BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – March 2017

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during March 2017 shows that throughout the month a total of 119 incidents took place: ninety-one in Judea & Samaria, twenty in Jerusalem, two inside the ‘green line’ and six attacks from the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula.

The agency recorded 93 attacks with petrol bombs, 8 attacks using explosive devices, three stabbings, five shooting attacks, one rock-throwing attack and one vehicular attack in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem. Also recorded were one stabbing attack and one petrol bomb attack inside the ‘green line’ and six attacks – including two shooting attacks and three missile attacks – from the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula.

Six people – two civilians and four members of the security forces – were injured in attacks during March.

The three separate incidents of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip during March did not receive any coverage whatsoever on the BBC News website.

A stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem in which two police officers were wounded on March 13th did not receive any BBC coverage. A stabbing attack on a civilian in Gush Etzion on March 7th and a stabbing attack on another civilian in Lod on March 27th were also among the attacks not reported.

In conclusion, the BBC News website did not cover any of the terror attacks against Israelis which took place during March. Since the beginning of the year, the corporation has reported 0.3% of the total attacks that have taken place and coverage of missile attacks stands at zero. 

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – January 2017

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – February 2017

BBC News ignores another missile attack by ISIS Sinai – in English

On the morning of April 10th residents of the Eshkol district in the Western Negev had to scramble for cover as the ‘code red’ siren warned of an incoming missile.  

“A rocket fired from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula struck a greenhouse in southern Israel on Monday morning, the police said.

Though no one was struck by the rocket, a 50-year-old man who was nearby when it landed suffered an anxiety attack as a result of the attack, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said. […]

Just after 11:30 a.m., the incoming missile alarm known as a “Code Red” sounded in the Eshkol region, near Israel’s westernmost edge, at the border with Egypt and the Gaza Strip.”

The attack was later claimed by the ISIS affiliate in Sinai.

While the BBC chose not to report that attack to its English-speaking audiences, a brief mention of the incident did appear at the end of an article on the BBC Arabic website.

Since the beginning of the year eight missile attacks against Israel have taken place – five from Gaza and three from Sinai – none of which have been reported by the BBC’s English language services. Israel’s response to three of the attacks launched from the Gaza Strip has however been the subject of coverage on the corporation’s Arabic language website.

The pattern of reporting whereby the majority of 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 in evidence since the end of the summer 2014 conflict. Throughout 2016 just one of the ten attacks that took place received BBC coverage in the English language.

A similar policy of omission appears to have been adopted regarding missile attacks perpetrated by a terrorist group located in a neighbouring country, with all three of the attacks by ‘Wilayat Sinai’ that have taken place since the beginning of 2017 having been ignored by the BBC’s English language services.

Related Articles:

BBC continues to conceal Gaza missile attacks from its audience

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – February 2017

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during February 2017 shows that throughout the month a total of 102 incidents took place: eighty-two in Judea & Samaria, fourteen in Jerusalem, one in Petah Tikva and five attacks from the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula.

The agency recorded 86 attacks with petrol bombs, 8 attacks using explosive devices, one shooting attack and one vehicular attack in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem as well as one shooting attack in Petah Tikva and one shooting attack and four missile attacks from the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula.

Fourteen people – nine civilians and five members of the security forces – were injured in attacks during February.

As regular readers know, the four separate incidents of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula during February did not receive any coverage whatsoever on the BBC News website.

A vehicular attack at the entrance to the community of Adam on February 2nd in which three people were injured was not reported by the BBC. A shooting attack in the market in Petah Tikva in which seven people were wounded on February 9th also did not receive any coverage. A petrol bomb attack on Route 443 on February 12th in which one civilian was injured, a petrol bomb attack in Issawiya on February 24th in which two members of the security forces were injured and an IED attack in Balata on February 23rd in which a soldier was injured were also among the attacks not reported by the BBC.

In conclusion, the BBC News website did not cover any of the terror attacks which took place during February. Since the beginning of the year, the corporation has reported 0.49% of the total attacks that have taken place and coverage of missile attacks stands at zero.

Related Articles:

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

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – January 2017

Fourth missile attack against Israel in three weeks ignored by BBC News

 

BBC News disregards Sinai missile attack once again

On the morning of February 20th two missiles fired from Egyptian territory hit southern Israel.No news

“Two rockets fired from the Sinai Peninsula struck an open field in southern Israel on Monday morning, the army said.

