Accuracy, impartiality and context lacking in BBC Two film on Gaza

BBC Two has recently been showing a four-part series titled “Mediterranean with Simon Reeve” which will be available on BBC iPlayer for the next five months.

“Simon Reeve embarks on an extraordinary four-part journey around the Mediterranean, uncovering the wild extremes that lie behind the tourist veneer.”

In episode two of the series (also available here) its writer and presenter visited Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel and the Gaza Strip.

“Travelling south, Simon’s next stop is Israel, a country that perhaps more than any other depends on the Mediterranean for its survival. With few friends in the region, Israel has to transport most of its goods by sea. Simon joins the Israeli Navy who patrol the coast and protect the country’s offshore oil reserves using the latest military weaponry and technology, including unmanned, combat-ready drone boats.

From Israel Simon crosses one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders to reach the Gaza Strip. Palestinians and Israelis have endured a seemingly endless cycle of violence and in Gaza the result has been devastating destruction. Many building materials are restricted by an Israeli blockade on Gaza, but Simon meets an inspiring young woman who has helped reconstruction efforts by inventing an ingenious method of making bricks from ash. It’s a rare ray of hope in one of the most troubled regions of the Mediterranean.”

Informed viewers may well have raised an eyebrow at Reeve’s failure to mention the relevant context of UN Security Council resolutions forbidding the presence of armed militias in the area of southern Lebanon he described as “territory controlled by Hizballah” while en route to visit the terror organisation’s ‘museum’.

In addition to a trip on a navy boat, Reeve’s trip to Israel included a desalination plant and a visit to “party town” Tel Aviv. At the end of his subsequent trip to the Gaza Strip Reeve declared:

“So much about the Arab-Israeli conflict is about picking a side and personally I refuse to. My heart breaks for the suffering of the Jewish people throughout history. My heart breaks for the suffering of the Palestinians. So many opportunities for real, lasting peace have been lost here and we see two sides that seem in many ways to be moving further apart, not closer together.”

That monologue however came after viewers have been presented (from 42:27) with a fifteen-minute context-free, politicised and, in parts, inaccurate view of the Gaza Strip.

After a brief reference to “missiles launched from Gaza” Reeve told viewers:

“I crossed one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders. So this is a long walk through a cage – a caged passageway that takes us from the very modern, pretty wealthy state of Israel to the much poorer and densely packed Gaza Strip. I’ve never been through a border quite like this. It is extraordinary in every possible sense and – my God – you look across here…look at the barrier that encircles Gaza. It’s a very forbidding, foreboding place to walk towards, quite frankly. There’s a…there’s a dehumanisation of the people who live here. The whole process makes you feel like you’re entering the cage of the wild animals.”

The concrete barrier near the Erez Crossing pointed out by Reeve of course does not ‘encircle’ Gaza at all. Reeve however did not bother to interview anyone from Israeli communities such as Netiv HaAsara which are protected from Palestinian terrorism by that barrier or make any effort to explain its purpose.

Having entered the Gaza Strip, Reeve teamed up with “our guide in Gaza” – failing to clarify that he is a BBC employee before viewers heard Rushdi Abu Alouf promote political propaganda.

Abu Alouf: “Of course they keep calling Gaza the biggest open-air prison which is true because it’s closed from four sides. So Israel is calling this strip of land is like a hostile entity.”

Viewers got no explanation as to why Israel declared the Gaza Strip a hostile entity in September 2007 and Reeve next misled BBC audiences with an inaccurate portrayal of how and when Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority.

Reeve: “Since elections in 2006 Gaza has been controlled by Hamas – a militant Islamic group considered terrorists by Israel and many Western governments.”

Viewers also heard a ‘creative’ portrayal of the purpose of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad military position.

Abu Alouf: “They operate in this area because it’s not far from the border so they always try to be ready for any Israeli escalation.”

Audiences were given an inaccurate (even according to previous problematic BBC reporting) account of civilian casualty figures during the 2014 conflict (47:55).

