A video currently appearing on the BBC News website’s Middle East page includes the following statements:
“There are strict controls on the movement of goods and people going in and out of Gaza.
Israel and Egypt tightened their blockade after Hamas, a militant group, took control in 2007.”
Similar messaging – often with political overtones – is frequently seen in content provided to BBC audiences.
“Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade around Gaza aimed at preventing attacks by militants there, though the measure has been condemned by rights groups as a form of collective punishment.” BBC News website, February 13th 2017.
“…the stifling border closures the Israeli government says are for security, the people here say are for collective punishment.” BBC World Service radio, February 1st 2017.
“One of the reasons Gaza’s often described as the largest open-air prison in the world is the difficulty of getting across the border with Israel.” BBC World Service radio, May 19th 2015.
However, beyond the ‘Israel says’ mantra, BBC audiences rarely hear about the reasons why restrictions placed on the border with the Gaza Strip are necessary because Hamas terrorism is consistently ignored, downplayed or erased.
On April 19th another story illustrating the need for border restrictions came to light.
“Israeli authorities on Wednesday morning intercepted material used to manufacture explosive devices hidden inside spools of medical material at the Erez Crossing, the Shin Bet announced in a statement.
According to the statement, the material was located during the security check at the crossing in the luggage of two sisters who are residents of the Gaza Strip. The two women had been approved to enter Israel for the purpose of receiving medical treatment for cancer, which one of the two sisters suffers from.
An initial Shin Bet investigation indicated that the explosives were sent by Hamas and that the group was planning to carry out terror attacks in Israel in the near future, the statement read, adding that the material was destroyed by a sapper of the Southern District police force.
“The terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas, continue to exploit the humanitarian and medical assistance provided by Israel to the residents of the Gaza Strip in order to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Israel.””
Predictably, the BBC has not found that story newsworthy.
As long as it continues to avoid reporting such stories and the broader context behind them, the BBC’s omission of vital information continues to shape audience views of Israeli counter-terrorism measures in a manner clearly incompatible with its supposed commitment to accurate and impartial reporting.
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