BBC shows limited interest in a new Gaza border wall

The BBC's non-Arabic speaking audiences have not been informed of a new barrier on the Gaza Strip border.

Last month various media outlets reported that Egypt had begun the construction of a wall along its border with the Gaza Strip.

“Egypt has begun building a concrete wall along its border with the Gaza Strip, AFP journalists and a Palestinian security official from the Hamas terror group said Wednesday.

Dozens of workers aided by cranes could be seen erecting the structure, which will stretch some three kilometers (two miles) from Gaza’s southeastern tip at Karem Shalom to the Rafah crossing with Egypt, the only gateway out of Gaza that does not lead into Israel.

The wall is being built along the lines of an old, lower barrier that includes an underground structure designed to curb smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.”

According to Asharq al Awsat the aim of the structure is “to end the infiltration of extremists to and from Sinai”.

BBC Arabic also published a report on that story on February 18th. Readers were told that “the border wall is about six meters in height and with concrete bases of up to three meters underground, to counter the tunnels” and that:

“Egypt has been seeking in recent years to demolish tunnels on the 14-kilometer border with Gaza, with the aim of preventing the infiltration of militants and extremists into Egyptian territory, the government says.”

In other words, the aim of the structure being constructed by Egypt is the same as that of both Israel’s defences along the border with the Gaza Strip and the anti-terrorist fence: to stop the passage of terrorists.  

Just two months ago BBC Radio 4 listeners heard the barrier constructed by Israel along the Gaza Strip border portrayed using the ‘open-air prison’ cliché.

“In Gaza the wall is so all-encompassing, in some ways so incredibly difficult to penetrate, that in fact it acts as a kind of a very large-scale prison. People often use that terminology to define…to describe Gaza as a large open-air prison but in fact the walls that surround it, at least on the land side, feels like anybody who’s in Gaza is stuck there.”

However in contrast to its continued high level of coverage of Israeli-built structures, the BBC has to date not even bothered to inform its non-Arabic speaking audiences of the existence of the Egyptian wall, let alone describe it in such inflammatory terms.   

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