On January 31st the BBC News website published a report titled “Ismail Haniya: US designates Hamas leader as terrorist“.
“The United States has designated the political leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas as a terrorist and imposed sanctions on him.
The state department said Ismail Haniya had “close links with Hamas’ military wing” and been a “proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians”.”
“Haniyeh has close links with Hamas’ military wing and has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians. He has reportedly been involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.” [emphasis added]
The report went on:
“Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, is already designated a terrorist group by the US, Israel, the EU and UK.
It denounced as “worthless” the blacklisting of Mr Haniya.
A statement from the group said the decision would “not dissuade us from continuing to hold fast to the option of resisting and expelling the [Israeli] occupation”.”
BBC audiences were not informed that the term “resisting” is a euphemism for terrorism against Israelis or that as far as Hamas is concerned “the occupation” means Israel in its entirety.
Neither were they told that additional reactions from Hamas officials described the US announcement as “a violation of international laws” and “a reflection of the domination by a gang of Zionists of the American decision” and the BBC’s article was not updated to reflect the fact that the PLO also later condemned the designation.
The article continued:
“The state department also designated three militant groups as terrorist entities:
- Harakat al-Sabireen, an Iranian-backed group that operates primarily in the Gaza and the West Bank and is led by Hisham Salem, the former leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It is accused of planning and executing attacks, including firing rockets from Gaza into Israel
- Liwa al-Thawra, a group active in Egypt’s Qalyubia and Menoufia provinces that has said it was behind the assassination of an Egyptian army commander in Cairo in 2016 and the bombing of a police training centre in Tanta in 2017
- HASM, another Egyptian group that has claimed it assassinated an officer from Egypt’s National Security Agency and carried out an attack on Myanmar’s embassy in Cairo”
BBC audiences reading this report would no doubt have been surprised to learn of the existence of the first organisation on that list given that – as noted here over two years ago – the corporation has failed to produce any reporting whatsoever on Harakat al-Sabireen.
Readers were also not told that the other two groups on the list are suspected of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hence when they read at the end of the report that the US Secretary of State said that “[t]hese designations target key terrorist groups and leaders – including two sponsored and directed by Iran” [emphasis added], BBC audiences would not understand that, in addition to Harakat al-Sabireen, he was referring to Hamas.