BBC News again ignores a missile attack on Israel

Late on the evening of February 8th the Israeli resort of Eilat was attacked with missiles fired from the Sinai Peninsula.No news

“The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three rockets headed for the southern city of Eilat late Wednesday night, while a fourth fell in an open area, the army said. […]

There were no injuries or damage reported from the rocket salvo. However, city officials said that five people were treated for anxiety attacks related to the incident. One of them was taken to the hospital, the Magen David Adom ambulance service told Israel Radio.

The rockets were fired from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, according to the Israel Defense Forces.”

The attack was later claimed by the ISIS affiliated ‘Sinai Province’ group. 

At least one of the BBC’s regional staff was aware of the attack.

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Nevertheless, the BBC apparently did not find missile attacks perpetrated by a designated terrorist organisation located in a neighbouring country newsworthy.

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BBC News website Middle East page on the morning of February 9 2017

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BBC News continues to ignore Gaza missile attacks – in English

BBC censors ‘Jewish’ from IS affiliate’s claim of missile attacks

BBC News continues to ignore Gaza missile attacks – in English

On the morning of February 6th sirens sent residents of the Hof Ashkelon district in the western Negev running for cover as a missile fired from the Gaza Strip hit Israeli territory south of Ashkelon.

Israel responded with strikes on Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip and the missile fire was later claimed by a Salafist group. Later in the day shots were fired at Israeli troops working on the fence in another area along the border with the Gaza Strip.bbc-arabic-missile-6-2

While the BBC did not produce any coverage of that missile fire in the English language, the BBC Arabic website did publish an article reporting the Israeli response.

Throughout the whole of 2016, only one of the ten barrages of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip which took place received (belated) English language coverage, while reporting in Arabic on Israeli responses to those attacks was seen in the majority of cases.

The pattern of reporting whereby missile attacks from the Gaza Strip are not covered in the English language but Israel’s response to those attacks is reported in Arabic has been predominant since the end of the summer 2014 conflict and – as we now see – continues into 2017.

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – December 2016 and year summary

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during December 2016 shows that throughout the month a total of 98 incidents took place: 87 in Judea & Samaria, ten in Jerusalem and one attack from the Gaza Strip.

The agency recorded 67 attacks with petrol bombs, 19 attacks using explosive devices, two stabbing attacks and nine shooting attacks in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem as well as one shooting attack from the Gaza Strip.

Six people – two civilians and four members of the security forces – were wounded in shooting, stabbing and IED attacks in December. Additional incidents included an attempted stabbing at Tapuach junction on December 8th, an attempted vehicular attack near Qalandiya on December 13th, a shooting attack near Ramallah on December 14th and a shooting attack near Beit El on December 25th.

The BBC News website did not provide coverage of any of the 98 attacks which took place during December.

Throughout the whole of 2016 the BBC News website reported a total of thirty-nine incidents – i.e. 2.8% of the terror attacks which actually took place. Only one of the ten barrages of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip which took place during 2016 received (belated) English language coverage. In contrast with the previous year, the BBC did report all the Israeli fatalities resulting from terror attacks that occurred during 2016.

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The BBC’s public purpose remit includes ‘Global Outlook’ which is interpreted by the BBC Trust as meaning that audiences “can expect the BBC to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world, giving insight into the way people live in other countries” and includes the pledge to “build a global understanding of international issues” and “enhance UK audiences’ awareness and understanding of international issues”.

With the BBC News website having covered of just 2.8% of the terror attacks against Israelis throughout 2016 and with none of those reports, or any other, having clarified the all-important context of the scale of attacks as a whole, it is obvious that neither global nor domestic audiences are being adequately provided with “insight” into how Israelis live.

The absence of that information is important because it means that audiences are unable to properly understand Israeli counter-terrorism measures such as the anti-terrorist fence or checkpoints. It also means that when Israel is obliged to respond to rising terrorism (as seen for example in the summer of 2014), audiences and BBC journalists alike are unable to put events into their appropriate context and thus arrive at uninformed and inaccurate conclusions.