Reeve: “Israelis and Palestinians have endured endless cycles of violence. Here militants can fire rockets into Israel. Israel can attack with overwhelming force. Weeks of conflict here in 2014 between Israel and Palestinians left two thousand civilians dead, including an estimated 500 children.” [emphasis added]

He went on:

Reeve: “Eighteen thousand homes were destroyed. Israel restricts the supply of many building materials like cement into Gaza – Israel says to prevent Hamas building tunnels for attacks.” [emphasis in the original]

Reeve appears to have sourced the number 18,000 from UNOCHA – where that figure is presented as including partly damaged structures rather than the number (11,000 according to other UN reports) of dwellings “destroyed”.  Of course millions of tons of dual-use goods including cement have been imported into the Gaza Strip since the 2014 conflict under a UN supervised mechanism. Reeve made no effort to inform audiences of Hamas’ proven misappropriation of construction materials for terrorism purposes that include cross-border tunnels.

Failing to explain to viewers why “Gaza is under blockade” or why electricity supplies only run for four hours a day, Reeve gave audiences a simplistic view of Gaza’s economy which failed to include any mention of the relevant topics of the policies and actions of Hamas or the Palestinian Authority.

Reeve: “But the blockade here is devastating Gaza’s economy. Gaza now has among the highest unemployment rates in the world and it’s believed most of its people survive on less than $2 a day.”

Reeve: “But today Gaza’s fishing industry is in crisis. It’s thought less than half of Gaza’s fishermen are still putting out to sea. Across the Mediterranean fish numbers are in steep decline. Here fishermen face additional challenges.”

Viewers were even told by a Gaza fisherman that fish do not come any closer than nine miles from the shore – with no challenge from Reeve.

Reeve: “This part of the Mediterranean is completely empty.”

Fisherman: “Fish can only be found nine miles out. The Israeli army only allows us to go out six miles.”

Although Reeve acknowledged that he had been unable to verify an account of an incident in which the same fisherman claimed to have been shot by Israeli forces, the BBC aired it anyway. No effort was made to introduce the relevant context of arms smuggling by sea to the Gaza Strip.

With no mention having been made of Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip thirteen years ago, audiences were led to believe that Israel is “the occupier”.

Abu Alouf: “Look for young people in Gaza the only thing [they] know about the Israelis is that they are the occupier who come in tanks and aeroplanes and bomb Gaza.”

Simon Reeve ended his visit to the Gaza Strip by telling viewers of this film – categorised in the credits as a “current affairs production” – that:

Reeve: “The situation here is utterly shocking and maddening.”

Significantly, BBC Two audiences heard nothing whatsoever about Hamas’ agenda of destroying the Jewish state – or whether or not Reeve finds that and the terrorism against Israeli civilians which aims to bring that agenda about “utterly shocking and maddening”.

Clearly impartiality and accuracy were not at the forefront of priorities for the makers of this context-lite (especially in comparison to Reeve’s previous efforts to explain the Cyprus conflict) segment of Simon Reeve’s film.

Related Articles:

BBC News continues to promote dubiously sourced Gaza statistics

BBC continues to avoid independent verification of Gaza casualty ratios

More context-free BBC portrayal of Gaza construction imports

 

 

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An upcoming event in London

Readers based in the UK may be interested in attending an event organised by UK Lawyers for Israel which is to be held in London on September 26th.

“Lord Trimble will reflect on the continuing relevance of the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010.  The Commission was set up by the Israeli Government to investigate the arrest of the Gaza flotilla and the controls imposed by Israel on the transfer of goods to Gaza. It was led by retired Israeli Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel and Lord Trimble was one of the two international observers.

Lord Trimble is former first Minister of Northern Ireland, one of UKLFI’s patrons, and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The Turkel Commission investigated whether Israel’s actions in preventing the arrival of ships in Gaza were in accordance with international law.   It examined the security considerations for imposing naval restrictions on the Gaza Strip and the actions taken by the organisers and participants in the flotilla.  The first part of the findings, released in January 2011, concluded that both Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza and its actions when it intercepted the flotilla were in accordance with international law.

This will be an opportunity to hear a fascinating perspective on International Law concerning the restrictions on the transfer of goods to Gaza, and how far Israel can go to protect its borders.”

