A BBC terror indoctrination feature highlights longstanding omission

Last month the BBC website published a special feature by Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati titled “An education in terror“.

“On the streets of Europe, we meet teenage boys trained by IS. Their testimony reveals wide-ranging plans to turn children into killers.”

“First came the grooming, then the recruitment and training to create a new army of child jihadists, who might grow into adult militants. The Islamic State’s next generation of hate.”

“Many armed groups across Africa, the Middle East and South America, have trained children for battle. Recruiting child soldiers is a war crime. But few have refined the process so efficiently as the Islamic State group.”

As well as personal stories the feature includes a section with the heading “Curriculum of hate”.

“IS not only concentrated its attention on recruits for the battlefield, it reached deeper into society, into the homes, classrooms, and minds of the youngest children. […]

Just like the Hitler Youth movement indoctrinated children to serve the Nazis’ 1000-year Reich, IS developed a feeder apparatus to regularly inject new blood into its veins. By the time it took full control of Raqqa in the winter of 2014 and turned it into its de-facto capital, the plan to subvert the education system was set in motion.”

Readers learn that ISIS’ focus on indoctrination through ‘education’ began three years ago.

“By July 2014, Mosul had fallen and the caliphate had been declared. The rich Iraqi city, six times bigger than Raqqa, had a lot more to offer in terms of human resources and infrastructure. Now, the Islamic State had both the expertise and the assets to take on the formidable task of drafting its own curriculum from scratch.

“They started in earnest during the fall of 2014, but the Diwan [ministry of education] had been recruiting loyal, ideologically aligned experts all throughout that summer,” Yousef, a Moslawi teacher who lived through that phase, told the BBC. […]

The IS curriculum was finally rolled out for the 2015-2016 school year. Children would enrol at the age of five and graduate at 15, shaving four full years off the traditional school life. They would be educated in 12 various disciplines, but these would be steeped in Islamic State’s doctrine and its world vision.”

This feature – described as a ‘resource’ in its URL – provides the BBC’s audience with information that will enhance their understanding of the ISIS terror group’s ideology and methodology. Interestingly though, the same audience has never been provided with such a resource on a comparable system that pre-dates the ISIS curriculum in Raqqa or Mosul.

The BBC did not report on the topic of child soldiers recruited by Hamas during the 2014 conflict. The paramilitary ‘summer camps’ run by Palestinian factions such as Hamas, Fatah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as well as by the PA and PLO have rarely received any BBC coverage. When Lyse Doucet visited a Hamas-run winter camp in Gaza in January 2015, the result was a mere one minute of coverage in her film ‘Children of the Gaza War’, with Doucet telling viewers that:

Hamas summer camp, Gaza 2016

“Some boys as young as Abdul Rahman [phonetic] take part in this first youth camp organized by Hamas’ military wing. It’s for men [sic] aged 15 to 21. Some are clearly younger and at the closing ceremony there’s younger still. For the outside world it’s hard to comprehend why parents would put children in situations like this. Hamas says the camps keep boys off the street and teach values and martial arts for defence. But the young also learn about weapons and hatred: it’s what Hamas calls a culture of resistance.”

Neither have BBC audiences seen any comprehensive reporting on the issue of the incitement and glorification of terrorism found in Palestinian schoolbooks, official PA radio and TV children’s programmes and Hamas’ online children’s ‘magazine’.

So as we see, while the BBC did consider a feature on “the Islamic State’s next generation of hate” editorially justifiable, it continues to avoid providing its audiences with information about the very similar indoctrination and abuse of Palestinian children.  

 

 

 

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Weekend long read

1) Back in April the BBC News website told audiences that the Israeli prime minister had ‘snubbed’ the German foreign minister over the latter’s insistence on meeting what the BBC described as “human rights activists”. At the Fathom Journal, Gadi Taub takes a closer look at that story.