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – November 2016

Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel: April to September 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – December 2015 and Q4 summary

‘Analysis’ from BBC R4: Hizballah doesn’t threaten Israeli civilians

Even as the US Secretary of State was still speaking on the topic of the two-state solution on December 28th, the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘PM’ was already offering coverage of that long speech by John Kerry.pm-28-12

Included in that coverage was analysis (from 05:07 here) from Ian Bremmer of ‘Eurasia Group’ – parts of which might come as something of a surprise to anyone who has been following the news from Israel in recent years – including the thousands of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip and the terror attacks against Israelis which have taken over forty lives and wounded hundreds in the past 15 months.

“Well, in the long-term Kerry’s certainly correct that an imposed one-state solution is no way to build peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But certainly in the short and medium term – and this has been going on for more than just the Obama administrations – the amount of stability that the Israelis presently enjoy with a one-state solution – even if it’s not final – is perfectly fine for them. I mean, even the Israeli Left no longer talks much about a two-state solution because there’s just not much of a Palestinian threat against Israelis these days. They don’t need Palestinian labour. With American defence support Hizballah can’t launch missiles into Israel to threaten Israeli civilians and the extraordinary surveillance – both human surveillance as well as cyber surveillance – the Israelis can do on would-be terrorists in and outside their country has helped to ensure that Israeli security is tantamount [sic]. So I mean the reality is this just isn’t a top priority for many people…”

Indeed, Israel has over the last decade developed missile defence systems that have significantly reduced casualties and damage during conflicts such as that of summer 2014. Nevertheless, those systems are not 100% effective and – contrary to Bremmer’s assertion – do not completely eliminate the threat to Israeli civilians.

“The weaponry Hezbollah has acquired in recent years also indicates that it is still adhering to the “rocket component” of its guerrilla doctrine. Its arsenal has grown in the decade since the Second Lebanon War to include 150,000 rockets. The majority are Katyushas, which are inaccurate and relatively ineffective. However, the emphasis on Katyushas is Hezbollah’s answer to the sophisticated multi-layer missile defense system Israel began developing in 2007, and which is now almost fully operational.

Lacking missiles advanced enough to bypass that system, Hezbollah likely intends to overwhelm it by sheer force of numbers. With Hezbollah expected to fire a daily average of 1,500 rockets in the next war, the cost of relying exclusively on missile interceptors would be prohibitive for Israel. Moreover, given the number of Hezbollah’s rockets, Israel’s defensive systems will not be able to intercept them all. Hundreds will likely strike the north, causing a similar disruption to civilian life and the economy as in the 2006 war.” 

The BBC itself reported earlier this year that:

“Ten years ago, it was in the north of the country that Israel was hit but a new war is expected to be more devastating – on both sides.

There is also concern that despite Israel’s air defence systems such as Iron Dome, the military won’t be capable of intercepting all of the missiles that come Israel’s way.

“More missiles and rockets will hit the centre of Israel, the big cities of Israel,” says Gen Amidror.”

Apparently in this case, the BBC’s need to fill air-time during a breaking story got the better of its obligation to provide its domestic audiences with information which will “[e]nhance UK audiences’ awareness and understanding of international issues”.

BBC News removes information on Hamas missile fire and terror designation

Earlier this week the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an article promoting Hamas’ unsubstantiated claims concerning the murder of one of its members in Tunisia which was previously discussed here.sfax-art

That article included an incomplete portrayal of Hamas’ designation as a terrorist organisation and its record of terror activity while amplifying the group’s ‘resistance’ narrative.

“Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, is seen as a legitimate resistance group by its supporters – but is classed as a terrorist outfit by the US and EU.

It refuses to recognise Israel as a country, and regularly fires rockets from Gaza into the Jewish state.

Israel has held Gaza under a blockade for the past decade, and conducted several offensives and air strikes against the territory – which it says are needed to curtail Hamas rocket fire.”

Subsequently, that section of the article was amended and the references to Hamas’ terror designation and firing of missiles at civilian communities in Israel were removed. The edited version now reads:

“Hamas, which is in control of the Gaza Strip, does not recognise Israel’s right to exist, and there have been years of conflict between the two sides.

It has occasionally sent drones across the border into Israel but these have either crashed or been shot down.”

The context of Hamas’ terror designation, its long record of terror activity and its self-declared mission to destroy Israel is obviously crucial to audience understanding of the allegations put forward in this article. Rather than improving on the incomplete information previously given, the amendments made do the exact opposite and thus reinforce the impression that the main purpose of this article was to promote Hamas’ evidence-free speculation.

