On April 6th the BBC News website published a report originally titled “Gaza-Israel border clashes erupt as protests begin” which was subsequently updated several times and now appears under the headline “Deadly unrest on Gaza-Israel border as Palestinians resume protests“.
The background to the story as presented to readers included a description of Israel as “ancestral lands” of Palestinian refugees:
“The protesters are demanding that refugees be allowed to return to ancestral lands that are now in Israel. […]
“Israel took everything from us, the homeland, freedom, our future,” 27-year-old protester Samer told Reuters news agency. “I have two kids – a boy and a girl – and if I die, God will take care of them.” […]
Hamas and other groups organising the six-week protest campaign, dubbed the Great March of Return, say they are peacefully calling for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to land they fled from or were forced to leave in 1948, when Israel was created.”
As has been the case in previous BBC reporting on the same ongoing story, no effort was made to clarify to readers that the vast majority of the people described as refugees are in fact descendants of refugees or that the aim of the Palestinian demand for ‘right of return’ is in fact to eradicate the Jewish state: a goal that it is incompatible with the internationally accepted ‘two-state solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Instead the BBC settled for the following opaque statement:
“The Israeli government has long ruled out any right of return…”
Readers were told that ‘Israel says’ that some participants in the publicity stunt were trying to breach the border.
“But Israel says the militant group Hamas, which dominates Gaza, is staging the rallies in order to launch attacks. […]
The Israeli government…says terrorists are using the cover of the protests to try to cross illegally into its territory.”
However, the BBC failed to inform its audiences that Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip made it clear that breaching the border is indeed the aim of the agitprop.
“He [Yahya Sinwar] said the world should “wait for our great move, when we breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa,” referring to the major Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.
Arriving at one of the demonstration sites, Sinwar received a hero’s welcome. He was surrounded by hundreds of supporters who chanted, “We are going to Jerusalem, millions of martyrs.”
As has also been the case in all BBC reporting on this story to date, the article quoted and promoted casualty figures provided by the “health ministry” without clarifying that it is run by Hamas – the terror group co-organising the ‘Great Return March’ – and with nothing to suggest that the information had been independently verified by the BBC.
“Ten Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during fresh protests on Gaza’s border with Israel, Palestinian health ministry officials say. […]
One of those killed in the latest unrest was Yasser Murtaja, a journalist with the Gaza-based Ain Media agency, the health ministry in Gaza said. […]
Gaza’s health ministry said a 16-year-old boy was among those killed by Israeli gunfire, and that more than 1,300 other people were wounded.”
Notably, the BBC had nothing to say on the topic of the environmental pollution caused by the burning of thousands of vehicle tyres as part of Friday’s agitprop.
“Piles of tyres were set on fire in an attempt to create a smokescreen to block the view of Israeli snipers, as thousands of protesters gathered at five sites along the 65km-long (40-mile) Israel-Gaza border for fresh protests on Friday.”
“A spokeswoman for the UN high commissioner for human rights warned that, under international law, firearms could be used only in cases of extreme necessity, as a last resort and in response to an imminent threat of death or risk of serious injury.”
The BBC also found it appropriate to provide readers with a link to a campaign statement on the website of the political NGO it most quoted and promoted during 2017.
Readers were not informed of criticisms of that controversial call to disobey orders.
As we see the BBC’s coverage of this story continues to fail to provide audiences with the background information on the Palestinian maximalist demand for the ‘right of return’ that is essential for full understanding of this latest bout of Hamas agitprop.