Details and tickets here.

 

BBC ignores British links to failed ‘flotilla’ agitprop

Late last month we noted that a small propaganda ‘flotilla’ bound for the Gaza Strip was expected to arrive in the region around the end of July.

The first boat was intercepted on July 29th.

“The Israeli Navy on Sunday stopped a boat that was trying to break the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip and started to tow the vessel to the port in Ashdod.

The “Freedom Flotilla” group said that the boat had been “seized” and that the ship had received a warning from the navy prior to the interception. […]

“The forces made it clear to the boat that it was violating the blockade and that any humanitarian supplies [it is carrying] can be delivered to Gaza through the port of Ashdod,” the military said in a statement. “The activity ended without any unusual incidents. The boat is being towed to the port of Ashdod at this time.””

The ‘medical supplies’ that the organisers claimed the boat was carrying amounted to this:

photo credit: COGAT

On August 4th it was announced that the second boat had been intercepted.

“The IDF announced Saturday morning that it had stopped a boat attempting to break the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The military said in a statement that there were no “exceptional events” during the course of the incident, and that the boat was towed to port in Ashdod. […]

The flotilla was organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella of organizations aiming to end the closure of Gaza, and set sail from the Danish port of Copenhagen. […]

The flotilla’s two-month journey saw the ships stopping off at several European ports to take part in activities supporting the Palestinians’ so-called “March of Return.””

The link between the flotilla and the ‘Great Return March’ is of course not coincidental: as noted here previously, one of the organisers of both those publicity stunts is UK-based Zaher Birawi who, as the Jerusalem Post reports, “was designated as a member of a terrorist organization – Hamas Headquarters in Europe – by Israel’s Justice Ministry in 2013”.

Despite the connections of the British based activist to a potentially incendiary publicity stunt staged by an organisation with links to more than one terror group,  the BBC apparently did not consider this story to be of interest even to its domestic audiences – which of course include British MPs and Peers who have in the past been briefed by Zaher Birawi on topics such as “violence in the occupied territories” or attended events in Parliament put on by one of the other organisations with which he is involved.

 

 

BBC silent on planned PIJ maritime attack

As readers may recall, the ‘Palestinian Center for Human Rights’ (PCHR) was the source of baseless claims concerning ‘war crimes’ which appeared in BBC content less than 24 hours after the beginning of the summer 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas. The group’s director was interviewed by the BBC on several occasions during that conflict and, as has been noted here previously, the PCHR is one of several NGOs uncritically quoted and promoted by the BBC despite being active in the lawfare campaign against Israel.

Moreover, the PCHR was one of the sources used by UNOCHA for the compilation of casualty figures and civilian/combatant ratios in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 conflict. Those figures were unquestioningly quoted, promoted – and even defended – by the BBC without any independent verification having taken place and are still being cited to this day in its content.

On March 12th 2018 the PCHR put out a statement calling upon “the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to intervene to stop all Israeli violations against fishermen and allow them to fish freely in the Gaza Sea”. The reason for that statement was the arrests of a number of fishermen near Rafah – described by the PCHR as “Israeli ongoing attacks against Palestinian fishermen”.

Photo credit: IDF Spokesman

On April 4th the background to that story was made public.

“Security forces arrested a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group off the Gaza coast suspected of planning to sink an Israeli naval patrol boat and kidnap any survivors last month, Israel revealed on Wednesday. […]

This plot was foiled on the night of March 12, when the navy’s 916th Patrol Squadron stopped a Palestinian boat that had left the designated Gaza fishing zone. […]

The crew was brought into Israeli custody for questioning, including Amin Saadi Muhammad Jumma’a, 24, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad who told interrogators that he had received instructions from his commanders to prepare to carry out the attack on Israeli Navy ships, according to the Shin Bet and IDF. […]

Jumma’a, a resident of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, told interrogators that the plan was for one boat to act as a diversion by leaving the fishing zone so that a navy ship would approach it.

“A second boat would attack the ship, firing a Kornet (anti-tank) missile at it, with the intention of causing injury and death to the soldiers on board,” the statement said

A third boat would then arrive on the scene and take the wounded soldiers hostage and steal the bodies of those killed, the security forces said.”

