnels has repeatedly avoided informing audiences of their purpose in the BBC’s own words.

In October 2017 the BBC’s report on a tunnel constructed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad amplified that terror group’s propaganda regarding its purpose. In April 2016 the BBC employed the ‘Israel says’ formula when describing the intended purpose of a Hamas tunnel discovered in the southern part of the border region. In December 2017 the same terminology was seen again.

“…Israel said it had blown up a tunnel from Gaza, which it says was being dug to enable militant attacks” [emphasis added]

Despite that prevailing editorial policy, in January of this year one BBC presenter’s comments during an interview with a senior Hamas official indicated that the corporation is actually well aware of the purpose of those tunnels.

“…you’re not prepared – are you? – to give up your weapons based control of the Gaza Strip and your continued determination to fire rockets into Israel and dig tunnels under your territory into Israeli territory in order to conduct terrorist operations inside Israel.” [emphasis added]

Towards the end of the report readers were told that:

“It was the fifth Gaza tunnel to be destroyed by the Israeli military in recent months, Col [sic] Conricus said.

Some of the tunnels have been built by Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad and others by Hamas, the Islamist group which controls Gaza.”

As was noted here last month when the BBC failed to report the discovery of another tunnel:

“…the BBC has ignored two of the four cross-border tunnels […] that have been destroyed during the past five months, barely mentioned a third and reported problematically on a fourth.”

Had it not ignored 50% of those stories, the BBC would have been able to inform its audiences that just one – rather than “some” – of the five cross border tunnels destroyed since late October 2017 was constructed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and that the other four belonged to Hamas.

Notably, this BBC report once again ignored the issue of Hamas’ diversion of construction materials and funds to the building of cross-border tunnels and as ever, BBC audiences heard nothing whatsoever about the Israeli civilians living adjacent to the border with the Gaza Strip who are under threat from such tunnels. 

Related Articles:

Comparing BBC reporting on ISIS and Hamas tunnels

BBC fails to adequately inform audiences on terrorist tunnels (and worse)

Examining Lyse Doucet’s claim that she reported new Hamas tunnels on BBC

BBC News sidesteps the real issues in Hamas tunnel collapse story

Tepid BBC reporting on discovery of Hamas cross-border tunnel

BBC News conceals part of a story on Hamas tunnels

BBC News report on Gaza tunnel equivocal about its purpose

Palestinian Islamic Jihad clarifies what the BBC did not

No BBC reporting on latest Hamas cross-border tunnel

Another Hamas cross-border tunnel ignored by the BBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BBC News absolves Hamas of truce violation, amplifies its propaganda – and refrains from naming its victim

Normally based in Dubai, Middle East business correspondent Mark Lobel appears to be the latest BBC reporter to have been ‘parachuted in’ to provide backup to the Jerusalem Bureau team covering events in Israel and the Gaza Strip.Mark Lobel Nahal Oz

On August 22nd, Lobel produced a report for BBC television news which was also promoted on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the oddly punctuated title “Israeli child ‘killed by rocket fired from Gaza’“. Whether those inverted commas were intended to convey to audiences that the BBC is not sure that four year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed or not convinced that the mortar (rather than rocket) which caused his death was actually fired from the Gaza Strip is unclear. However – as was the case in the BBC News website’s written article purportedly relating to the same incident – Mark Lobel presented his entire report without mentioning Daniel’s name.

“The Israeli prime minister has come out and offered his condolences..eh…to the family of a four year-old boy who was…ehm…was announced killed by one of these mortar…eh…rounds. What had happened is that since Israel…eh…assassinated three senior Hamas military leaders in the early hours of Thursday morning, there’ve been a flurry of rockets and mortars flying over the border. Eighty – over eighty – since midnight last night and several of these mortars all landed on a kibbutz several…ehm…meters away from the border with Gaza and medics said that a four year-old boy was playing inside his living room and got hit in the head and…eh…was killed.”

Lobel’s claim that missile and mortar fire is a result of the strike in which three Hamas terrorists were killed on August 21st of course misleads viewers by concealing the fact that terrorists in the Gaza Strip had already breached a ceasefire two days prior to that event, with particularly heavy targeting of civilian communities near the border. Lobel continues by further confusing audiences with a claim that the break-down of talks in Cairo preceded the renewed fighting. In fact it was the breach of the ceasefire by Gaza Strip-based terrorists which led to the termination of negotiations.Sommerville filmed 23 8

“And…erm…you know this is all a sign that the fighting on both sides is continuing to pick up since those failed peace talks which were being brokered by Egypt fell through. And..err…since midnight last night on the other side…err…the Israelis have launched over thirty…eh….strikes from the air at Gaza and we’ve got reports from within Gaza that four people have died since midnight.”

