In late October 2015 the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell produced filmed and audio reports from Hebron, both of which made no attempt to inform BBC audiences about Hamas activity in that city but did provide an on PLO messaging portrayal of the numerous terror attacks there.
“Basically on the ground here you get two starkly contrasting narratives. Speaking to the Israelis over there, they see all of this as hateful, senseless violence. But Palestinians here say that their anger stems from the political situation and their feelings of despair.”
On January 7th the Israeli security services announced the apprehension of a Hamas cell made up of members from Jerusalem and Hebron.
“Members of the group, from Jerusalem and Hebron, had planned to use the corpses of their victim or victims in order to negotiate the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, similar to the motive behind the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenage boys in June 2014.
From the Shin Bet’s investigation of the Hamas operatives, the cell was in the “advanced planning stages” and had begun preparing the place where they would store the bodies of the kidnapped person or people.
“This case reconfirms that Hamas still aspires to carry out serious terror attacks, even now, in order to further egg on the recent wave of terror into a violent intifada,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.”
Three days later, on January 10th, the Israeli security services announced the arrest of another Hamas cell in Hebron.
“The cell had purchased a variety of weapons, including an M-16 rifle, in order to carry out a terror attack on the Route 35 highway, which runs between Hebron and the coastal city of Ashkelon, the Shin Bet said in a statement.
“The thwarting of this terror cell, which was nearly prepared to carry out an attack, again demonstrates the never-ending attempts by Hamas operatives in Hebron to carry out severe terror acts,” the statement said.”
Both those Hamas cells were led by members of Hebron’s Qawasmeh clan (also spelt Kawasme).
“The cell announced Thursday included six people — three Israeli citizens living in Jerusalem, and three others from Hebron. They were led by Maher Qawasmeh, a 36-year-old from Hebron, who was previously imprisoned for two years for helping plan terror attacks for Hamas, the Shin Bet said.”
“The head of the alleged terror cell, Mehmad Ali Qawasmeh, is the brother of one of the terrorists responsible for the abduction-killing of three Israeli teenagers in the summer of 2014, the Shin Bet said.
Qawasmeh is a member of the extended Qawasmeh family, a strong Hamas force within the city of Hebron. Another member of the family, Maher Qawasmeh, was arrested in December by the Shin Bet for leading another terror cell, which planned to kidnap and murder Israelis in order to negotiate the release of Palestinian prisoners, the security service said last week.”
Readers may recall that the BBC’s coverage of the Hebron-based group which kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens in June 2014 was notable for its downplaying of the cell’s Hamas connections and that Jon Donnison went even further.
There has been no BBC coverage of the arrests of these latest two Hamas cells led by members of the Qawasmeh family.
BBC audiences continue to remain grossly under informed about the topic of Hamas’ activities in Hebron and other Palestinian Authority controlled areas, its longstanding attempts to boost its terrorist infrastructure in those locations and its current efforts to take the ongoing wave of terrorism to a more violent level; not only – as noted by Avi Issacharoff – out of motivations connected to Israel.
“But should Hamas go through with its reported decision to renew suicide bombings and ramp up the number of shootings, all it may take is one especially devastating mass-casualty attack for the knife to be replaced by a Kalashnikov rifle or an explosive belt as the symbol of the struggle.
Hamas knows that only one successful suicide attack within the Green Line is all it’ll take to sever the last tattered remnants of the ties between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, including security coordination.
Such an attack will bring severe Israeli punitive steps against the authority, weakening it even more, while catapulting the already popular Hamas to a more prominent position in the West Bank.”
If the BBC is to fulfil its remit of building “understanding of international issues” then obviously it cannot continue to make do with explaining away the current wave of terrorism against Israelis by using a politically motivated narrative of Palestinian “despair” and “anger”. It also has an obligation to tell its audiences about the part played in organizing and inciting violence by terror organisations such as Hamas – and the potential consequences of those actions.