Readers of the first four paragraphs of the obscurely titled report “Israel-Gaza violence flares over tunnel” which appeared on the Middle East page of the BBC News website on November 1st would have great difficulty piecing together the actual sequence of events.
“Four Palestinian militants have been killed and five Israeli soldiers injured in violence in the Gaza Strip, Israeli and Palestinian sources say.”
Despite the fact that the incident began when the Israeli soldiers were attacked, the BBC puts the deaths of Hamas terrorists first in its order of reporting, leading the average reader to understand that chronologically, the injuries to Israeli soldiers came after the terrorists were killed.
“The soldiers were wounded when they were hit by a bomb as they were destroying a tunnel found last month running from Gaza to Israel.”
The use of the opaque phrase “hit by a bomb” instead of a factual description of the fact that Hamas terrorists detonated an explosive device does not aid reader comprehension either.
“A militant died when troops returned fire. Three more were killed in an Israeli air strike, Palestinians said.
The flare-up is one of the bloodiest between Israel and Gaza for months.”
That description omits the fact that the three additional Hamas terrorists were located in another tunnel. The categorisation of the incident as a “flare-up” hampers audience understanding of the fact that it was started by a deliberate attack by Hamas terrorists on IDF forces working to put a cross-border tunnel out of action.
Only from the fifth paragraph down (out of fourteen in total) do readers begin to get a clear idea of what actually happened in this incident.
Why audiences should have to plough through misleading, ambiguous statements for almost a third of an article – rather than being presented with accurate, factual information from the report’s beginning – is difficult to comprehend.
On the evening of the same day – November 1st – a missile fired from the Gaza Strip hit the Eshkol region of south-west Israel. The BBC apparently does not consider that attempted attack on civilian lives to constitute a “flare-up” and the incident was not reported at all.