The following day – August 23rd – BBC television news audiences viewed a report by Quentin Sommerville (titled “Israel continues air strikes on Gaza targets” in its website version) which likewise failed to name Daniel Tragerman and misled them with regard to the reason for the end of the ceasefire on August 19th.

“This was the aftermath of an earlier Hamas mortar attack. It killed an Israeli child; the fourth civilian to die there since the conflict began. Israel promised it would escalate its campaign in Gaza as a result. After a lull of the ceasefire which ended on Tuesday, the violence and the casualties have been steadily increasing here.”

The ceasefire of course did not simply ‘end’ – it was violated by Palestinian terrorists.

Also on August 23rd a written article appeared on the BBC News website under the headline “Gaza conflict: Mahmoud Abbas urges fresh talks in Egypt“. In that report audiences were once again misled with regard to the reason for the ceasefire’s end.

“A previous Egyptian-brokered truce collapsed on Tuesday.”

In the article’s fourteenth paragraph readers were again informed of the incident in Nahal Oz without any mention of Daniel Tragerman’s name.

“On Friday, a four-year-old Israeli boy was killed in a village near the Gaza border, prompting Israel to warn it would “intensify” its operations.”

Moreover, the very next paragraph of that report consists of amplification of obviously false Hamas propaganda without any qualifying comment from the BBC.

“In an interview with Yahoo News, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal rejected the charge that his organisation targets Israeli civilians.

“We try most of the time to aim at military targets and Israeli bases,” Mr Meshaal said. “But we admit that we have a problem. We do not have the weapons available to our enemy… so aiming is difficult.” “

That same propaganda from the leader of a terrorist organization proscribed by numerous countries precisely because of its history of killing Israeli civilians was again amplified in an article appearing on the BBC News website on August 24th. The title of that report also included bizarre punctuation which implied to audiences that the launching of mortars at a border crossing might perhaps not be seen by the BBC as an attack: “Gaza conflict: Erez crossing ‘attacked’ amid Israel raids“.Erez crossing art

The article’s entire representation of the subject matter outlined in its headline is as follows:

“Israel says it has closed the Erez crossing after it came under rocket fire from Gaza, wounding four people.

The crossing is used by aid workers, journalists and Palestinians with Israeli permits to enter or leave Gaza.”

No mention is made of the fact that the people wounded in the attack – two of them seriously – were Arab-Israeli taxi drivers who had been waiting to transport patients from the Gaza Strip to hospitals in Israel.

“Hussein Abu-Einam, an eyewitness on the scene, told Army Radio: “The [drivers] sat in a shed and waited for the passengers and their relatives who were leaving Gaza for Israeli hospitals Ichilov and Tel Hashomer. Then seven shells fell — just one after the other. We didn’t have time to flee; it was a matter of a second.”

Eli Bean, head of Magen David Adom, said the paramedics who were dispatched to the crossing were forced to treat the victims under fire.

“During treatment, we were forced to deal with a number of sirens and mortar explosions fired at us. The mortar shells fell very close to those who were injured,” he said.

Up to 11 mortar and rocket rounds landed near the crossing, the army said.”

Once again, a revisionist version of the breakdown of the ceasefire on August 19th is presented in this report.

“Hostilities between the two sides resumed on Tuesday after a temporary truce, scuppering efforts by Egyptian negotiators to achieve a long-term ceasefire deal.”

And yet again – this time in the sixteenth paragraph – Daniel Tragerman goes unnamed.

“Israel had announced it would “intensify” its offensive after a four-year-old Israeli boy was killed in a village near the Gaza border.”

So too was the case in a filmed report by Alpa Patel which appeared on BBC television news as well as on the BBC News website on August 24th under the inaccurate headline “Gaza residences targeted in Israel air strikes“: the target of that strike was in fact a Hamas command and control centre.Alpa Patel report 24 8

“It followed the killing of a four year-old Israeli boy on Friday in this village near the Gaza border. Israel warned it would intensify its operations as a result. He becomes one of 68 Israelis killed in recent weeks – most of the dead are soldiers. On the Palestinian side more than two thousand have been killed – the majority are civilians.”

As we see, these five items appearing on BBC News platforms over the weekend of August 22nd to 24th all continue what is now evidently the BBC policy of concealing from audiences the reason for the breakdown of the last ceasefire on August 19th and the resulting renewal of hostilities. Not unrelatedly, Khaled Masha’al’s ridiculous claim that Hamas does not target Israeli civilians (contradicted of course on numerous occasions by his less media-savvy accomplices) is amplified unquestioningly by a news organization supposedly committed to bringing its funding public accurate and impartial news. In contrast, the BBC cannot be bothered to name a four year-old victim of the policies of the terrorist organisation whose propaganda it chooses to unquestioningly amplify. 

