On the morning of October 5th sirens sounded in Sderot and the surrounding area as a missile was launched from the Gaza Strip. Narrowly missing a school and homes, the missile landed in a residential area of Sderot, causing damage but fortunately no physical injuries. Israel later responded with strikes on Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip. A Salafist group based in the Gaza Strip claimed responsibility for the attack.
“The Islamic State-affiliated Ahfad al-Sahaba-Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis terrorist group took responsibility for the rocket launch in statements released in both Arabic and Hebrew.
“Oh you cowardly Jews: You don’t have safety in our land. [Former defense minister Moshe] Ya’alon, the failure at giving security. [Defense Minister Avigdor] Liberman to fail will be a certainty,” the salafist group said in its statement, in poorly translated Hebrew.
The attack against Israel was apparently a response to the Strip’s Hamas rulers arresting several members of the Salafist organization, according to the group’s statement.”
Once again, this missile attack on Israeli civilians received no coverage whatsoever on the BBC’s English language website. Visitors to the BBC Arabic website, on the other hand, found the incident – and primarily the Israeli response – covered in two separate reports on other topics: here and here.
The pattern of reporting whereby missile attacks from the Gaza Strip are not covered in the English language but Israel’s response to those attacks is reported in Arabic has been predominant since the end of the summer 2014 conflict. Since the beginning of 2016, just one missile attack has been – belatedly – reported by the BBC in the English language.
January 1st: BBC News ignores Gaza missile attacks, BBC Arabic reports Israeli response
January 24th: BBC News ignores Gaza missile attack again – in English
March 11th: BBC News continues to ignore missile attacks on Israelis – in English
March 15th: missile attack not reported.
May 6th: Patchy and selective BBC News reporting of Gaza border incidents
May 25th: BBC News fails to report another Gaza missile attack to English-speakers
July 1st: Another Gaza missile attack ignored by the BBC
August 21st: Response reported in Arabic, attack and response reported a day later in English.
September 14th: BBC ignores – in English – another projectile launched from Gaza
October 5th: Response reported in Arabic.
The BBC’s public purposes remit commits it to “giving insight into the way people live in other countries” and building “understanding of international issues”. The continuing appearance of this pattern of reporting obviously means that English-speaking audiences – including the corporation’s funding public – are still not receiving the information which would enable their understanding of how civilians in Sderot and other communities in the Western Negev live or enhance their comprehension of the issue of terrorism in the Gaza Strip.