In recent days we have observed here on several occasions that the BBC has failed to provide its audiences with crucial information regarding the networks of tunnels constructed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including the cross-border attack tunnels which are the main aim – and cause – of the current ground operation stage of Operation Protective Edge. Clearly, audiences cannot understand the rationale behind the operation if they are not provided with comprehensive information on the topic of those tunnels.
On July 21st the BBC apparently finally came to a similar conclusion and produced a filmed item which was promoted on the BBC News website’s Middle East page using some interesting and revealing punctuation: “Gaza ‘terror tunnels’ in 60 secs”.
It would seem, therefore, that the BBC is not entirely convinced that the purpose of cross-border tunnels, which have in the last week been used on multiple occasions by heavily armed Hamas terrorists to infiltrate Israeli territory with the intention of killing and/or kidnapping people from nearby civilian farming communities, is terror. The synopsis to that item as it appears on the BBC News website suggests that the BBC is also not entirely convinced of the necessity to deal with those tunnels. [emphasis added]
“Israel sent ground troops into Gaza on Thursday, saying the ground operation is necessary to target Hamas’ network of tunnels.
It has stated the tunnels pose a threat of terrorist attacks against the Israeli population.
Israel said it had killed more than 170 militants since Thursday night, when it launched the offensive.
Air strikes are also continuing, with the Palestinian death toll reportedly nearing 600, the majority of them civilians.
The BBC looks at Israel Defense Forces footage from the operation.”
The video itself – bizarrely (considering that over 700 people were killed in Syria in just two days last week) titled “Middle East crisis: Israel releases ‘Gaza tunnel footage’” – is presented in a no less begrudging vein.
“Israel says tunnels like this are being used by militants to infiltrate its territory”.
The BBC knows full well that numerous infiltrations have taken place in recent days and has even (briefly) reported some of them, so clearly the use of the term “Israel says” here is nothing less than ridiculous.
“This Israel Defense Forces footage shows suspected Hamas fighters in bushes, firing on Israeli troops”.
The BBC’s use of the word “suspected” is equally ridiculous considering that Hamas took responsibility for the incident.
“Hamas’ armed wing the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said it had carried out “an operation behind enemy lines in response to the massacre in Shejaiya [Shaja’iya]” “
Notably, no attempt is made to inform viewers that the real target of those Hamas terrorists shown in the footage was the civilian population of Kibbutz Nir Am.
Twenty-four seconds into a one minute video report supposedly explaining the issue of tunnels to BBC audiences, the subject is changed.
The BBC once again fails to inform audiences of the ratio of combatants to civilians among casualties in Gaza and – as has been the policy since the start of its reporting from the Gaza Strip – fails to exhibit transparency regarding the sources of its information.
“Israel says it has been forced to send troops into Gaza to find and destroy tunnels like this one”
No attempt is made to properly explain to audiences the technical reasons behind the need for a ground operation in order to put the tunnels out of use and audiences are not accurately informed of the scale of the problem.
The BBC may think it has ticked a box with this sixty-second video report but it is clearly nowhere near adequate.