As readers are no doubt aware, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in the early hours of July 8th in an attempt to bring to a halt the barrages of missile fire against Israeli civilians by terrorists in the Gaza Strip which have been ongoing for almost a month and has severely intensified and widened over the last few days.
The BBC News website’s main and Middle East pages announced in their lead headlines on the morning of July 8th “Israel launches new strikes on Gaza” with mention of missile attacks on Israeli citizens relegated to the sub-header.
A similar title was given to the main article on the topic – “Israel launches new air strikes on Gaza Strip“. The article (changes to which can be seen here) opens:
“Israel has carried out more air strikes on the Gaza Strip, following dozens of rockets fired by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.”
No time scale is given in that introduction and so BBC audiences have no idea over what period those “dozens of rockets” were fired. In fact, on the day before the operation commenced – July 7th –more than eighty-five missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip at civilian targets in Israel but the BBC’s tepid description of course gives readers no real appreciation of the intensity of the attacks or their range. In addition, the article neglects to mention that in addition to Hamas, other terrorist organisations have also taken responsibility for missile fire, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a Fatah-linked group. The report goes on:
“At least 15 Palestinians, including two women and a child, were reportedly hurt in the strikes.
Hamas said it fired rockets to respond to “Zionist aggression”, after accusing Israel of killing five of its fighters.
Israel denied the claim. It says it has now begun an open-ended aerial operation to end rocket fire from Gaza.
Israel says the operation will be expanded in the coming days and that 1,500 reservists have been called up.
A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has told the BBC that Israel had the capacity to take its operation “up a notch” and warned that a ground incursion was “not off the table”. “
The five “fighters” to which the BBC refers in its amplification of Hamas propaganda were in fact among those killed whilst handling explosives in a cross-border tunnel in preparation for a terror attack. Oddly, that fact is noted later on in the article and so it is difficult to understand the editorial considerations behind the amplification of a Hamas statement the BBC obviously knows not to be accurate.
The article goes on to repeat a misleading theme which has been promoted in other BBC coverage too.
“Tension has spiked in recent days over the murders of three young Israelis and a Palestinian teenager.”
In fact, augmented missile attacks commenced some two and a half weeks before it was known that three Israeli teenagers and one Palestinian youth had been murdered and they are related to a series of factors unconnected to those murders; not least the balance of power between Hamas and Fatah.
Later versions of the article include the following statement from the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly:
“The sudden escalation has come just days after there was talk of a possible truce between Israel and Gaza with each side suggesting that calm would be answered with calm, our correspondent adds.”
Whilst Israel did indeed state that calm would be met with calm, Connolly’s representation of the Hamas reaction is inaccurate and misleading.
“Head of Hamas’s foreign relations Osama Hamdan said that his movement will not accept any ceasefire in light of the continued siege on Gaza.
He told al-Resalah Net in an interview published on Saturday that the Israeli siege on Gaza is an ongoing aggression that must be stopped.
Hamdan said that there were no regional attempts to reach a ceasefire between Palestinian resistance and Israeli occupation, saying that Egypt did not intervene so far to broker a new calm or to stabilize the old one.
He said that the ceaseless Israeli aggression on the occupied Palestinian land revealed hypocrisy of many parties that only viewed resistance as “terrorism”.
Hamdan described the continued security coordination between the PA and the occupation as a flagrant betrayal of national constants.
He pointed out that certain elements within the PA had supported the Israeli story about the recent events by holding the Palestinian resistance fully responsible for the escalation.”
Later on in this somewhat confused and repetitive article it is stated:
“Hamas said Israel targeted two houses and four training facilities used by the militants across Gaza.
Palestinian medics said 15 people were injured, including two women and a child, in the southern town of Khan Younis.
Hamas militants reportedly warned they would enlarge the radius of their targets if Israel continued with the air strikes.”
The theme of “houses” – or “homes” – was also amplified (albeit citing different numbers) in a BBC World Service tweet and in a filmed report from July 8th by the BBC’s Gaza correspondent Rushdi Abualouf which was aired on BBC television news as well as appearing on the BBC News website.
In his report Abualouf says:
“The spokesman of the Hamas-run interior ministry has said the number of airstrikes has risen into thirty targets. The airstrikes targeted, like, eh…military compound for Hamas and also they have hit five houses as the Hamas spokesman said.”
Reasonable viewers or readers would of course interpret those references to “houses” or “homes” as meaning just random civilian dwellings occupied by residents of the Gaza Strip. That, however, is not the case.
All those “houses” are in fact terror command and control centres used by the following known terrorists:
“Ei’ad Sakik, a Hamas terrorists in Gaza, involved in rocket terrorism against the State of Israel.
Abdullah Hshash, a Hamas terrorist in Rafah, involved in rocket terrorism against the State of Israel during the past few weeks and in the past as well.
Samer Abu Daka, a Hamas terrorist in Khan Yunis, involved in terrorist activity against the State of Israel.
Hassan Abdullah, a Hamas terrorist in Khan Yunis, involved in rocket terrorism against the State of Israel during the past few weeks.”
Despite that information being available in the public domain, the BBC elects to amplify misleading and inaccurate Hamas propaganda in its written and filmed reports and on social media.
One other remarkable fact about this article is its complete failure to inform readers of the highly significant fact that, as of June 2nd 2014, the Palestinian unity government is in charge in the Gaza Strip and of course that government is committed to all previous agreements signed with Israel – which include the disarming of terrorist organisations.