BBC News continues to conceal Hamas refusals to disarm

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.

Related articles:

BBC adds superfluous punctuation to US and Israeli statements on Hamas

BBC News continues to mislead on Gaza electricity crisis

BBC News sidesteps the topic of Hamas disarmament yet again

Superficial BBC reporting on Hamas-Fatah ‘unity’ returns

 

 

 

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Another deficient BBC News report on UNESCO denial of Jewish heritage

On October 18th – four days after the appearance of a previous report on the same topic – the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an article which, after amendment, is now titled “Unesco passes contentious Jerusalem resolution“.unesco-art-2

Like the previous article, this one too failed to provide BBC audiences with any of the relevant context concerning prior UNESCO motions and resolutions which have similarly erased Jewish history.

Readers were again not told of the repeated episodes of pre-planned Palestinian rioting on Temple Mount which have necessitated measures mentioned in the BBC’s report:

“It [the resolution] criticises Israel’s activities at holy places in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. […]

The resolution repeatedly denounced Israeli actions, including the use of force, imposition of restrictions on Muslim worshippers and archaeological work.”

No factual information was provided to enable audiences to put the allegations made in the resolution’s wording into their correct context.

And yet again, the context of the role of this document in the long-standing Palestinian campaign to erase Jewish heritage and history as part of the tactical delegitimisation of Israel was erased from audience view. Readers were not informed that both the PA’s ruling party Fatah and Hamas lauded the UNESCO resolution’s denial of Jewish history.  

“A spokesman for the Gaza-based terror group Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that his group “welcomes” the resolution’s wording to the effect that “al-Aqsa is of purely Islamic heritage.” He said the decision marks a “victory for the Palestinian people.”

Abu Zuhri added that the UNSECO text “demolished the Israeli fiction” concerning the Temple Mount, the holy area Jews consider to be their most sacred place as the site of the two biblical temples.”

BBC News website readers were not informed of Mexico’s change of vote on the resolution or of the reservations voiced by Brazil and the later objections raised by the Italian prime minister and in the Czech parliament have also gone unreported.

This week another UNESCO body is set to vote on a similarly styled resolution.

“The UNESCO heritage committee’s 21 member states are expected to vote on Wednesday in Paris on the resolution, entitled, “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls.” As with last week’s contentious text, the latest draft is expected to pass with a comfortable majority.

A draft of the resolution obtained by The Times of Israel once again refers to the Temple Mount compound solely by its Muslim names, “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” and defines it only as “a Muslim holy site of worship.” As the site of the Biblical temples, the mount is the holiest place in Judaism.

While last week’s text did include one passage with a mention of the importance of Jerusalem’s Old City for “the three monotheistic religions,” the heritage committee’s resolution text includes no references to Jewish or Christian ties to the area’s holy sites. […]

The 21 nations that will vote on the text are: Finland, Poland, Portugal, Croatia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, Cuba, Jamaica, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Angola and Tanzania.”

Despite the fact that the BBC’s public purposes commit it to building “understanding of international issues”, its audiences have not been provided with the information essential for comprehension of the belligerent aims behind the serial abuse of UNESCO for anti-Israel campaigning.

Related Articles:

BBC report on UNESCO row marred by lack of context and previous omission

BBC R4 programme on UNESCO omits negation of Jewish heritage

BBC Complaints: what we tell you isn’t necessarily factual

As readers no doubt recall, when the Israeli Foreign Ministry published its report on Operation Protective Edge last week, the BBC found it appropriate to promote the response from Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.BBC art Gaza report

“The militant group Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, called the Israeli report worthless. […]

A spokesman for Hamas said the Israeli report was “valueless”.

“Israeli war crimes are clear because they were committed in front of live cameras,” Sami Abu Zuhri said.”

A member of the public who contacted the BBC in relation to that editorial decision received an answer from BBC Complaints which includes the following:

“I understand you feel a report shouldn’t have featured the views of Sami Abu Zuhri.

We provide a range of views of either side of the conflict but this isn’t suggesting that such views are factual and the BBC doesn’t endorse them. The BBC doesn’t hold a stance on any particular matter, including the Middle East so it is not up to the BBC to label any particular person or group.”