No one was injured and no damage was caused by the missiles, the army said.

The rockets hit the Eshkol region, which borders southern Gaza and the northeastern tip of the Sinai Peninsula.

A police bomb disposal unit found one of them near the community of Naveh, near the Egyptian border. A second sapper team was on its way to the location of the other rocket, police said.”

The attack was later claimed by ISIS.

Once again, that incident did not receive any BBC coverage.

Since the beginning of the year three missile attacks against Israel have taken place – one from Gaza and two from Sinai – none of which have been reported by the BBC’s English language services. Throughout 2016 just one of ten attacks received BBC coverage in English.

missile-attacks-2017-table

Related Articles:

BBC News continues to ignore Gaza missile attacks – in English

BBC News again ignores a missile attack on Israel

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.

shuval-tweets-eilat-attack

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

me-hp-9-2-17a

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

Related Articles:

BBC News continues to ignore Gaza missile attacks – in English

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

Poor BBC reporting on Hamas-ISIS Sinai collaboration highlighted again

Earlier this year, we documented the BBC’s long-standing avoidance of any serious, in-depth reporting on the subject of collaboration between Hamas and the ISIS franchise operating in the Sinai Peninsula.

Years of BBC amplifications of Hamas denials unravel

BBC’s Knell amplifies Hamas PR while sidestepping ISIS-Hamas collaboration

Back in August 2013 the BBC’s Yolande Knell told audiences that:

“Cairo has repeatedly accused Hamas of interfering in Egyptian affairs and has accused Palestinians of supporting Islamist militants in the increasingly restive Sinai region.”

Failing to provide any objective information concerning those Egyptian claims, she then promoted the following statement from Hamas’ Ghazi Hamad:

“They have a plan in order to distort the image of Gaza in order to start propaganda and media campaign against Gaza, against Hamas, in order to show Gaza is like a devil and Hamas is like a devil,” Mr Hamed [sic] said.

“I think they succeeded to do this on the Egyptian street, in the Egyptian society.”

In October 2014 the BBC told its audiences that:

“Egyptian media accuses Gaza’s Hamas administration of aiding militants in Sinai. Hamas denies the charge.”

In September 2015 the BBC amplified a report by the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW):

“The [Egyptian] military aims to eventually clear an area of about 79 sq km (30 sq miles) along the Gaza border, including all of the town of Rafah, which has a population of about 78,000 people, HRW says.

The government says the operation will allow the military to close smuggling tunnels it alleges are used by jihadists to receive weapons, fighters and logistical help from Palestinian militants in Gaza.

But HRW said little or no evidence had been offered to support this justification, citing statements from Egyptian and Israeli officials that suggested weapons were more likely to have been obtained from Libya or captured from the Egyptian military.” [emphasis added]

In March 2016, Yolande Knell told BBC audiences that:Knell ISIS Sinai report

“Palestinians are also alleged to have treated injured IS fighters. I cross into Gaza where Hamas officials strongly deny the claims.”

Viewers then heard from Ghazi Hamad.

“We will not allow for anyone from Gaza now to do anything against or to damage or to harm the national security of Egypt and we will not allow for anyone from Sinai to come to use Gaza as a shelter.”

Despite the BBC’s repeated amplification of Hamas denials of collaboration with the ISIS affiliate in Sinai, we now learn from that latter organisation itself of the existence of a “liaison” between it and Hamas.

“ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula has announced that its liaison to Hamas—Hashem Abdel Aileh Kishtah has been killed. However, the group didn’t reveal how their liaison to the Palestinian terror group died.

ISIS released a statement on the matter on Tuesday. Kishtah was originally from the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza strip.

Kishtah’s name was first revealed when it was mistakenly announced via Sky News Arabic that the Egyptian Air Force had assassinated him in February of 2016. He was referred to as a high-ranking official in the Hamas Izzadin al-Qassam military brigade. […]

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai mentioned Kishtah’s name several times when speaking about the relationship and cooperation which exists between ISIS and Hamas.”

Yet again we see that BBC audiences are not receiving the full range of information which would enhance their understanding of this “international issue“.