Unsurprisingly, BBC audiences have to date seen no reporting at all on that attack planned by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad – which is also among the organisers of the ‘Great Return March’.

Whether or not this latest example of the PCHR’s cynical and politicised distortion of events will do anything to convince the BBC that it is not a reliable and unbiased source of information worthy of unquestioning promotion by a corporation committed to accurate and impartial reporting of course remains to be seen.

Related Articles:

BBC quoted and promoted NGO supports cash for terror

Source of BBC’s ‘war crimes’ allegations lies about Palestinian victim of terror

BBC News continues to tout inaccurate portrayal of the ‘Mavi Marmara’

On several occasions in the past the BBC has misrepresented the ‘Mavi Marmara’ – a passenger ship in the 2010 flotilla – as an “aid ship”.

For example in March 2013 BBC audiences were told: [all emphasis added]

“….nine Turkish activists on a boat called the Mavi Marmara taking aid to Gaza. That boat was boarded by Israeli marines and nine of the activists were killed.”

“Nine people were killed on board the Turkish aid ship, Mavi Marmara, when it was boarded by Israeli commandos while trying to transport aid supplies to Gaza in May 2010 in spite of an Israeli naval blockade.”

And in June 2016:

“It was the Mavi Marmara episode in May 2010, when Israeli naval commandos boarded a Turkish-flagged aid vessel which was aiming to breach Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, that caused the rupture.”

And in October 2016:

“Bilateral relations went into the deep freeze in May 2010 when Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara aid ship as it tried to breach the blockade of Gaza. Ten Turkish activists on board were killed.”

As has been clarified here previously, the Mavi Marmara was of course not an “aid ship” at all. The UN’s Palmer Report (p. 47), documented that it carried 546 passengers but no humanitarian aid supplies for the people of the Gaza Strip.

“If the flotilla had been a purely humanitarian mission it is hard to see why so many passengers were embarked and with what purpose. Furthermore, the quality and value of many of the humanitarian goods on board the vessels is questionable. There were large quantities of humanitarian and construction supplies on board the Gazze 1, Eleftheri Mesogeio and Defne-Y. There were some foodstuffs and medical goods on board the Mavi Marmara, although it seems that these were intended for the voyage itself.  Any “humanitarian supplies” were limited to foodstuffs and toys carried in passengers’ personal baggage. The same situation appears to be the case for two other of the vessels: the Sfendoni, and the Challenger I. There was little need to organize a flotilla of six ships to deliver humanitarian assistance if only three were required to carry the available humanitarian supplies. The number of journalists embarked on the ships gives further power to the conclusion that the flotilla’s primary purpose was to generate publicity.”

On at least two occasions (most recently in October 2016) the BBC has corrected its inaccurate portrayal of the ‘Mavi Marmara’ but that, however, is obviously not enough to prevent the inaccuracy from being repeated.

On December 9th an article appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “Turkey drops case against Israeli officers in Gaza flotilla killings“. The opening paragraph reads:

“A Turkish court has dropped a case against four Israeli military officials charged over a deadly raid on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza in 2010.” [emphasis added]

mavi-marmara-art-9-12

Especially given the previous corrections, it is of course difficult to understand why that inaccuracy is repeated time after time by BBC News.

Update: following communication from BBC Watch, the article was amended and its opening paragraph now reads as follows:

mavi-marmara-art-amendment

 

BBC News ignores yet another case of Hamas maritime smuggling

As has been observed here on several occasions in the past, the BBC chooses not to tell its audiences in its own words why Israel placed a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2009.

Photo credit: IDF Spokesman

Photo credit: IDF Spokesman

“… the blockade, which Israel says is a necessary security measure.” (link to source

Israel says the blockade aims to stop the supply of arms or other items for military use, and to put pressure on the Hamas administration.” (link to source)

“Israel tightened maritime restrictions on Gaza from 2007, leading to a blockade which it says it [sic] a vital security measure against the militant Islamist group Hamas, which administers the territory.” (link to source)

Israel says the naval blockade is necessary to stop weapons being smuggled to militants within Gaza.” (link to source) [all emphasis added]

As has also been documented here (see ‘related articles’ below), when stories have emerged which clarify the reasons for the naval blockade’s existence, the BBC has refrained from reporting them to its audiences. Recently another case of maritime smuggling for Hamas by a Gaza Strip fisherman came to light.