As we have often seen in the past (including in the headline to the said report), the self-styled “standard-setter for international journalism” knows perfectly well how to communicate to its audiences the fact that it has not verified or does not endorse claims, descriptions or statements through the use of punctuation. Hence, if the BBC did for some reason find the promotion of the view of a spokesman for an internationally recognized terror organization editorially justifiable, one would at least expect that organization to be described accurately (without the use of the euphemistic term “militant”) and one would also have expected to find the term war crimes placed in inverted commas in order to avoid misleading audiences by suggesting that assertion was established fact.

There is of course also wider implication in this response from BBC Complaints. People say all manner of things which can be represented as “a range of views” but we now learn that their connection to reality is of no interest to the culturally relative BBC and that audiences are apparently expected to be able to distinguish factual views from non-factual narrative without the BBC’s help.

The obvious question arising from that is why BBC licence fee payers should need the corporation at all in an age in which they can find a plethora of views, narratives and propaganda of varying degrees of factual accuracy on the internet for free.

BBC audiences get comment on Israeli report on 2014 conflict from man who urged Gazans to be human shields

As readers are no doubt aware, the publication of the UN HRC report which was commissioned more than a month before last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hamas came to an end is expected later this week and we can of course anticipate generous BBC coverage of its content.

Ahead of the appearance of that report, the Israeli Foreign Ministry published a report of its own on June 14th. Readers can find the executive summary here and the full report here.

With remarkable alacrity, the BBC News website managed to produce an article ostensibly summarizing the 277 page-long document for audiences just hours after its publication. Titled “Israeli 2014 Gaza war actions ‘lawful’, report says“, the article includes a number of noteworthy points.BBC art Gaza report

Readers are told that:

“The 50-day conflict between Israel and Gaza militants, lasted from July to late August 2014. It left at least 2,189 Palestinians dead, including more than 1,486 civilians, according to the UN.”

As has been noted here on numerous occasions in the past, the BBC has failed to carry out any publicly available independent verification of the problematically sourced civilian/combatant casualty ratios it continues to quote (and defend) since the conflict ended  – and that despite its August 15th 2014 statement “we expect to return to this subject at a later date” which was appended to the article on Gaza casualty figures first published on August 8th and later rewritten after high-level intervention in response to the application of political pressure.

Moreover, the BBC has systematically ignored the existence of subsequent research which has shown that the casualty ratios quoted and promoted by the corporation are indeed in need of review.

Nevertheless, the fact that the BBC has no independently verified backing for the numbers it quotes and promotes does not prevent it from once again portraying them as reliable information in this article, which goes on to state:

The 277-page report, released by the Israeli foreign ministry, disputed the UN figures, estimating that 2,125 Palestinians had been killed, including 936 militants and 761 civilians, with the status of the remaining casualties unknown.”

Interestingly, that description of the report’s findings fails to clarify that those 428 “remaining casualties” (20% of the total) are all males between the ages of 16 and 50

Further on in the article, readers find the following statements:

“Meanwhile, a report from the UN Human Rights Council on the war is also expected to be published this week.

The council says its inquiry will cover “all violations of international humanitarian law” committed by both sides during the Gaza conflict.”

In fact, as the link provided shows and as has been noted here previously, the mandate given to the commission of inquiry on July 23rd 2014 is politically motivated by definition, with its start date defined as one day after the kidnapping and murders of three Israeli teenagers by a Hamas-funded terror cell and its geographic stipulations excluding investigation of “violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law” in Israel – such as missile fire at civilian targets.

Mandate

For that very reason, of course, Israel decided not to cooperate with the commission’s activities and, whilst the commissioners themselves have stated that they “interpret this mandate to include investigations of the activities of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, including attacks on Israel”, this article does not clarify to readers the terms of the original mandate and the circumstances surrounding its creation.

Nether does this article address the issue of the UN HRC’s long-standing obsession with and bias against Israel – which is of course very well documented and has been the subject of comment from the UN Secretary General, ambassadors and visiting dignitaries. The resolution which created the commission of inquiry was criticized by members of the US Congress and the US representative at the UN HRC described it as “yet another one-sided mechanism targeting Israel” whilst the representative of the EU member states on the Human Rights Council stated that was “unbalanced, inaccurate, and prejudges the outcome of the investigation by making legal statements.”.