“Gabriel, on the occasion of an official visit for Holocaust Memorial Day, announced that he would meet the representatives of two radical left-wing civil society organisations – Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem. When Netanyahu said that if those meetings went ahead he would boycott the visit and refuse to meet Gabriel, many thought he was overreacting. Few, however, expected Gabriel to choose those two organisations over Israel’s prime minster (and acting foreign minister). And when he did, things began to appear in a new light. It no longer seemed that the German foreign minister made an honest mistake, not knowing how controversial these organisations were among Israelis. It appeared, instead, that he knew exactly what he was doing and that it was us, the Israeli public, who had made a mistake in our assumptions about German-Israeli relations.”

2) At the JCPA, Ambassador Alan Baker examines the issue of Palestinian refugees and UNRWA.  

“Unlike its sister organization, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), mandated since 1950 to coordinate the handling of all refugee communities worldwide, UNRWA was established in that same year to deal exclusively with Palestinian refugees, thereby excluding them from the protection of the UNHCR.

While the aims and operations of the UNHCR are based on international instruments – mainly the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees – UNRWA was never provided with a specific statute or charter. It has operated since its inception under a general mandate, renewed every three years by the General Assembly.

The major distinction and main reason for the establishment of a separate agency to deal with Palestinian refugees, was to crystallize their sole aim – not rehabilitation and resettlement, as was the aim of UNHCR – but solely “return.” Inclusion of Palestinian refugees under the general UNHCR definition of “refugees” would have been interpreted as a waiver of their claim that “return” was the sole solution.”

3) The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has a new report on a topic habitually absent from BBC coverage of the Middle East: Hamas’ indoctrination of children in summer camps.

“This year, as in previous years, summer camps were held throughout the Gaza Strip, attended by tens of thousands of Gazan children and adolescents. Most of the camps were organized by Hamas, some by other terrorist organizations and institutions. The camps provide a wide range of activities, from ordinary summer pastimes (sports, arts and crafts, computers, day trips, etc.) to military training and ideological indoctrination. Hamas attributes great importance to the summer camps, considering them an effective means for influencing the younger generation and training a cadre of operatives and supporters for its military wing and movement institutions.

An examination of some of the closing ceremonies of the 2017 summer camps shows they emphasized military topics coordinated to the age of the participants. The older the campers were, the more and varied military training they received. The adolescents, some of them who would join Hamas military wing in the near future, wore uniforms and learned how to dismantle and reassemble weapons. They also practiced simulating infiltrating Israel through tunnels, attacking IDF posts, taking control of tank positions, and capturing IDF soldiers and abducting them to the Gaza Strip. They trained with real weapons, mostly light arms and RPG launchers.”

4) At the FDD, Grant Rumley takes a look at Mahmoud Abbas’ handling of last month’s violence in Jerusalem and elsewhere following the murder of two Israeli policemen in a terror attack on July 14th.

“The closest the Israeli-Palestinian conflict got to an actual third intifada, or uprising, happened late this past month when Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas mobilized the shadowy militia elements of his party for widespread Friday protests. What the lone-wolf stabbing attacks that have plagued Israel for the past several years lacked—and what both the first and second intifadas had—was political leadership and support. In activating the Tanzim, a faction of his own party that Abbas has struggled to control, the Palestinian President was sanctioning his people’s unrest.”

More Fatah glorification of terrorism ignored by the BBC

Last month we noted the predictable absence of any BBC coverage of the annual paramilitary summer camps organised by the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for children and youth in the Gaza Strip.

Now Palestinian Media Watch brings us news of another terror glorifying children’s summer camp.  This one, however, did not take place in the Gaza Strip and was not run by Islamist terror groups.

