On February 17th a report headlined “Israeli soldiers duped by Hamas ‘fake women’ phone ruse” was published on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page.
While the story itself is told reasonably, the BBC’s wider framing is worthy of note – mostly because of the information it fails to provide.
The report’s opening line describes Hamas as a “militant group” rather than a widely designated terrorist organisation backed by Iran.
“Dozens of Israeli soldiers have had their smartphones hacked by the Hamas militant group posing as women seeking attention, Israel’s military says.”
In the fourth line readers are told that:
“Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Israel view each other as mortal enemies.”
That simplistic Austin Powers-style portrayal obviously does not inform BBC audiences that Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip two years after Israel had completely disengaged from the territory. Neither does it clarify that both before and since that Hamas coup, Israeli civilians have been the target of tens of thousands of violent attacks perpetrated by that terrorist group.
That of course means that readers lack relevant context concerning the background to what the BBC describes as “a permanent state of conflict” when they reach the last line of the report.
“Israel and Hamas are in a permanent state of conflict and both are engaged in intelligence gathering against one another as part of their ongoing hostilities.”
And on that note of false equivalence between the military intelligence of a sovereign country responsible for the defence of its civilians against terrorism and a scam by a terrorist organisation that seeks the destruction of Israel, the BBC’s simplistic ‘reporting’ ends.