A BBC story from 2015 resurfaces

Back in August 2015 BBC correspondents in the Middle East Tweeted the following news:

Sinai kidnapping Abualouf

Sinai kidnapping Sommerville

The missing men turned out to be members of Hamas but in its report on the story, the BBC did not clarify that they belonged to the terror group’s Izzadin al Qassam Brigades.Sinai kidnapping main

As was noted here at the time:

“Whilst not stating so outright, like the above tweets this report clearly steers readers towards the impression that the four Hamas men travelling on the Cairo airport bound bus were abducted by members of the ISIS affiliate ‘Sinai Province’ which operates in Sinai.

“The road from the Rafah border crossing runs through northern Sinai. The most active militant group in the area is an affiliate of the so-called Islamic State.””

However, Hamas soon put out statements claiming that the men had been seized by Egyptian security forces rather than by the Sinai-based ISIS affiliate – which has not since made any mention of them in its statements.

Now that story has taken another turn.

“The Qatar-based Al Jazeera aired on Monday a photo that purports to show two Palestinians allegedly kidnapped by Egypt in the Sinai a year ago, in what could further deteriorate the relations between Hamas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime.

The photo was taken from afar reportedly at a security facility in Cairo.”

Al Jazeera apparently received the photograph via Hamas but whatever the real story behind it, BBC audiences are still unaware of the developments which have taken place since that one article was published in August 2015. Audience understanding of the related broader topic of the increasingly strained relations between Hamas and Egypt (which has long been both under-reported and inaccurately reported) would obviously be enhanced by some up to date coverage.  

 

 

 

 

BBC does a makeover on Sinai ISIS group’s language yet again

Back in May we noted that a backgrounder produced by BBC Monitoring titled “Sinai Province: Egypt’s most dangerous group” included the following inaccurate information.

“Sinai Province started by attacking Israel with rockets, but after the removal of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 it focused on Egypt’s security services, killing dozens of soldiers.”

That inaccurate information reappeared in an insert found in an article published on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on August 4th under the title “Egypt ‘kills head of Islamic State’s Sinai branch’“.

Wilayat Sinai art insert

As was noted here at the time:

Sinai Province (formerly known as Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) emerged in 2011 after the ousting of the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.  Its activities began with attacks on the oil pipelines running between Israel and Egypt and on July 30th of that year it attacked a police station in El Arish, killing six people. On August 14th 2011 the Egyptian army launched ‘Operation Eagle’ to tackle the insurgency and four days later a combined terror attack took place along the Israeli-Egyptian border resulting in the deaths of eight Israelis.

On August 5th 2012 – just over a month after Mohammed Morsi became president of Egypt – an Egyptian army post near Rafah was attacked and more than 15 Egyptian security personnel were killed. The terrorists proceeded to the Kerem Shalom crossing in stolen vehicles and briefly breached the border. Two days later the Egyptian army launched ‘Operation Sinai’. On September 21st Ansar Bayt al Maqdis launched a terror attack on the Israeli-Egyptian border in which an Israeli soldier was killed.

In other words, the BBC’s claim that “Sinai Province started by attacking Israel with rockets” is not accurate: serious cross-border attacks also took place. The claim that attacks on Egypt’s security services began “after the removal of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013” is also clearly inaccurate.”

As the insert shows, the BBC is aware of the fact that the organisation formerly known as Ansar Bayt al Maqdis “changed its name” in November 2014. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the article readers are told that:Wilayat Sinai art main

“The Egyptian military says it has killed the head of the Sinai branch of so-called Islamic State (IS), along with dozens of its fighters.

It said Abu Duaa al-Ansari was killed in a series of air strikes on fighters of the Sinai Province – or Ansar Beit al-Maqdis – group.”

Notably, the article does not inform BBC audiences of the collaboration between Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) and Hamas.

At the end of the report readers are told that:

“On Wednesday, a video said to be from the IS Sinai affiliate issued a rare direct threat to Israel, saying it would soon “pay a high price”.”

As the Jerusalem Post reports, the video in fact included threats against Jews.

“”This is only the beginning, and our meeting [will be] in Rome and Beit Al-Maqdis [Jerusalem],” the video’s narrator was quoted as saying, according to a translation by the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI). 

“Oh Jews, wait for us. The punishment [we have prepared for you] is severe and soon you will pay a high price,” threatens the narrator.”