“As part of the closing ceremony of a summer camp for Palestinian children organized by the Palestinian National Committee of Summer Camps and the Fatah Movement, Palestinian children performed a play showing the alleged “cruel attitude of the Zionist jailer towards our [Palestinian] heroic prisoners.”  […]

The summer camp was named after terrorist Muhammad Al-Shubaki, who stabbed and wounded an Israel soldier at the entrance to the Al-Fawwar refugee camp on Nov. 25, 2015. The terrorist’s father spoke at the closing ceremony of the summer camp, expressing his “pride and thanks for the gesture of memorializing the heroic Martyrs.””Fatah profile

The BBC’s profile of Fatah continues to inform audiences that the movement “signed a declaration rejecting attacks on civilians in Israel and committing themselves to peace and co-existence.”

As long as the corporation continues to avoid reporting cases of blatant glorification of terrorism by the PA’s dominant party Fatah such as this summer camp, audiences will of course be unable to put that supposed Fatah ‘commitment’ to “peace and co-existence” into its appropriate context and the BBC will continue to fail to meet its purpose remit of building “understanding of international issues”.   

Related Articles:

BBC ignores annual terrorist indoctrination of Gaza youth yet again

Inaccuracy in BBC’s Fatah profile exposed

 

BBC ignores annual terrorist indoctrination of Gaza youth yet again

The summer season is upon us and with it come the annual ‘summer camps’ organised by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. The Tower reports:

“Hamas has opened three-week-long training camps in Gaza for over 50,000 elementary, middle, and high school students, the Gaza-based terror organization said in a press release Sunday.

Hamas official Ismail Radwan explained that the theme of the camps is the “Jerusalem Intifada,” and that the goal is “to raise a generation of Palestinians who love the resistance and the liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” The camps also include scouting and religious educational programming.”

In previous years the BBC has completely ignored these ‘youth camps’ but last year it made a minor exception: BBC audiences got a full fifty-two seconds of coverage of that topic in a programme made by Lyse Doucet. So far this year, the corporation appears to have reverted to form.

As Khaled Abu Toameh has previously explained:Hamas summer camp

“The declared goal of the camps to is to “prepare a new generation of Palestinian youths spiritually, mentally and physically for the battle to liberate Palestine.” When Hamas talks about the “liberation of Palestine,” it is not referring to the West Bank and Gaza Strip only, but to the whole of Israel. In other words, these Palestinian children are being educated and trained to prepare for joining the war aimed at destroying Israel.

The children are being taught that their role models are Hamas suicide bombers and terrorists responsible for the death of hundreds of Israelis over the past few decades. […]

Hamas’s religious education is aimed at teaching the children about Islam and its sharia laws. The children are being told that the whole of the land of Palestine (including Israel) is Muslim-owned land that can’t be given away to non-Muslims. They are also being taught that making peace with the “infidels” is prohibited under the teachings of Islam.”

The BBC is of course notoriously reluctant to provide its audiences with information on the issues of Palestinian incitement and glorification of terrorism and its portrayal of what it likes to term ‘obstacles to peace’ is hence perennially one-sided. It therefore comes as no surprise to see the corporation once again ignore the mass indoctrination of children with terror lauding ideology – even as it continues to promote a politicised narrative on the ‘reasons’ for the failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 

Related Articles:

BBC silent on British link to incitement of Palestinian children

Is a BBC documentary about Hamas’ child soldiers upcoming?

The video below shows footage taken at a youth camp for 15 to 21 year-olds recently organized in the Gaza Strip by Hamas’ Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.

Among the few Western media outlets which reported that story were the Washington Post and the Telegraph.  However, a tweet from Lyse Doucet suggests that the BBC is also going to cover the topic at some point.

Doucet tweet Hamas camp

Whether or not this is part of the documentary on children in the Gaza Strip about which Doucet was interviewed by the Guardian last September is not clear. It will however be interesting to see whether the opportunity is used to inform BBC audiences about Hamas’ use of child soldiers – including during the most recent conflict – and whether or not it will be clarified that one of the UN conventions signed by the Palestinian Authority in April 2014 was the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, according to which no soldier should be under the age of 18.  

Will the BBC’s Doucet report on the real reasons for lost childhoods in Gaza?