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BBC rushes to amplify an evidence-free Hamas claim

BBC still touting problematic backgrounder for children

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – October 2016

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during October 2016 shows that throughout the month a total of 153 incidents took place: 103 in Judea & Samaria, 48 in Jerusalem and two incidents originating from the Gaza Strip.

The agency recorded 121 attacks with petrol bombs, 19 attacks using explosive devices, eight shooting attacks, two vehicular attacks and one stabbing attack in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem. One combined missile/mortar attack and one additional attack were launched from the Gaza Strip.

Two people were killed and 23 people were wounded (including ten members of the security forces) during October.

The terror attack in Jerusalem on October 9th in which two Israelis were killed and ten wounded was reported on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. Amendments made to the article the following day included identification of the victims.

The BBC News website did not report the missile attack on Sderot on October 5th in English but coverage was seen on the BBC Arabic language website. Among the other attacks which did not receive any BBC coverage were a shooting attack near Nil’in on October 11th (Yom Kippur), a stabbing attack on October 15th in which a soldier was wounded, a vehicular attack on October 28th, a shooting attack near Karmei Tsur on October 29th, a vehicular attack near Beit Ummar on October 30th in which three soldiers were injured and a shooting attack near Beit El on October 31st in which three soldiers were injured.

Attacks prevented by the security forces – which likewise did not receive any BBC coverage – included an incident in which two eight year-old Palestinian boys armed with knives were apprehended near Migdal Oz.

In conclusion, the BBC News website reported one (0.65%) of the 153 attacks during October and since the beginning of the year it has covered 3.2% of the terror attacks which have taken place.

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Related Articles:

Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel: April to September 2016 

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q3 2016 – part one

Between July 1st and September 30th 2016, eighty-seven reports with content relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. Some of the reports were produced by other departments (e.g. BBC Technology) or appeared on other pages of the website (e.g. ‘Europe’ or ‘Asia’) but were also posted on the Middle East page.website

Four of those articles related to the wave of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis which began in the autumn of 2015 and continued – albeit with lower intensity – during 2016. As readers can see for themselves, not one of those headlines included the term ‘terror’ and that editorial policy is similarly apparent in the reports themselves. 

(The dates in brackets represent the period of time in which each report was available to visitors to the website’s Middle East page.)

Israel seals off Hebron after surge of attacks (1/7/16 to 3/7/16) discussed here

Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian suspected of killing rabbi (27/7/16 to 28/7/16) discussed here

Israel launches Gaza strikes after rocket attack on Sderot (22/8/16 to 23/8/16) discussed here

Spate of attacks on Israelis leaves three assailants dead (16/9/16 to 18/9/16) discussed here

A further two articles related to incitement to terrorism on social media.

Israel angered by Facebook hatred rules (4/7/16 to 5/7/16) Technology discussed here

Facebook sued by Israeli group over Palestinian attacks (11/7/16 to 13/7/16) discussed here

Four reports appeared around the tenth anniversary of the Second Lebanon War and also dealt with the topic of possible future conflict between Israel and Hizballah.

Hezbollah: Five ways group has changed since 2006 Israel war (11/7/16 to 13/7/16)

Ten years on, is Hezbollah prepared for another war with Israel? (12/7/16 to 15/7/16) discussed here

Israel ‘readier’ for new Hezbollah war (12/7/16 to 14/7/16) discussed here together with report below

On patrol with the Israel Defense Forces on Lebanon border (12/7/16 to 14/7/16)

Two reports related to Hamas’ conscription of aid workers at international organisations for the purposes of terrorism.

Israel: World Vision Gaza boss diverted cash to Hamas (4/8/16 to 5/8/16) discussed here

Israel: ‘Gaza UN worker helped Hamas’ (9/8/16 to 11/8/16) discussed here

In all, 13.8% of the BBC News website’s reports covered stories relating to security/terrorism. The additional topics found in the BBC’s coverage of Israel and the Palestinians during the third quarter of 2016 will be discussed in part two of this post.

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Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q1 2016 – part one

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q1 2016 – part two

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q2 2016 – part one 

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q2 2016 – part two

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – July 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – August 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – September 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – September 2016

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during September 2016 shows that throughout the month a total of 109 incidents took place: 78 in Judea & Samaria, 26 in Jerusalem and five incidents originating from the Gaza Strip.