“A 22-year-old Gazan fisherman was indicted Sunday in the Be’er Sheva District Court for engagement in criminal activity against Israel on behalf of Hamas. […]

According to the indictment, in 2013 activists from the Hamas military brigade of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam approached al-Saidi seeking his assistance in acquiring military and diving equipment using a boat he received from Hamas.

Al-Saidi was asked to smuggle 50 diving suits, 50 flippers, 20 sets of binoculars and 6 oxygen balloons in return of $1,000. […]

He later attempted to smuggle a number of weapons amounting to 200kg, according to the indictment, for $1,200. During the operation however, he was spotted near Egypt by the country’s army, prompting its soldiers to fire upon him, injuring one of his accomplices in the process.”

Once again, there has been no BBC reporting on this case – which is the third such story ignored by the BBC in the last six months alone. The corporation’s funding public could therefore be forgiven for arriving at the conclusion that the broadcaster has no intention of providing them with the kind of information which would contribute to their “awareness and understanding” of why a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip is necessary.

Related Articles:

BBC News passes up on Gaza Strip weapons smuggling story

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

BBC’s Abualouf promotes Hamas “fishermen” PR line

BBC ignores extension of Gaza fishing zone

BBC ignores extension of Gaza fishing zone

Over the years BBC audiences have been given a very specific, largely context-free, portrayal of the fishing industry in the Gaza Strip. In August 2014, for example, Orla Guerin told viewers that:

SONY DSC

“In Gaza harbour plenty of boats were idle today. Only a few would set sail, even in a ceasefire. Our skipper was Ramez Bakr [phonetic]. Seventy relatives depend on the income from this boat but Israel’s blockade limits where he can fish. It controls access to Gaza from land, sea and air. He’s looking to the negotiators in Cairo to secure a seaport – a key Palestinian demand. ‘The people are hungry’ he tells me ‘and the economy has died. This is why Hamas is fighting Israel: to open the siege and the borders. We’ll be very unhappy if the talks fail.’”

In a backgrounder called ‘Life in the Gaza Strip’ which was originally produced in 2012 but updated in July 2014, BBC audiences are told that:

“Following the November 2012 ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the fishing limit was extended from three nautical miles to six. However, it has been periodically reduced to three nautical miles in response to rocket fire from Gaza. Israeli naval forces frequently open fire towards Palestinian fishing boats approaching or exceeding the limit. The UN says if the limit was lifted, fishing could provide employment and a cheap source of protein for the people of Gaza.”

In April 2016 the Gaza Strip fishing zone was extended for the duration of the spring season to nine nautical miles but the BBC’s English language services did not report that change at the time.

As of November 1st 2016, a similar 50% extension will be put in place for a period of two months.

“COGAT said that it made the decision “to facilitate increased activity in Gaza Strip’s fishing sector, which is an [important] source of income.”

A similar measure to expand the fishing zone between April and June 2016 resulted in a 15% increase in the total output of fish, compared to the same period in 2015, according to COGAT.

The total output of the fish market in Gaza stands at NIS 6 million annually. […]

COGAT also said that it hopes to keep the zone open for the fishing season, but warned fishermen against taking advantage of the expansion.

“We emphasize that the expansion of the [fishing zone] is conditioned on the fishermen respecting the agreement [of nine nautical miles] and not exploiting it to smuggle or penetrate Israel’s territory,” the statement added.”

To date there has been no BBC coverage of that October 27th announcement and with the corporation also having repeatedly failed to report maritime weapons smuggling attempts (see ‘related articles’ below), it is obvious that audiences are not being provided with the information they need in order to be able to understand this particular “international issue“.

