On May 13th the BBC News website’s Middle East page featured an article titled “Israel ex-PM Ehud Olmert jailed for six years for bribery“. The report, which underwent many amendments before reaching its final form (including a correction to the BBC’s renaming of the judge) was generally accurate until a side-box of ‘analysis’ from Yolande Knell was added to its later versions.
There, BBC audiences were told that:
“But in his [Olmert’s] three years in office [as prime minister] he also took Israel into two bloody, armed conflicts – the 2006 war with the militant Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah, and a three-week offensive on Gaza in 2008-2009 that left some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.”
The 2006 second Lebanon war of course began because what Knell euphemistically and clumsily describes as “the militant Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah” (with no mention of its terrorist designation by numerous countries or its Iranian sponsor) killed and kidnapped Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid whilst simultaneously attacking Israeli civilian communities with missiles. That crucial background information is, however, denied to Knell’s readers.
Likewise, Knell’s description of Operation Cast Lead fails to inform BBC audiences that prior to the commencement of the operation on December 27th 2008, Israeli towns and villages in the proximity of the Gaza Strip had been subjected to intense missile fire from terrorist groups based in the Strip.
Knell’s statement that “some 1,400 Palestinians” were killed during the operation of course conceals the fact that – according to Hamas’ own Interior Minister – around half of the casualties were Hamas terrorist combatants.
However, readers of this so-called analysis from Knell are steered towards a version of events which clearly implies that both those conflicts were initiated by Israel’s prime minister at the time and conceals all mention of the actions of terrorist organisations which sparked the two bouts of hostilities.