Ha’aretz adds:

“”Jews will not remain in Palestine, we will turn it into a graveyard for Jews,” Israeli media quoted the video as saying. […]

The video refers to Israel as “El Yahud” or the Jews, rather than Israel.”

As readers may recall, this is not the first time that the BBC has done a makeover on the Sinai-based ISIS affiliate’s language.

Related Articles:

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

The history – and the BBC Trust decision – behind Lyse Doucet’s mistranslation of ‘yahud’

 

 

 

 

Reviewing the BBC’s use of a Hamas interviewee

Our colleagues at CAMERA note that:

“A top operative of Hamas and news media favorite named Ghazi Hamad has recommended “small stabs to all parts of Israel” as a strategy against the Jewish state. Hamad is currently the deputy foreign minister of Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit organization that translates Arab and Persian media, Hamad suggested a war of attrition against Israel in an Op-Ed he wrote for the Alwatanvoice.com, an online Palestinian news outlet based in the Gaza Strip.

Hamad—a former spokesperson for Hamas—has frequently been treated as a credible source by many media outlets. A Lexis-Nexis search showed that The New York Times alone quoted Hamad—often uncritically—no less than 18 times between 2006 and 2016. Despite, or perhaps because of the frequency with which he has been quoted, some U.S. news outlets seemingly have been taken in by the Hamas operative.”

Ghazi Hamad has also been a fairly frequent BBC interviewee. For example, he appeared on the self-described “hard-hitting flagship news programme” ‘Hardtalk’ in May 2011 and in July 2012. In August 2013 Hamad was quoted by Yolande Knell in an article about Egypt’s closure of the Rafah crossing.

“Cairo has repeatedly accused Hamas of interfering in Egyptian affairs and has accused Palestinians of supporting Islamist militants in the increasingly restive Sinai region.

“They have a plan in order to distort the image of Gaza in order to start propaganda and media campaign against Gaza, against Hamas, in order to show Gaza is like a devil and Hamas is like a devil,” Mr Hamed [sic] said.

“I think they succeeded to do this on the Egyptian street, in the Egyptian society.” “Pigua Har Nof int Hamad

BBC coverage of the terror attack at the Synagogue in Har Nof in November 2014 included an interview with Hamad in which he was given an unchallenged platform to promote inflammatory falsehoods, including the baseless accusation that “settlers” killed a Palestinian bus driver who committed suicide.

“…every day Jerusalem is boiling. Every day there is a new crime in Jerusalem. Every day there is a crime against the Palestinian citizens, either in the Al Aqsa Mosque or in Jerusalem as a city.”

“We did not see any effort, any action from the Israeli government in order to stop the settlers; not to stop the radical religious men when they decided to attack Al Aqsa Mosque, attack the Palestinian, to kill the Palestinians. Yesterday they killed a Palestinian driver. I think that they all should open their eyes. There’s a revolution in Jerusalem. There’s uprising, there is tension and they did not take any action in order to stop this, to protect the Palestinians. But they did everything to protect the settlers.”

In February 2015 Hamad appeared in a filmed report by Lyse Doucet. As was noted here at the time:

“Doucet then gets Hamas’ Ghazi Hamad on camera but, instead of posing any incisive questions about his organisation’s responsibility for the conflict and its aftermath, she merely provides him with a stage from which to promote the usual propaganda unhindered.

Hamad: “Main reason for all this catastrophe is the occupation. Now Gaza’s turned to be like a big prison. There’s no exit, no import, no export.”

Not only does Doucet fail to clarify to viewers that the Gaza Strip has not been under “occupation” since August 2005, she makes no effort to correct the inaccurate impression received by audiences as a result of Hamad’s lies. […]

Doucet continues:

“But there are reports – credible reports – that Hamas is again digging tunnels, that Hamas has been test-firing missiles in preparation for the next war.”

Hamad: “Look, I think this time – that’s right – but I think that Hamas is doing this in order to protect our people here. We don’t want to be surprised with a new war – a new aggression against us.”

In addition to displaying no interest whatsoever in questioning Hamad about where the money and materials for rehabilitation of Hamas’ military capabilities are coming from and why Hamas is doing nothing to improve the lives of the ordinary people it holds hostage, Doucet also makes no attempt to enlighten viewers with regard to the fact that Hamad’s faux victimhood is mere propaganda.”

In March 2016 Yolande Knell once again interviewed Ghazi Hamad on the topic of Hamas collaboration with the branch of ISIS active in the Sinai Peninsula.

