A taste of the BBC’s Shifa-washing

Previously we have discussed some of the erroneous claims aired on BBC television programmes concerning IDF operations at the Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip:



The IDF has published photographs and videos of findings at that hospital and others, including weapons, vehicles and tunnels. On November 19th the IDF released CCTV footage from Shifa hospital showing hostages being brought there by armed men on October 7th as well as additional filmed evidence of tunnels.

Notably, as the evidence of Hamas’ known exploitation of hospitals and other civilian facilities mounts (including testimonies from Hamas terrorists), BBC audiences have seen no small amount of coverage promoting what can only be described as attempts to whitewash the findings and promote specific framing of the story.

Here are just a few recent examples: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

November 14th, BBC News at Ten, Orla Guerin.

Israel claims that Hamas hides beneath al Shifa and operates a command centre below ground. Hamas denies this and so do doctors at the hospital. Tonight the Israeli army issued video which it claims is concrete proof that Hamas is entrenched in hospitals in Gaza, in this case the al Rantissi childrens’ hospital. […] There’s been no independent access to the basement. The BBC cannot verify any of the army’s claims.”

November 15th, BBC News website, Sam Hancock.

“On Wednesday, Israel said it found Hamas’ “operational centre” at the hospital, sharing images of what it said were Hamas weapons and equipment.

Hamas denies operating there and the BBC cannot independently verify claims by either side. […]

In a seven-minute video, IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus pointed to security cameras that he said had been covered over, and weapons that he said were AK47 rifles hidden behind MRI scanners.

The BBC has not yet been able to verify the video or its location.

But unless Israel has more to reveal, the military’s controversial operation inside the hospital did not net a major arsenal of weapons, reports the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Jerusalem.”

November 16th, BBC News website

“The IDF says Hamas has been using the hospital as a command centre, and has spent two days searching the complex for evidence of this. Hamas denies operating there and the BBC cannot independently verify claims by either side.”

November 16th, Newsnight, Mustafa Barghouti.

“I think what happened in al Shifa hospital is a scandal for the Israelis. It’s actually the mother of all scandals. They’ve been talking about operational command centre, they’ve been talking about hostages kept there. They couldn’t prove anything. Nothing. […] They couldn’t show any evidence. They just fabricated things and then they use propaganda. […] They can’t prove anything because what they say is propaganda and not the truth. […] They’re not attacking Hamas; they’re attacking hospitals. They have evicted every hospital in the north of Gaza and the centre of Gaza because they are conducting ethnic cleansing of the people of the north of Gaza and the Gaza City.”

November 17th, BBC News channel, Dr Jane Crawley.

BBC journalist: “And what about the photographs and video that is coming out from the Israeli military in terms of what they have found – they say they have found – at al Shifa hospital, with explosives and ammunition and AK47 assault rifles, a tunnel that they say they have now found. Does that compute at all with what you have seen at all over your several visits to al Shifa over the years?”

Crawley: “Over the years we have never seen any evidence of any military activity in the hospital, period. So, you know, and I feel this Israeli soldier who’s finding ammunitions, I mean does this justify…does this justify bombing a hospital? Does this justify raiding a hospital and interrogating patients and basically killing patients because you’re withholding proper clinical care from them?”  

November 19th, BBC News channel, Tahani Mustafa (International Crisis Group and Al Shabaka)

Mustafa: “I mean Israel has a serious credibility issue in this war at the moment. You know, images we’re seeing – again, they haven’t been verified and your correspondent made that very clear – we haven’t had any independent third party verify them but even then, you know, we know that Hamas has a significant tunnel system underneath Gaza that stretches hundreds of kilometers. That’s no secret to anyone. Now with Israel claiming that they’ve [Hamas] been using Shifa hospital as a command centre, you know, that really does change the dynamics here because if Israel cannot produce any verifiable evidence, that really does bring into question the way that Israel has justified its actions in order to violate international law here. Hospitals are meant to be safe places. They are meant to be places that are meant to be safe from military activity. Now Israel has justified this on the basis of Hamas using this as a command centre – again, Hamas has explicitly refuted this claim. Doctors themselves have not verified this. They themselves have said that they’ve seen no evidence of this. […] Israel’s evidence that they have produced about this has been completely debunked and discredited. Even the BBC stated that a lot of the images that had come out of the last few days had been doctored. So you know it really does look like a serious intelligence failure on the behalf of both Israel and the US.”

November 19th, BBC News website, Oliver Slow.

“Israel’s military has raided the hospital in recent days, as part of what it describes as a “targeted operation against Hamas”, but is yet to provide substantial evidence that the group conducted a major operation in tunnels underneath the medical complex.”

November 19th, BBC News website, Nick Beake.

“The Israeli military has released footage which it says shows hostages being taken into Gaza’s largest hospital after the deadly Hamas attacks of 7 October. […]

Israel said a tunnel had been found at the site which it claims was a Hamas command centre. Hamas denies that.

The BBC has not been able to verify the video which was presented at a news briefing by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Sunday. […]

Responding to the video released by Israel, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said it was not able to confirm the authenticity of the footage. […]

The latest video is not yet the evidence that’s been promised of the sort of vast and intricate operation depicted in a computer simulation which the IDF previously released showing what it believes any Hamas base underground at al-Shifa could look like.”

In addition to the BBC’s repeated declarations concerning its inability to verify images and footage provided by the IDF – even as it continues daily to uncritically promote unverified casualty figures provided by a terrorist organisation – it is remarkable that the corporation is not only doing its level best to downplay the evidence of Hamas’ exploitation of medical facilities but at the same time uncritically promoting deliberate disinformation from partisan commentators such as claims of  “bombing a hospital” and “ethnic cleansing”.

Apparently the BBC has reached such a low level that promotion of a narrative overrides any concern for the civilian population of the Gaza Strip that is supposed to receive services from the hospitals, ambulances, schools and mosques that are exploited by terrorist groups.

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  1. says: Neil

    Of course since the release of further revelations by the IDF plus video evidence from the hospital, it is notable that the BBC once again do not print a retraction. Telling lies is permitted in Islam provided it is justified by furthering the goal of Islam. How anyone can give credence anything the BBC produce is beyond most intelligent people. Their purpose is to deceive the general public and lie through their teeth. Impartiality like the word terrorist is not in their vocabulary #defundthebbc

  2. says: Mik Liska

    Yes BBC is slanted, particularly Mr. Beake.

    I would ask that he check out the diplomacy of these states people’s:
    – The Elders
    – USMEP

    It will bring a broad guide light to reporting.

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