The hundreds of millions of people worldwide who get their news from the BBC website have seen no reporting whatsoever concerning two separate incidents of rocket fire from Lebanon on northern Israel in recent days.
The first of those attacks took place around noon on August 4th:
“The alarms sounded shortly after 12 p.m. in Kiryat Shmona, Kfar Giladi, and Tel Hai, near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. The IDF said it identified three launches from Lebanon. One failed and fell inside Lebanese territory, while two others hit open areas inside Israel.
The surprise sirens sent residents scrambling to shelters in the frontier town. Explosions were heard in the area and videos showed smoke rising from an impact site. One of the rockets caused a large fire in a field near Kiryat Shmona.”
The IDF responded with artillery fire and later airstrikes.
“The IDF renewed retaliatory strikes at military targets in Lebanon late Wednesday, in response to rocket fire that sparked blazes that were still tearing through forested hillsides in northern Israel some 12 hours later.
Israeli fighter jets targeted the Lebanese border areas from which the rocket fire originated, in addition to other terror infrastructure, the army said. The air force also struck a site that was used to fire rockets at Israel in the past.
The air strikes in Lebanon were the first one openly acknowledged by the military in southern Lebanon since 2014. Previous responses were limited to artillery shelling.”
Although BBC staff were aware of those attacks, no mention of them appeared on the BBC News website. However, listeners to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Six O’Clock News’ on the following day – August 5th – heard a report (from 24:46 here) that focused on Israel’s response and in which the area attacked was inaccurately described as “the Golan Heights” rather than the Upper Galilee. [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]
Newsreader: “Israel has carried out a series of airstrikes in southern Lebanon – the first time it’s done so for seven years – after rockets were fired into the Golan Heights yesterday. No casualties have been reported. Our correspondent Jenny Hill is in Jerusalem.”
Usually based in Berlin, Jenny Hill has apparently been sent to do a stint in Jerusalem. Listeners heard nothing about the serious fires caused by the rocket attacks or the civilians affected by them but they did hear a description of Israel’s response and a claim that Israel ‘unleashes’ airstrikes on Lebanon without any context provided. Erasing Hizballah’s terrorist designation from the picture, Hill promoted the notion that “Palestinian factions” could launch missiles from southern Lebanon without its approval.
Hill: “It’s rare these days for Israel to unleash airstrikes on its northern neighbour but its response to yesterday’s rocket attacks has been notably forceful. It’s not yet clear who was behind the firing of three missiles from southern Lebanon – two of which struck Israeli territory – but most, including Israel’s defence minister Benny Gantz, suspect Palestinian factions acting with or without the knowledge of the Lebanese organisation Hizballah which is backed by Iran. The attacks follow a suspected drone strike last week on an Israeli-linked tanker off the coast of Oman, which Israel, the US and Britain have blamed on Iranian forces. No-one is reported to have been injured in this latest exchange of fire though the Lebanese president said the airstrikes represented a direct threat to security and stability in the south of his country. The development will do little to calm what many fear are rising tensions in the region.”
Audiences heard nothing about the failure of UNIFIL to ensure that southern Lebanon should be “an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL deployed in this area” under the terms of its mandate according to UN SC resolution 1701.
Two days after that attack, on August 6th, another one took place.
“Nineteen rockets were fired at northern Israel from Lebanon on Friday morning, sending residents in a number of towns in the Golan Heights and Galilee Panhandle scrambling to shelters. The Hezbollah terror group later acknowledged responsibility for the barrage, its heaviest since the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
The Israel Defense Forces said 10 projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and six landed in open around Mount Dov. Another three rockets failed to clear the border and landed in Lebanese territory, according to the military.
The alarms sounded shortly before 11 a.m. in Ein Quiniyye, Neveh Ativ and Snir, near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and Syria.”
That attack was likewise ignored by the BBC News website but coverage did appear on the BBC Arabic site. The afternoon edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ included an item (from 30:04 here) introduced by presenter Paul Henley as follows:
Henley: “Tensions are spilling over on the Israeli-Lebanese border. The militant group Hizballah says it has fired dozens of rockets at open ground near Israeli positions. Israel is saying most were brought down by their air defences. The audio was posted by the Israeli Defence Force – this audio – on social media.”
Listeners heard an uninformative recording of the sound of explosions before Henley – who apparently has difficulty understanding the difference between artillery fire and airstrikes – went on:
Henley: “The Israelis have returned artillery fire. It was the first time Israel launched airstrikes in Lebanese territory since the 2006 Lebanon war and today is the first time since then that Hizballah has assumed responsibility for rocket fire, so this is clearly escalating.”
Listeners then heard a short interview with Israeli journalist Neri Zilber, who referred to “continuous rocket fire from southern Lebanon this past week and really over the past three months”. That includes an attack on July 20th that was also ignored by the BBC News website.
The fact that editors at the BBC News website – which is described by the corporation as “a permanent public record…in the public interest” – did not consider three separate incidents of rocket attacks launched from Lebanon against Israel in less than three weeks to be newsworthy obviously compromises that website’s own relevance and its frequently promoted claim to be a source of “news you can trust”.