The transfer of control of the crossings in and out of the Gaza Strip was the topic of an article published on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on November 1st under the headline “Hamas hands PA control of Gaza border crossings“.
“The Islamist group Hamas has begun handing control of border crossings in Gaza to the Palestinian Authority (PA) as part of a reconciliation deal.
A ceremony at the Rafah crossing with Egypt saw a formal transfer from a Hamas official to his PA counterpart.
At the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings with Israel, Hamas offices and security equipment were being dismantled.
Next month, the internationally-recognised PA is due to take full control of security in Gaza.”
Quite how the Palestinian Authority is to “take full control of security in Gaza” when numerous heavily armed terrorist groups in the territory refuse to be disarmed is not clarified to BBC audiences.
Later on readers are told that:
“The issue of the tens of thousands of civil servants employed by Hamas in Gaza will be resolved by February 2018, but the role of Hamas’s 25,000-strong military wing was not mentioned in the agreement.”
None of the reports on the topic of Hamas-Fatah ‘reconciliation’ that have been published on the BBC News website since mid-September (see related ‘articles below’) have informed audiences of statements made by Hamas officials such as Moussa Abu Marzouk and Yehya Sinwar concerning Hamas’ refusal to disarm. This article continues that editorial policy of concealing Hamas statements such as the ones made recently by Sami Abu Zuhri in an interview with an Iranian news agency: [emphasis added]
“I assure everyone that, with regard to the current and future situation of the resistance, the national reconciliation will never harm the resistance. For this reason, after the meetings in Cairo, our first official visit was to Iran in order to stress again that we are standing fast alongside the resistance. In contrast to what some are saying, our aim in the reconciliation is to make ourselves more available to engage in resistance. In actuality, our aim in the national reconciliation is for us to be able to devote more attention to the resistance.
“In the arena of the fighting, the resistance is very strong, and can inflict heavy blows upon the Zionist enemy. We will invest all our efforts in obtaining all the tools and equipment needed for strength and might, so that we will be able to take back our rights from the enemies.”
“During the talks, no topic called disarming came up, and this matter is not under discussion. If some are dreaming of disarming the resistance, we can dash their dreams. These are dreams that will never come true.”
Moreover, as has also been the case in previous reporting, this article fails to make any mention of the Quartet principles and excludes the existing agreements between Israel and the PLO from its framing of the story, thereby steering readers to the inaccurate view that the statements from the US and Israel paraphrased in its final paragraphs are mere caprice.
“Israel and the US have expressed reservations about the reconciliation deal.
The US said any Palestinian unity government would need to recognise the State of Israel, disarm “terrorists”, and commit to peaceful negotiations. If Hamas was to play any role, he added, it would have to accept those requirements.
Israel – which like the US considers Hamas a terrorist organisation and has fought three wars with militants in Gaza – said it would not deal with a Palestinian government that “relies on Hamas”.”
If BBC audiences are to understand this story fully, they obviously need to be informed that the statements concerning a Palestinian unity government put out by the United States and Israel are in line with the Quartet Principles. The continuing failure to do so clearly hinders audience understanding of the issue.