The BBC News website’s main report on the subject of the commencement of Operation Protective Edge on July 8th went under the title “Israel ‘ready for escalation’ of Gaza conflict“.
The report opens as follows, already whitewashing Hamas’ international terrorist designations:
“At least 15 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip as Israel launches a major air and sea offensive against the militant group Hamas.”
Readers had to continue right down to the eleventh paragraph and past the loaded sub-header ‘War crime’ in order to learn that some of those casualties were actually terrorists.
“Among those killed in the raids were four Hamas members who died in Gaza City when their car was struck. One of the dead was Mohammed Shaaban, a senior militant.
Later, the home of a Hamas leader in the southern city of Khan Younis was hit, killing six people. Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said two teenage boys were among those killed. Another 25 people were injured.
A Hamas spokesman condemned the air strike, calling it a “horrendous war crime”.”
No mention is made of the fact that the people killed in Khan Younis were acting as ‘human shields’ on the roof of the house (which was also used for terrorist purposes) at the time of their deaths or that a warning was given to the occupants to vacate the building before the strike was carried out.
Despite having last been updated at 22:14 local time, the report states in its opening paragraphs:
“It [the military operation] comes in response to Hamas firing more than 130 rockets at Israeli cities since Monday night.
On Tuesday evening, militants launched several rockets towards Jerusalem but did not hit the city, Israeli police said.”
Later on the report states:
“The militant group [Hamas] later said it had launched several rockets at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities on Tuesday.
Israeli officials said none of the missiles had reached their target.”
The source of that last sentence is unclear but it is certainly inaccurate. In fact, on Tuesday evening alone terrorists fired tens of missiles at numerous Israeli cities including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with planes en route to Ben Gurion airport having to have their flight paths altered as a result. On the same evening a terrorist infiltration was thwarted near Kibbutz Zikim. A total of 117 missiles hit Israel on July 8th and a further 29 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system. The northern town of Hadera – 100 kms from the Gaza Strip – was hit on Tuesday evening with an M302 missile: the type discovered on the ship which Israel intercepted in March of this year and which originates from Syria. The footage below shows a wedding which was taking place in Ashdod on the evening of July 8th.
The BBC, however, elected to describe all the above using the phlegmatic term “several rockets”.
One slight improvement seen in this report in comparison to previous coverage was the fact that the BBC no longer inaccurately claimed that Hamas rules the Gaza Strip.
“It [Israel] confirmed that aircraft and naval vessels had targeted militant compounds, rocket launchers and other infrastructure in Gaza, which is dominated by Hamas and until recently was governed by it.”
However, once again no attempt was made to inform audiences which body does now govern the Gaza Strip – the Palestinian unity government – and so the BBC continues to fail to provide audiences with information vital to their complete understanding of this latest escalation of conflict.
The report also includes brief contributions from Yolande Knell in Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip and – in what is the first visit by a BBC reporter since this latest surge in missile fire began four weeks earlier – James Reynolds in Sderot. In Knell’s contribution we see her documentation of the fact that Hamas and other terrorist organisations fire missiles from residential areas in the Gaza Strip.
“Nearby a house had just been damaged by an Israeli air strike. Two ambulances whizzed by carrying away the injured.
“[Militants] used to launch rockets from here. [The Israeli military] targeted these houses several times,” a local man told us.”
Notably, that documentation was not given the sub-heading ‘War crime’.