The agency recorded 77 attacks with petrol bombs, 19 attacks using explosive devices, two shooting attacks and six stabbing attacks in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem. One missile attack, three shooting attacks and one petrol bomb attack originated in the Gaza Strip.

Ten people (one civilian and nine members of the security forces) were wounded during September.

The BBC reported three attacks that took place on September 16th, including a stabbing attack in Hebron in which a soldier was wounded. The missile attack from the Gaza Strip on September 14th did not receive any coverage on the BBC News website.

Among the other incidents not reported by the BBC were a shooting attack at Joseph’s Tomb on September 1st in which a soldier was wounded, a shooting attack on September 4th and another two days later on the Gaza Strip border, a stabbing attack on September 17th in Hebron in which a soldier was wounded, a stabbing attack in Efrat on September 18th in which a soldier was wounded and a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on September 19th in which two police officers were wounded.

In conclusion, the BBC News website reported three (2.75%) of the 109 attacks during September and since the beginning of the year it has covered 3.55% of the terror attacks which have taken place.

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Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – August 2016

Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel: October 2015 to March 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – December 2015 and Q4 summary

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – August 2016

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during August 2016 shows that throughout the month a total of 93 incidents took place: 77 in Judea & Samaria, 13 in Jerusalem and three incidents originating from the Gaza Strip.

The agency recorded 73 attacks with petrol bombs, 13 attacks using explosive devices, one rock throwing attack and three stabbing attacks in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem. One missiles attack and two shooting attacks originated in the Gaza Strip.

Seven people (one civilian and six members of the security forces) were wounded during August.

For the first time since the beginning of 2016, the BBC News website reported – albeit belatedly – the missile fire from the Gaza Strip on August 21st but the two shooting incidents were not covered.

None of the attacks which took place in Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria during August received coverage on the BBC News website – including the stabbing of a civilian in Jerusalem on August 11th, the stabbing of a soldier at the Shaked checkpoint on August 14th or the stabbing of a soldier near Yizhar on August 24th.  

In conclusion, the BBC News website reported 1.08% of the attacks during August and since the beginning of the year it has covered 3.65% of the terror attacks which have taken place.

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Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – July 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – June 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – May 2016

Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel: October 2015 to March 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – December 2015 and Q4 summary

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – July 2016

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during July 2016 shows that throughout the month a total of 101 incidents took place: 77 in Judea & Samaria, 23 in Jerusalem and one incident originating from the Gaza Strip.

The agency recorded 73 attacks with petrol bombs, 22 of which occurred in Jerusalem. Six shooting attacks, 19 attacks using explosive devices, one vehicular attack and one stabbing attack took place in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem. Two missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip in one attack.

One Israeli civilian – Rabbi Michael Mark – was murdered in Palestinian terror attacks during July. Seven people (four civilians and three members of the security forces) were wounded.

The shooting attack near Otniel on July 1st in which Rabbi Mark was murdered and three members of his family wounded did receive coverage, together with an earlier attempted stabbing attack in Hebron. The missile attack from the Gaza Strip later the same day was not reported on the BBC News website.

Among the other attacks which did not receive coverage on the BBC News website were an attempted stabbing attack near Ariel and a stoning attack on Route 60 on July 5th, a vehicular attack near Neve Daniel on July 6th, a shooting attack near Metzad in which a civilian was wounded on July 9th, a thwarted bomb attack on the Jerusalem light rail system on July 17th, a stabbing attack on Route 60 on July 18th and an attempted stabbing at Hawara on July 31st.

In conclusion, the BBC reported one fatal terror attack and one attempted attack throughout the month of July.

In comparison with its record during 2015, we see an improvement in BBC coverage of fatal terror attacks in Israel during the first seven months of 2016 with all those attacks having been reported. Overall, the BBC News website reported 3.9% of the terror attacks which took place between January and July 2016 inclusive and its record of reporting the missile attacks launched from the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year stood at 0% at the end of July 2016.

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Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – June 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – May 2016

Reviewing the BBC News website’s coverage of terror in Israel: October 2015 to March 2016

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – December 2015 and Q4 summary