 

BBC report on “Israeli boy’s death” totals a sentence and a half, fails to name victim

An article titled “Gaza conflict: Israeli boy’s death ‘will intensify ops” appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on the evening of August 22nd. The BBC’s report allots a sentence and a half to the subject matter of the story as presented in its headline.Article 22 8 Daniel T

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said military operations will “intensify” after an Israeli boy was killed by fire from Gaza.

The four-year-old died in a mortar attack on a southern Israeli village near the Gaza border.”

The caption to the photograph used to illustrate the article states:

“Mr Netanyahu sent his condolences to the boy’s family and accused Hamas of firing the rocket that killed him”.

The BBC’s report is time-stamped 20:11 GMT. By that time the name of Daniel Tregerman – the four and a half year-old victim of a mortar attack by terrorists firing from the vicinity of a school in the Gaza Strip – had already been made public.  

Notably, despite particularly heavy fire on the Israeli communities close to the border with the Gaza Strip in recent days, no BBC correspondent has filed a report from that region or anywhere else in southern Israel.

More ‘last-first’ reporting in BBC account of sniper attack on Gaza border

In the early hours of the afternoon of December 24th, twenty-two year-old Saleh Shukri Abu Latif – a civilian employee of the Ministry of Defence from the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev – was working on repairs to a section of the border fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip located between Nahal Oz and Kfar Aza which had been damaged by the recent fierce storm. Saleh Abu Latif

A bullet fired by a sniper in the Gaza Strip hit Saleh in the chest. He was evacuated by air to hospital in Be’er Sheva, but died of his wounds. The attack was reportedly claimed by the PRC

The shooting of Saleh Abu Latif was preceded by days of security incidents along the same border fence including riots in which stones were thrown at Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border, attempts to breach the border fence and attempts to plant improvised explosive devices. Missiles were also fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian communities, including one which landed at a bus stop used by schoolchildren.

Despite days of rising tensions, the Hamas regime in Gaza failed to exercise control over its side of the border fence in order to prevent incidents from escalating and in accord with the terms of the ceasefire which came into effect after ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’ in November 2012.

“All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.”

Later in the afternoon of December 24th, the Israeli armed forces responded to the fatal sniper attack by targeting Hamas terror installations in the Gaza Strip including a concealed rocket launcher and a weapons manufacturing facility. According to Palestinian sources, a three year-old girl named Hala Abu Sbeikha was accidentally killed and other members of her family injured, although reports as to which family members differ, with some citing her father and some her mother and brother. 

The report on the incident (amended several times) which appeared on the Middle East page of the BBC News website under the title “Two dead in Israel-Gaza violence” was sub-headed with the following ‘last-first’ description:

“A Palestinian girl is killed in a series of retaliatory Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, after an Israeli civilian was shot dead by a sniper.”

The report itself – titled “Two dead in Israel-Gaza border violence” – also opens by reporting the later incident first.

“A three-year-old Palestinian girl has been killed in a series of retaliatory Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.

The attacks came hours after an Israeli civilian was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper while repairing the border security fence.”

Nahal Oz shooting 1

Saleh Abu Latif is not named in the BBC report and no significant additional information is provided apart from the two brief sentences below.

“The Israeli man was shot in the chest while working on the border fence near Nahal Oz. He later died in hospital.”

This BBC report has two main features. One is its promotion of equivalence (in the title, sub-heading and text) between a little girl accidentally killed in strikes on terror sites situated in areas inhabited by a civilian population and the deliberate murder of a civilian. 

The other outstanding feature of this report is its whitewashing of Hamas’ responsibility for this incident and many others (including missile fire which the BBC has largely failed to report) under the terms of the November 2012 ceasefire, as indicated in the amorphous statement:

“There has been intermittent violence along the border since a ceasefire ended an eight-day conflict between Israel and militants in Gaza in November 2012.”

The article ends by once again misleading readers in relation to the term “hostile territory”.

As has also been the case in prior BBC articles relating to recent violent incidents, no serious attempt is made in this report to inform readers of the context of escalating numbers of terror attacks and security incidents emanating from the Gaza Strip and in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in recent months. By treating each of the random cases it does decide to report (usually those involving fatalities) as separate, unrelated incidents – and whilst ignoring many others – the BBC denies audiences a complete picture of the background of rising tensions in the region and the ability to understand Israeli reactions to incidents in their proper context. 

