Normally based in Dubai, Middle East business correspondent Mark Lobel appears to be the latest BBC reporter to have been ‘parachuted in’ to provide backup to the Jerusalem Bureau team covering events in Israel and the Gaza Strip.
On August 22nd, Lobel produced a report for BBC television news which was also promoted on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the oddly punctuated title “Israeli child ‘killed by rocket fired from Gaza’“. Whether those inverted commas were intended to convey to audiences that the BBC is not sure that four year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed or not convinced that the mortar (rather than rocket) which caused his death was actually fired from the Gaza Strip is unclear. However – as was the case in the BBC News website’s written article purportedly relating to the same incident – Mark Lobel presented his entire report without mentioning Daniel’s name.
“The Israeli prime minister has come out and offered his condolences..eh…to the family of a four year-old boy who was…ehm…was announced killed by one of these mortar…eh…rounds. What had happened is that since Israel…eh…assassinated three senior Hamas military leaders in the early hours of Thursday morning, there’ve been a flurry of rockets and mortars flying over the border. Eighty – over eighty – since midnight last night and several of these mortars all landed on a kibbutz several…ehm…meters away from the border with Gaza and medics said that a four year-old boy was playing inside his living room and got hit in the head and…eh…was killed.”
Lobel’s claim that missile and mortar fire is a result of the strike in which three Hamas terrorists were killed on August 21st of course misleads viewers by concealing the fact that terrorists in the Gaza Strip had already breached a ceasefire two days prior to that event, with particularly heavy targeting of civilian communities near the border. Lobel continues by further confusing audiences with a claim that the break-down of talks in Cairo preceded the renewed fighting. In fact it was the breach of the ceasefire by Gaza Strip-based terrorists which led to the termination of negotiations.
“And…erm…you know this is all a sign that the fighting on both sides is continuing to pick up since those failed peace talks which were being brokered by Egypt fell through. And..err…since midnight last night on the other side…err…the Israelis have launched over thirty…eh….strikes from the air at Gaza and we’ve got reports from within Gaza that four people have died since midnight.”
The following day – August 23rd – BBC television news audiences viewed a report by Quentin Sommerville (titled “Israel continues air strikes on Gaza targets” in its website version) which likewise failed to name Daniel Tragerman and misled them with regard to the reason for the end of the ceasefire on August 19th.
“This was the aftermath of an earlier Hamas mortar attack. It killed an Israeli child; the fourth civilian to die there since the conflict began. Israel promised it would escalate its campaign in Gaza as a result. After a lull of the ceasefire which ended on Tuesday, the violence and the casualties have been steadily increasing here.”
The ceasefire of course did not simply ‘end’ – it was violated by Palestinian terrorists.
Also on August 23rd a written article appeared on the BBC News website under the headline “Gaza conflict: Mahmoud Abbas urges fresh talks in Egypt“. In that report audiences were once again misled with regard to the reason for the ceasefire’s end.
“A previous Egyptian-brokered truce collapsed on Tuesday.”
In the article’s fourteenth paragraph readers were again informed of the incident in Nahal Oz without any mention of Daniel Tragerman’s name.
“On Friday, a four-year-old Israeli boy was killed in a village near the Gaza border, prompting Israel to warn it would “intensify” its operations.”
Moreover, the very next paragraph of that report consists of amplification of obviously false Hamas propaganda without any qualifying comment from the BBC.
“In an interview with Yahoo News, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal rejected the charge that his organisation targets Israeli civilians.
“We try most of the time to aim at military targets and Israeli bases,” Mr Meshaal said. “But we admit that we have a problem. We do not have the weapons available to our enemy… so aiming is difficult.” “
That same propaganda from the leader of a terrorist organization proscribed by numerous countries precisely because of its history of killing Israeli civilians was again amplified in an article appearing on the BBC News website on August 24th. The title of that report also included bizarre punctuation which implied to audiences that the launching of mortars at a border crossing might perhaps not be seen by the BBC as an attack: “Gaza conflict: Erez crossing ‘attacked’ amid Israel raids“.
The article’s entire representation of the subject matter outlined in its headline is as follows:
“Israel says it has closed the Erez crossing after it came under rocket fire from Gaza, wounding four people.
The crossing is used by aid workers, journalists and Palestinians with Israeli permits to enter or leave Gaza.”
No mention is made of the fact that the people wounded in the attack – two of them seriously – were Arab-Israeli taxi drivers who had been waiting to transport patients from the Gaza Strip to hospitals in Israel.
“Hussein Abu-Einam, an eyewitness on the scene, told Army Radio: “The [drivers] sat in a shed and waited for the passengers and their relatives who were leaving Gaza for Israeli hospitals Ichilov and Tel Hashomer. Then seven shells fell — just one after the other. We didn’t have time to flee; it was a matter of a second.”
Eli Bean, head of Magen David Adom, said the paramedics who were dispatched to the crossing were forced to treat the victims under fire.
“During treatment, we were forced to deal with a number of sirens and mortar explosions fired at us. The mortar shells fell very close to those who were injured,” he said.
Up to 11 mortar and rocket rounds landed near the crossing, the army said.”
Once again, a revisionist version of the breakdown of the ceasefire on August 19th is presented in this report.
“Hostilities between the two sides resumed on Tuesday after a temporary truce, scuppering efforts by Egyptian negotiators to achieve a long-term ceasefire deal.”
And yet again – this time in the sixteenth paragraph – Daniel Tragerman goes unnamed.
“Israel had announced it would “intensify” its offensive after a four-year-old Israeli boy was killed in a village near the Gaza border.”
So too was the case in a filmed report by Alpa Patel which appeared on BBC television news as well as on the BBC News website on August 24th under the inaccurate headline “Gaza residences targeted in Israel air strikes“: the target of that strike was in fact a Hamas command and control centre.
“It followed the killing of a four year-old Israeli boy on Friday in this village near the Gaza border. Israel warned it would intensify its operations as a result. He becomes one of 68 Israelis killed in recent weeks – most of the dead are soldiers. On the Palestinian side more than two thousand have been killed – the majority are civilians.”
As we see, these five items appearing on BBC News platforms over the weekend of August 22nd to 24th all continue what is now evidently the BBC policy of concealing from audiences the reason for the breakdown of the last ceasefire on August 19th and the resulting renewal of hostilities. Not unrelatedly, Khaled Masha’al’s ridiculous claim that Hamas does not target Israeli civilians (contradicted of course on numerous occasions by his less media-savvy accomplices) is amplified unquestioningly by a news organization supposedly committed to bringing its funding public accurate and impartial news. In contrast, the BBC cannot be bothered to name a four year-old victim of the policies of the terrorist organisation whose propaganda it chooses to unquestioningly amplify.