Ignoring all of that vital context yet again, the BBC simply tells its audiences that:

“It [the MFA report] comes ahead of the publication of a UN inquiry into possible war crimes committed during the war, a report Israel dismissed as a waste of time.”

Moreover, the article promotes the following statements from the spokesman of a terrorist organization:

“The militant group Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, called the Israeli report worthless. […]

A spokesman for Hamas said the Israeli report was “valueless”.

“Israeli war crimes are clear because they were committed in front of live cameras,” Sami Abu Zuhri said.”

Apparently (seeing as it avoided reporting on the topic at the time) the BBC believes that its reputation as a serious news outlet is not compromised by quoting Abu Zuhri on the subject of ‘war crimes’ despite the fact that immediately after the commencement of the conflict he appeared on Hamas TV to urge civilians in the Gaza Strip to act as human shields.

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Why doesn’t the BBC tell audiences about Gaza’s shortfall missiles?

On the evening of July 15th the BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen sat on a roof in Gaza and witnessed just one of the many instances (around 10 -15%) in which missiles fired by terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip fall short of their target and land inside the territory.

Bowen tweet shortfall 1

Bowen tweet shortfall 2

The IDF informs us that since the start of Operation Protective Edge, some 100 missiles fired by terrorist groups have fallen short, landing inside the Gaza Strip.

Shortfalls tweet IDF

As recently as June 24th a three year-old girl was killed and other members of her family injured when a shortfall missile fired by terrorists hit their home in Beit Lahiya. That incident (along with others) was not reported by the BBC at the time.

The BBC does however know from previous experience that misfired and shortfall missiles cause the deaths of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Despite that, in all the BBC’s extensive reporting of Operation Protective Edge that we have seen so far, no attempt has been made to inform BBC audiences of the factor of shortfall missiles and to clarify to them that the casualty figures it quotes will – according to the source of its figures – include civilian deaths caused by missiles fired by terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip.

Neither has the BBC told its audiences about the interest of Hamas (including of course its health ministry, which the BBC regularly quotes on the issue of casualty figures) in promoting as many civilian casualties as possible to the watching world, as chillingly demonstrated in this July 13th Al Aqsa TV interview with Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.  

 

 

BBC films Hamas human shields policy in action: fails to explain to audiences

Yolande Knell’s filmed report from July 15th was broadcast on BBC television news programmes as well as being posted on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “Palestinians reject Gaza ceasefire proposal“.

That report includes some interesting items, one of which is the image below which clearly shows missiles being fired by terrorists from built-up residential areas in the Gaza Strip.

Knell report 15 7 pic missiles being fired

Knell fails to inform viewers that both the storage of missiles and the launching of such attacks from a residential area contravene international conventions.

Article 58: ” The Parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible:

(a)…endeavor to remove the civilian population, individual civilians and civilian objects under their control from the vicinity of military objectives; 
(b) Avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas.”

In addition, Knell tells viewers: [emphasis added]Knell report 15 7 ceasefire

“But overnight, diplomatic efforts to end the two-way violence gathered pace. This was an Arab League meeting in Cairo. Egypt – a key player – set a time for a ceasefire and offered to mediate a longer-term deal. Israel accepted the offer but the main Palestinian factions in Gaza did not.

We’re here at the main hospital in Gaza City. This is one of the few locations where Hamas officials feel they’re safe enough from a possible Israeli attack to come out and speak to the media. Already they’ve told us that they reject Egypt’s proposed ceasefire deal.”

The report then cuts to an interview with Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

The main hospital in Gaza City is of course Shifa hospital, from which both Knell and Jeremy Bowen have reported in recent days. The fact that the Hamas leadership is once again hiding in Shifa hospital because it knows that Israel will not strike a hospital means that both patients and medical personnel are being used as human shields, but Knell fails to point that fact out to viewers.

 Article 12(4): “Under no circumstances shall medical units be used in an attempt to shield military objectives from attack. Whenever possible, the Parties to the conflict shall ensure that medical units are so sited that attacks against military objectives do not imperil their safety.”

Whilst the BBC has been very trigger-happy with its amplification of unproven Palestinian accusations of Israeli wrongdoing (see some examples here, here and here), it has been remarkably and uniformly consistent in its failure to provide any explanation to audiences regarding the Hamas policy of using the civilian population of Gaza as human shields – even when it observes and films that policy in action itself.