The evening before Tuesday’s incident on the Gaza Strip border, a policeman directing traffic after a road accident was stabbed in the back by a Palestinian attacker near the community of Adam, north of Jerusalem. After surgery which included the removal of a damaged kidney, Rami Ravid’s condition improved. That incident was not reported by the BBC. 

 

More ‘last-first’ BBC reporting from southern Israel and the Gaza Strip

On the evening of Saturday, November 10th 2012, an anti-tank missile was fired from the Gaza Strip at IDF soldiers from the Givati Brigade conducting a routine patrol in a ‘David’ jeep on the Israeli side of the border, near Kibbutz Nahal Oz. 

Four soldiers were wounded: one sustained serious head injuries, one was moderately to seriously wounded, and two others sustained moderate injuries. All four soldiers have been evacuated to hospital. 

Israeli soldiers wounded in an anti-tank missile attack on the Gaza border are wheeled into Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba on November 10, 2012. (photo credit: Dudu Greenspan/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers wounded in an anti-tank missile attack on the Gaza border are wheeled into Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba on November 10, 2012. (photo credit: Dudu Greenspan/Flash90)

The jeep in which the soldiers were travelling is designed to protect its crew against light gun fire, stones or Molotov cocktails. Obviously, it is not equipped to withstand an anti-tank missile. The PFLP claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it had fired two Kornet missiles at the patrol. However, it is thought that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad may actually be responsible. The Russian-made laser-guided Kornet anti-tank missile – smuggled into the Gaza Strip via Syria or Iran – has been known to be available in there since December 2010 and was used by Hamas in the attack on an Israeli school bus in April 2011.

After the missile attack on the jeep, the IDF responded with tank fire at the suspected launching site in a location east of the Gaza City neighbourhoods of Zeitun and Sajaiya. A heavy exchange of fire followed. Palestinian news agencies reported four people dead and some thirty wounded.

In addition, missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian communities in the surrounding region and the residents are currently under instructions to stay within 15 seconds’ reach of shelters. Longer range missiles were also fired at Ashdod, for which the PIJ claimed responsibility. At the time of writing, the rocket fire continues with eight rockets in the past hour and school on Sunday has been cancelled.

The BBC report on the evening’s events is headlined: “Gaza: Palestinians killed and Israeli soldiers injured”, despite the fact that the soldiers were in Israel. 

As usual, the BBC reports the first events last:

“Four Palestinians have been killed and more than 20 injured after Israelis fired into the Gaza Strip following an attack on an army patrol jeep which injured four Israeli soldiers.”

The report includes the usual attempt by Jon Donnison to downplay the responsibility of terror groups in Gaza for the escalation of violence:

“Flare-ups in violence in and around Gaza are frequent, says the BBC’s Jon Donnison in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Periods of calm rarely last for long, our correspondent says.”

Significantly, the report fails to relate to the use by terrorists of built-up residential areas as launching sites for military-grade weapons and the resulting danger to civilians in the area and even goes on to mislead readers by quoting Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum as stating:

“Targeting civilians is a dangerous escalation that cannot be tolerated.”

No mention is made in the report of the targeting of Israeli civilians by rocket-firing squads in the Gaza Strip.  Whilst this report was being written, the rocket tally this evening has risen to eleven. 

Update:

The BBC’s report has been (apparently hastily) updated: 

“Five Palestinians have been killed and more than 20 injured in a series of clashes close to the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Four died when Israel open fired [sic] after a missile attack on an army patrol jeep which injured four Israeli soldiers.

Hamas officials said the casualties were civilians at a funeral in the Shijaia neighbourhood near Gaza City.

In a later incident, Islamic Jihad said one of its members was killed by an Israeli air strike.

Israel said it launched the attack, late on Saturday evening, after more rockets were fired from Gaza.

“A short while ago, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) targeted a rocket-launching squad in the northern Gaza Strip moments after it fired rockets towards southern Israel. A direct hit was confirmed,” an Israeli military statement said.

“Over the past few hours, 25 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel,” the statement added.”

At around 8:50 a.m. local time on Sunday morning the Israeli police stated that some 23 rockets had hit southern Israel since midnight alone and more have been reported since then. Over 30 missiles were also fired on Saturday. Four people  have been wounded in two separate rocket attacks. 

As reported by the BBC, during the night the IDF struck a rocket launching squad, with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claiming that one of its members had been killed (named as Mohammed Saeed Shkoukani, aged 20, by some Palestinian sources). The IDF also reported a direct hit on a rocket storage facility.