On September 21st the Guardian published an interview with the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet in which we learn that she is apparently in the process of making a documentary about children in Gaza, whom the Guardian – not unexpectedly of course – wrongly describes as being ‘targeted’ by Israel. Doucet Guardian interview

“However, even with this wealth of experience, the BBC’s chief international correspondent admits the targeting of civilians, and in particular children, she has witnessed over the past two years in Syria and Gaza has prompted “an editorial shift in my journalism”, evident in last month’s BBC2 documentary The Children of Syria. Doucet is already working on a follow-up based on her experience of reporting from Gaza during the Israeli onslaught this summer.

“The way the wars of our time are fought, as punishing, sustained attacks on neighbourhoods, towns, cities, means assaults on families and childhood,” Doucet says. “Most places I cover young children are everywhere, in Gaza they are pouring out of every crevice.” [emphasis added]

Clearly Doucet (in addition to holding extremely ahistorical notions about warfare before “our time”) is disinterested in the very significant difference between an attack on a military target intentionally located in an urban area and a deliberate attack on a residential neighbourhood.

“In these crises, they are no longer the kids caught in the crossfire, they are the centre. We saw that in Gaza too. I began to realise there was a story to be told from the ground up. Just do the children.” […]

“Doucet intends to take a similar approach with her documentary on Gaza. “I keep thinking of the children, the families we spent time with there. I don’t get nightmares, but we are going back and following some of the stories.”

She is cagey about saying too much but explains: “We are trying to tell a very old Middle East story in a new way.”

“This will include the impact on both sides, a method established in Children of Syria, which included two heavily politicised boys, one an Alawite in Damascus, another in a refugee camp on the Turkish border.”

So will Doucet finally get round to telling the story (so far ignored by the BBC) of the Israeli children who have lived – and died – under the threat of constant missile attacks by terrorists in the Gaza Strip for the past thirteen years? That remains to be seen.

“Doucet says she believes in being “compassionate, not emotional”, suggesting she would not go so far as Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow’s anguished online video about the children of Gaza. “Empathy is a good thing. [But viewers] don’t want to see me, or anyone falling apart. It is not about us.” “

The vast volume of BBC coverage of events in the Gaza Strip during July and August – including from Lyse Doucet – actually provided audiences with very little which did not fall into the category of ‘anguished’ and ’emotional’ reporting. One example of that was Doucet’s written report titled “No place to hide for children of war in Gaza and Syria” which appeared on the BBC News website on July 27th.

If this new documentary is not to be merely more of the heart-string-tugging, context-free same and is actually to provide BBC audiences with some insight into why Lyse Doucet sees “childhood […] being destroyed” in the Gaza Strip, then obviously it is going to have to address the root cause of the repeated violence: Islamist terrorism.

Her interest in children means that Doucet could do a lot worse that to begin her research with these names: Wasim Rida Salhia (aged 15), Anas Yusuf Qandil (aged 17) and Obeida Fadhel Muhammad Abu Hweishel (aged 9). Two of those youths appear on the Hamas Ministry of Health’s list of children killed during Operation Protective Edge: a list extensively promoted and quoted by the BBC as readers well know. The youngest boy was also listed on Hamas’ casualty lists, but with a false age. All three of them were acting as auxiliaries for terrorist organisations (including in one case Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade) at the time of their deaths.

Doucet could also tackle in her documentary a topic which the BBC has so far studiously avoided: the summer camps run by internationally designated terrorist organisations for the children of the Gaza Strip. And of course the issue of the contribution made by Hamas children’s TV programmes to the phenomenon of “childhood […] being destroyed” is worthy of a documentary in itself.

Somehow, though, one doubts that any of those subjects are on Lyse Doucet’s “compassionate” agenda.

 

 

An obstacle to peace the BBC won’t tell you about

Anyone getting their Middle East news from the BBC – as millions of people from around the world do – will be able to tell you without a shadow of doubt that the overriding factor preventing peace in the region is what the BBC recently so quaintly termed “settler homes“. The reason for such certainty is the intensive promotion of that theme by the BBC – see for example here, here, here, here and here – just from the past five weeks.

