As readers may have heard, the Israeli Security Agency announced on November 27th that it had arrested some 30 Hamas operatives, including some foreign nationals, located throughout Judea & Samaria. The Hebrew announcement is available here and it notes the role of the Turkey-based Hamas official Saleh al Arouri in organizing and financing this latest terror network to be uncovered.
“As with the previous network, the man behind the terrorist grouping was Saleh al-Arouri, a Hamas leader who was deported from the West Bank to Turkey in 2010, the sources said.
Arouri, they said, built up and funded the network, and has effectively established a Hamas command post in Turkey which is leading terror efforts in the West Bank. Arouri is reportedly aided by dozens of operatives, some of whom were deported by Israel in the wake of the Gilad Shalit prisoner deal in 2011.”
As was the case when a previous network was discovered in August of this year (see here and here), BBC coverage of this story fails to adequately inform audiences of the fact that Hamas’ operations in territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority are being run from a NATO member country.
The BBC News website’s Middle East page covered the story on November 27th with an article going under the interestingly punctuated title of “Israel ‘foils Hamas cell planning Jerusalem attacks’“. Apparently the BBC is not totally convinced either that a Hamas plot was foiled or that the cell was planning attacks.
Notably, in a story about a Hamas terror cell, BBC audiences were not informed of the highly relevant subject of Hamas’ terror designation, with the organization being portrayed in the following terms:
“Hamas, which dominates Gaza and backs the Palestinian Authority’s national unity government in place since June, has so far not commented.”
The operatives themselves were described throughout the article exclusively as “militants”.
“Shin Bet said it had arrested more than 30 militants who were trained abroad, and recovered weapons and explosives.”
“Shin Bet said the militants whose arrests were revealed on Thursday had plotted to attack Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium and a tram, as well as carry out car bombings and kidnap Israelis in the West Bank and oversees.”
Whilst the BBC is obviously aware of the cell’s connections to Hamas’ Saleh al Arouri in Turkey, the article failed to expand on that issue and to provide audiences with the necessary background and context.
“The suspects – who include a number of Palestinians from the West Bank, two Jordanians and a Kuwaiti – had received orders from Hamas officials based in Turkey, it added.”
The report did, however, include the following paragraph in which Israelis – mostly civilians – murdered in terror attacks and the terrorists who carried them out – several of whom were members of assorted terror organisations – were presented side by side.
“Over the past month, 11 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, including four rabbis and a policeman who were stabbed and shot at a synagogue in Jerusalem last week. Twelve Palestinians have also been killed, including several of those who carried out the attacks.”
The same story was also covered on November 27th by BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ (available from 34:10 here). In that item the role played by Hamas operatives based in Turkey in planning, financing and purchase of weapons for this latest plot was again downplayed and Hamas’ terror designation was similarly ignored. Presenter James Coomarasamy introduced the item by presenting the ISA’s announcement in words (such as “militant organization” and “Israeli-occupied West Bank”) which were obviously not included in the original statement.
Coomarasamy: “Now, the Israeli security forces say they’ve made more than 30 arrests to disrupt what they describe as a plan by the militant organization Hamas to attack targets in Jerusalem and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Our correspondent in Jerusalem is Kevin Connolly.”
Connolly: “Israel’s intelligence agency – the Shin Bet – says the plot which it uncovered in September had something of an international character. The plans described were orchestrated in Turkey by officials of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Several of the militants were recruited in Jordan and some military training had been conducted in Syria and in Gaza. The Shin Bet statement says the group planted two bombs during the summer which exploded on the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank without causing injury and that further, more ambitious, operations were planned.”
In fact the two incidents Connolly described took place in Area C at the Rehalim junction and the Jit junction.
“In the first attack, an explosion was reported at the Rehalim junction, near the Tapuah junction, in an area used by Israeli hitchhikers.
Shortly afterward, two pipe bombs were hurled at the nearby Jit junction. The bombs were thrown at a main road used by hitchhikers.”
As ever, we see the BBC portraying an area which is under Israeli control according to the terms of the Oslo Accords signed willingly by the representatives of the Palestinian people and which has yet to have its status determined in final status negotiations as “occupied Palestinian territory”, despite the fact that the BBC style guide states:
“Strictly speaking, the phrase ‘Palestinian Territories’ refers to the areas that fall under the administration of the Palestinian Authority…”
“These were to include shooting attacks and attempted kidnappings at Jewish settlements on the West Bank. The main football stadium in Jerusalem and the city’s light railway system are also said to have been targets. It’s not clear how close those plans were to being realized but the scale of operations is certainly substantial.”
Connolly’s account lasted 51 seconds. Following that, the ‘Newshour’ editorial team found it appropriate to devote well over double that amount of time to the amplification of unadulterated propaganda from a member of the terrorist organization concerned.
Coomarasamy: “Kevin Connolly in Jerusalem. So what does Hamas have to say about these allegations? Osama Hamdan is a senior member of Hamas based in Lebanon.”
Hamdan: “As everyone knows, the military wing of Hamas always announces the attacks they carry out against Israelis. Without the announcement we cannot trust the Israeli story. Israelis have their own stories. They fake and create all the time just to say that the Palestinians are to be blamed. We cannot also say if they are members of the military wing of Hamas without a declaration of Al Qassam brigades.”
Coomarasamy: “So…so you’re not saying it is impossible that this was being planned; you’re just saying you personally don’t know?”
Hamdan: “What we are saying clearly is that the resistance against occupation is a normal right for Palestinians and any nation under occupation. Israelis are trying to say that they are now under terrorist attacks, which is not the actual fact. So maybe there are some Palestinians who are trying to protect their people and Israelis are trying to create a story around it.”
Coomarasamy: “So you are arguing with the interpretation of what these people might have been planning rather than the fact that they might have been planning something?”
Hamdan: “No-one knows what they were planning to do. The fact here to be concentrated on is that we have an occupation and resisting to occupation is a normal right according to international law. If they were planning to resist the occupation, then they have the right to do so.”
Coomarasamy: “So you are saying that they have the right to attack football stadiums, light rail systems, which is what the Israelis are saying was being planned. You believe that is legitimate?”
Hamdan: “Well no-one trusts the Israeli story. So they have the right to resist the occupation and this is the fact which we believe in.”
Coomarasamy: “What about the Israeli claim that they were being trained in Turkey and Jordan?”
Hamdan: “Well, Israelis know better than anyone else that this is a lie. But I think they want to use that for their own purpose. No-one can say there’s training under the supervision of Jordanians or Turks. Everyone knows that this is not happening. I think by creating false links between Hamas and some countries, they’re trying to provoke some international reaction against those countries.”
Coomarasamy: “Osama Hamdan from Hamas, there.”
Of course there has been no claim made that either Jordan or Turkey as countries were involved in training the terrorist cell, but that training by Hamas terrorists took place in Jordan, Turkey, Syria and the Gaza Strip. But as is the case with the rest of Hamdan’s falsehoods, that one too went unchallenged, meaning that BBC audiences worldwide were misled on that issue as well as by the claim that there is no terror in Israel and that terrorism is a “normal right” under “international law”.
Notably, recent BBC reports on terror-related arrests in the UK have not included promotion of the notion of a “normal right” to murder British citizens. BBC audiences and politicians would of course be unlikely to accept that sort of framing of domestic terror stories but – as we have noted here on numerous occasions – a double standard continues to be employed by the BBC when it comes to reporting terrorism in Israel.