Relates Articles:

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

BBC News passes up on Gaza Strip weapons smuggling story

BBC News again misrepresents the ‘Mavi Marmara’ as an “aid ship”

October 19th saw the appearance of an article by Selin Girit titled “Gas pipeline hope heals rupture in Israel-Turkey ties” in the ‘Features’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page.girit-art-19-10

Readers are told that:

“Bilateral relations went into the deep freeze in May 2010 when Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara aid ship as it tried to breach the blockade of Gaza. Ten Turkish activists on board were killed.”

The Mavi Marmara was of course not an “aid ship” at all. As documented in the UN’s Palmer Report (p. 47), it carried 546 passengers but no humanitarian aid supplies for the people of the Gaza Strip.

“If the flotilla had been a purely humanitarian mission it is hard to see why so many passengers were embarked and with what purpose. Furthermore, the quality and value of many of the humanitarian goods on board the vessels is questionable. There were large quantities of humanitarian and construction supplies on board the Gazze 1, Eleftheri Mesogeio and Defne-Y. There were some foodstuffs and medical goods on board the Mavi Marmara, although it seems that these were intended for the voyage itself.  Any “humanitarian supplies” were limited to foodstuffs and toys carried in passengers’ personal baggage. The same situation appears to be the case for two other of the vessels: the Sfendoni, and the Challenger I. There was little need to organize a flotilla of six ships to deliver humanitarian assistance if only three were required to carry the available humanitarian supplies. The number of journalists embarked on the ships gives further power to the conclusion that the flotilla’s primary purpose was to generate publicity.”

The same inaccuracy has been seen in previous BBC reports and it has on occasion (though not consistently) been corrected or amended. Despite that, nearly six and a half years after the incident and over five years since the publication of the Palmer Report, the BBC continues to promote an inaccurate portrayal of the Mavi Marmara, its purpose and its passengers

Update:

Following the publication of this post and communication from BBC Watch, the article was amended and the above passage now reads as follows:

girit-art-amended

 

 

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

The BBC’s portrayal of the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip has long been marred by inaccurate representation of the date of its introduction, unnecessarily qualified framing of its purpose using the “Israel says” formula and a lack of information about Hamas’ efforts to smuggle weapons and materials for the purpose of terrorism by sea. On occasion, BBC reports have even amplified the tendentious claim that the naval blockade is a form of “collective punishment”.

Photo credit: IDF Spokesman

Photo credit: IDF Spokesman

However, when stories that show why the naval blockade is necessary have come to light, the BBC has refrained from reporting them and that policy was again evident when another such story recently emerged.

“A Hamas operative picked up by the Israeli Navy last month is suspected of attempting to smuggle explosive materials from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet security service announced on Tuesday after a gag order on the case was lifted.

Khamis Jihad Said Ara’ishi, 24, was arrested on August 25 after his ship “deviated from the approved sailing area,” the Shin Bet said.

Israeli naval forces patrolling off the coast of the Gaza Strip called for his vessel to stop. When it didn’t, the sailors opened fire, wounding Ara’ishi.

During the arrest, the Israeli forces were fired upon from the shore, though none of them were injured, the IDF said.

Ara’ishi was taken to the Ashdod port and then to an Israeli hospital to receive medical care and to be questioned, while his boat was allowed to return to Gaza.

According to the Shin Bet, 24-year-old Ara’ishi told interrogators he had been involved in a number of smuggling efforts since 2012 that brought materials into the Strip for the purpose of manufacturing weapons for Hamas.”

With yet another would-be-blockade-busting ‘flotilla’ perhaps currently en route (and repeat passenger Mairead Maguire no doubt ready to give media interviews), this story obviously presented a good opportunity for the BBC to clarify to its audiences why the naval blockade which such publicity stunts seek to breach is still necessary.

Likewise, another story about a recently thwarted attempt to smuggle equipment (this time vehicles) to Hamas, which could have helped explain to BBC audiences why the restrictions on the entry of dual-use goods and weapons into the Gaza Strip are necessary, was once again ignored by the BBC’s journalists in the region.

Related Articles:

BBC’s Abualouf promotes Hamas “fishermen” PR line

BBC News passes up on Gaza Strip weapons smuggling story

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.