Knell: “Palestinians are also alleged to have treated injured IS fighters. I cross into Gaza where Hamas officials strongly deny the claims.”

Hamad:  “We will not allow for anyone from Gaza now to do anything against or to damage or to harm the national security of Egypt and we will not allow for anyone from Sinai to come to use Gaza as a shelter.”

Clearly the BBC’s use of Ghazi Hamad as a source of information on that particular issue and many others has not only done nothing to contribute to meeting its remit of building an “understanding of international issues” but has actively hindered the achievement of that aim.

Related Articles:

Years of BBC amplifications of Hamas denials unravel

BBC News mantra on 2014 negotiations impairs audience understanding

July 10th saw the appearance of an article titled “Israel and Palestinians: Egypt FM urges two-state solution in rare visit” on the BBC News website’s Middle East page which did little to contribute to audience understanding of issues of mutual interest for Egypt and Israel and took the famous British understatement to the extreme in its tangential portrayal of a topic the BBC has long downplayed: Hamas’ collaboration with ISIS terrorists in the Sinai peninsula.Egypt FM visit

“His trip is seen as a sign of strengthened ties between two countries sharing deep concerns over regional unrest. […]

Co-operation between Israel and Egypt has intensified under Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

Egypt faces Islamist militants in the Sinai region south of Israel, and both countries are wary of Gaza’s Hamas Islamist rulers.”

Significantly, the report also failed to clarify to readers that in contrast to the French proposal which was widely covered by the BBC’s Middle East editor last month, Egypt’s initiative to revive the process aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is based on direct negotiations between the parties.

Readers of this article were told that:

“The last round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians came to an end amid acrimony in April 2014.

The Palestinians accused Israel of reneging on a deal to free prisoners, while Israel said it would not continue negotiations after the Palestinians decided to bring the militant Islamist Hamas movement into a unity government.”

The BBC has been promoting that theme at least since the beginning of June:

“There have been numerous rounds of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians since the early 1990s, with the most recent collapsing in acrimony in April 2014.

The Palestinians accused Israel of reneging on a deal to free prisoners, while Israel said it would not continue negotiations after the Palestinians decided to bring the Islamist Hamas movement into a unity government.” (June 3, 2016)

“The last round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians came to an end amid acrimony in April 2014.

The Palestinians accused Israel of reneging on a deal to free prisoners, while Israel said it would not continue negotiations after the Palestinians decided to bring the militant Islamist Hamas movement into a unity government.” (June 30, 2016)

“The last round of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians came to an end amid acrimony in April 2014.” (July 1, 2016)

“The last round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians came to an end amid acrimony in April 2014.

The Palestinians accused Israel of reneging on a deal to free prisoners, while Israel said it would not continue negotiations after the Palestinians decided to bring the militant Islamist Hamas movement into a unity government.” (July 6, 2016)

Despite the obvious efforts being made by the BBC to shape audience views of that particular piece of history, the fact is that this simplistic yet widely promoted mantra does not provide an accurate description of events at the time.

It does not clarify that the fourth tranche of prisoner releases (intended to be conditional on the progress of talks) was delayed because the Palestinians both demanded the release of convicted Arab-Israeli terrorists and refused to agree to the continuation of negotiations after their official deadline. It does not inform audiences that the PA reneged on a previously made commitment not to join assorted UN agencies while negotiations were in progress and that it knew perfectly well that its decision to form a ‘unity government’ with the Hamas terror organisation which rejects the two state solution would be the final nail in the coffin of negotiations intended to achieve that aim.

As has been noted here before, the Palestinian Authority made three important choices between March 17th and April 23rd 2014 (not to accept the American framework, to join international agencies in breach of existing commitments and to opt for reconciliation with Hamas) which had a crucial – and apparently pre-planned – effect on the fate of the negotiations.

While the BBC’s portrayal of the end of the 2013/14 talks was highly partial and problematic even at the time, the fact that two years on it not only fails to meet its remit of enhancing audience understanding of the issue but actively impairs appreciation of why the 2013/14 talks collapsed is obviously cause for concern.

Related Articles:

Background to the BBC’s inaccurate framing of the end of Middle East talks

Revisiting the BBC’s framing of the 2013/14 Israel-PLO negotiations