But the mirage is not only created by the regular repetition of that specific theme; its construction and maintenance also depend upon the diligent failure to inform BBC audiences about  things going on in the Middle East besides Israeli building tenders.

It is currently summer camp season in the Middle East and, as in past years, parents in the Gaza Strip have the choice of sending their children to a variety of activities organised by different groups – some of which are proscribed terrorist organisations – as documented by the Meir Amit Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center. 

“At the beginning of June 2013 Hamas announced the opening of this year’s summer camp project. The theme this year is “The generation of the return” [i.e., the return of the Palestinian refugees to Israel]. According to Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, an estimated 100,000 Gazan children will participate in the camps. He said the camps’ objectives were “to unite the younger generation with the homeland,” “to make religion attractive” and “to instill educational values.” According to Musa al-Samak, chairman of the high summer camp committee, there are 700 summer camps throughout the Gaza Strip with activities which will end before the Muslim religious month of Ramadan (Safa News Agency, June 8, 2013).

The ceremony opening the Hamas camps was attended by Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration, and other senior Hamas figures. Haniya said that the objective of the camps was to instill the campers with values to strengthen their morals and spread the spirit of jihad (Al-Ra’i, June 9, 2013). He also said “Israel has no future in the land of Palestine” (Al-Aqsa TV, June 9, 2013).”

Hamas summer camp

Alternatively, there are Palestinian Islamic Jihad-run camps.

“The PIJ runs its own camps throughout the Gaza Strip where semi-military training and education are emphasized. This year their theme is “The generation of faith,” and each camp session will last two weeks. Campers – including the very young – receive military training and learn how to use weapons. The organization has provided broad media coverage for the camp activities (possibly to compete with Hamas and other organizations running camps).

 On June 12, 2013, a ceremony was held to mark the end of the PIJ’s first camp session in Rafah. It was filmed by an Agence France-Presse correspondent who had been invited to the ceremony (PIJ military-terrorist wing website, June 12, 2013). The ceremony was military and the children demonstrated the various military skills they had acquired, including firing live ammunition, simulating the abduction of an Israeli soldier (See pictures below.).

 According to one of the camp counselors, the objective of the camp was to train a younger generation familiar with the PIJ’s goal of fighting the “Zionist enemy” and a generation faithful to the Qur’an, a concept commanded by PIJ founder Fathi Shqaqi. The counselor said that the camp sessions were in great demand. A 12 year-old camper said that “Today I feel joy at joining the PIJ. I desire to receive military missions in the future and to be like the great shaheeds…the Zionist enemy will not overcome our people, who have been raised on the fundamentals of the Qur’an and on the love of death for the sake of Allah. My father’s blood was not shed in vain. Today I shoot my first bullet. My blood burns in my veins and will not cool until I am on the battlefield fighting the enemy” (PIJ military-terrorist wing website, June 12, 2013).”

Photographs from the AFP report referred to above can be seen here and another AFP report on the subject can be seen here.

PIJ summer camps

AFP also has a short film about one of the Hamas camps. Note the logo on the large sign shown at the beginning of the film and on the children’s t-shirts, in which Israel is erased completely. 

The BBC has so far studiously avoided telling its audiences about these terrorist-run summer camps in which tens of thousands of children are indoctrinated annually with pathological hatred and the belief that Israel will cease to exist. A Google search for ‘BBC & summer camps Gaza Strip’ turns up three results – all of which refer to attacks on UNRWA summer camps in previous years. 

search bbc & summer camps

As long as the BBC continues its campaign to shape audience perceptions by censoring coverage of real obstacles to peace such as the indoctrination of the next generation of its rejectors, BBC coverage of the Middle East cannot comply with its professed standards of accuracy and impartiality and it will not fulfill the “Public Purpose defined in its charter of building “a global understanding of international issues”.