On the morning of February 24th the BBC news website’s ‘Middle East’ page published a report concerning a sequence of events that took place the previous day.
Those events were presented in reverse chronological order with the article’s headline – “Israel says it struck Islamic Jihad sites in Gaza and Syria” – telling audiences only of the last episodes in the series of incidents.
The report’s first five paragraphs related to Israeli strikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip and Syria. The PIJ was presented as a “Palestinian militant group” (a euphemistic portrayal twice repeated later on in the report) despite the fact that it has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the UK government since 2001. Once again readers found unqualified BBC promotion of standard Syrian regime propaganda. [emphasis added]
“The Israeli military says it has launched air strikes against a Palestinian militant group in Gaza and Syria in response to rocket fire.
Israel’s military said it had struck Islamic Jihad targets in southern Damascus and the Gaza Strip on Sunday.
In a rare acknowledgement of a strike on Syria, the Israeli military said it targeted “a hub of Islamic Jihad’s activity”.
Syria said its air defences shot down most of the Israeli missiles.
Four people were wounded in Gaza, health officials say, but there have been no immediate reports of fatalities from the Israeli strikes.”
BBC audiences were not informed of the nature of the PIJ targets in Syria (although a BBC Jerusalem correspondent knows what they were) or that at least two members of the terror group were killed in that strike. The Times of Israel reports:
“The IDF said its fighter jets targeted the main base of the Iran-backed terror group in Syria, which it said was used to develop new weapons and to manufacture “tens of kilograms of [ammonium perchlorate]” rocket fuel each month.
The military said the site, in the Damascus suburb of al-Adleyeh, was also used for training exercises for members of the organization “both from the Strip and on the northern front,” referring to Lebanon and Syria.”
The BBC’s report continued in reverse chronological order:
“The strikes were launched after southern Israel was hit by a barrage of at least 20 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip earlier on Sunday. There were no reports of casualties.”
The BBC’s portrayal of “at least 20 rockets” reduces by a third the number actually launched. As is more often than not the case, BBC audiences were told nothing of how those rocket attacks had affected local residents or of the related closure of schools, roads and railway lines on the day this article was published.
The article went on to portray events which preceded the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.
“The hostilities began on Sunday morning, when Israel said it killed an Islamic Jihad member along its border fence with the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s military said the the [sic] man was attempting to plant an explosive device.
A video shared widely on social media showed an Israeli bulldozer scooping up the body of the man, provoking anger among Palestinians.
Some Palestinians called for retaliation and hours later, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, setting off air raid sirens.”
The IDF released filmed evidence of the two PIJ terrorists planting the IED at the border fence but the BBC nevertheless chose to portray that event as something that ‘Israel says’ took place. While the BBC did tell readers of “a video” showing “an Israeli bulldozer”, they were not informed of the related fact that two Israeli civilians and the remains of two Israeli soldiers are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Neither were audiences informed that the mourning tent set up for the person the BBC chose to describe as “the man” included a photograph of him in military uniform carrying a weapon.
The BBC found it appropriate to remind audiences of previous incidents:
“Violence between Israel and Islamic Jihad flared up last November, when an Israeli air strike killed a senior commander of the militant group in Gaza.
Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians were seen earlier this month too, days after US President Donald Trump unveiled his peace plan.”
Audiences were not however informed of a much more recent incident in which Palestinian Islamic Jihad snipers opened fire at is Israeli forces.
To summarise: two Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists tried to plant a bomb intended to kill Israelis at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel but were thwarted. Additional PIJ terrorists then fired over 30 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians in ‘retaliation’. The Israeli army responded with strikes on the terror group’s military assets in the Gaza Strip (including a rocket launching squad) and in Syria. The following day the BBC News website published a report with a headline and first five paragraphs relating to the last chapter in that chain of events, while having produced no stand-alone reporting on the rocket attacks against Israeli civilians which had commenced eleven hours earlier and devoting one sole two-sentence paragraph to that topic in this report.