How did the BBC News website portray Hamas’ ceasefire breaches?

The pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas that had come into place on November 24th ended on the morning of December 1st when the terrorist organisation failed to provide a list of names of the remaining female and child hostages to be released and renewed rocket fire at Israeli civilian communities. As reported by the Times of Israel:

“Ahead of the eighth day of the truce, Hamas failed to propose a list of hostages set for release that would be acceptable to Israel in the final hours, as stipulated in the deal, and instead sent a message through Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it was prepared to release male hostages. Hamas had also proposed to release bodies of hostages it said were killed during captivity.

Israel responded by saying that it knows Hamas is still holding roughly 17 more women and two children, including the youngest hostage — Kfir Bibas — who is 10 months old, and that it would not hold talks on other categories of hostages until all female and child abductees are released.”

Mossad chief David Barnea warned Hamas through mediators overnight Thursday-Friday that the IDF would resume its fighting if another group of women and children weren’t released Friday. […]

Hamas responded to Israel’s warning by firing a rocket roughly one hour before the truce was slated to expire at 7 a.m. Friday.”

That rocket attack on Sderot and surrounding areas at around 05:45 on the morning of December 1st was followed by another attack on Kibbutz Holit just before the 7 a.m. deadline. Hamas had also claimed responsibility for a fatal terror attack in Jerusalem the previous day. Consequently, at 07:15 the IDF announced that it had resumed operations in the Gaza Strip.

The US Secretary of State summed up those events as follows:

“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken places the blame for the truce coming to an end this morning squarely on Hamas.

“It’s important to understand why the pause came to an end. It came to an end because of Hamas. Hamas reneged on commitments it had made,” he tells reporters before departing from Dubai where he was in town for the day to attend the COP28 climate conference.

“In fact, even before the pause came to an end, it committed an atrocious terrorist attack in Jerusalem, killing three people and wounding others, including Americans,” Blinken continues. “It began firing rockets before the pause ended, and as I said it reneged on the commitments it made in terms of releasing certain hostages.””

The BBC News website, however, failed to provide its audiences with a sufficiently clear picture of why the pause in fighting had come to an end.

On the afternoon of December 1st the BBC News website published a report by Oliver Slow headlined “Why has the Gaza ceasefire come to an end?” in which readers found use of the “Israel says” formula alongside promotion of the Hamas terrorist organisation’s propaganda. [emphasis added]

“An hour before the ceasefire was due to end at 07:00 local time (05:00 GMT), the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that sirens were sounding for communities close to the Gaza Strip – it then said it had intercepted a rocket fired from the enclave.

An hour later, Israel’s military said fighting had resumed, accusing Hamas of violating the terms of the agreement.

The IDF then said its fighter jets were striking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Shortly after, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas had not “met its obligation to release all of the women hostages today and has launched rockets at Israeli citizens”.

However, Hamas blamed Israel for the resumption in fighting, saying it refused “to accept all offers to release other hostages”.

“The occupation had a prior decision to resume the criminal aggression,” it said in a statement, blaming US President Joe Biden for “the continuation of Zionist war crimes in the Gaza Strip” and “giving the green light to Israel”.”

Also on the afternoon of December 1st, the BBC News website published a report by BBC Arabic’s Adnan Elbursh and Alys Davies which currently carries the headline “Gaza’s fear and anger as ceasefire ends and fighting erupts” and tells BBC audiences that:

“A temporary ceasefire expired at 07:00 (05:00 GMT) with both warring sides blaming each other.” […]

“On Friday Mark Regev, senior adviser to the Israeli prime minister, said Hamas could have ensured the pause in fighting was extended if they had freed more hostages.

“They have close to 20 women [eligible for release] in the framework of the existing agreement, yet they chose not to do so,” Mr Regev told the BBC.

Asked whether those women were civilians or Israeli soldiers, Mr Regev said some of the women were in their 20s and had finished their military service.

For its part, Hamas says it did make several offers regarding further hostage releases – all of which were rejected by Israel.”

That report also amplifies unverified claims from a person who has previously appeared in BBC content, while blurring the fact that Hamas rocket fire preceded any Israeli strikes.

“”Around 06:30 the drones started flying,” Mohammad Ghalaiyini, a Briton who is currently in Khan Younis with his family, said in a voice message sent to the BBC. “Around 07:30, I think, the bombings started and there’s been like non-stop bombing every 10, 15, 20 minutes.”

Leaflets dropped by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warned that areas east of Khan Younis and Salah al-Din were “dangerous” combat zones and urged people in some parts to head to shelters further south in Rafah, close to the Egyptian border.

Meanwhile, Hamas and other groups fired rockets at Israel, which deployed its Iron Dome defence system to intercept them.”

Notably, in a report published on the same day on the BBC News website’s ‘Manchester’ page –“Manchester scientist in Gaza ‘terrified’ after breakdown of ceasefire” – the same contributor did not make any mention of drones.

“He said he was devastated by the end of the ceasefire.

“Today, immediately around seven, the bombing returned and there was like repeated bombing for three hours, artillery and airstrikes and naval artillery as well,” the 44-year-old said.”

Also on December 1st a filmed report by Anna Foster and Hugo Bachega (both of the BBC Beirut bureau but reporting from Israel) was published on the BBC News website under the title “Israel Gaza: How missiles and destruction quickly returned after ceasefire”. The synopsis to that report tells BBC audiences that:

“A temporary pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas has ended, resulting in missile strikes and destruction once again.

The two sides have blamed each other for the returning violence. Israel said that Hamas violated the ceasefire by failing to release women and children who are being held hostage in Gaza. Hamas said that Israel was responsible as it prevented fuel supplies from reaching the north of Gaza.”

That unverified claim concerning “fuel supplies” was also promoted several times on the BBC News website’s live page on December 1st:

Clearly the BBC was decidedly less interested in providing its audiences with accurate and impartial reporting on the topic of the reasons behind the end to the temporary truce than it was in promoting the propaganda of a proscribed terrorist organisation in order to create the entirely superfluous impression of ‘balanced’ reporting.

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  1. says: Grimey

    News Bulletins from the BBC are not worth reading – they are simply propaganda from Iran using lies on the true situations in Gaza. How the UK government allows the BBC to get away with such biased reporting is an abhorrence that should be dealt with.

    1. says: Sid

      Grimey is correct – the problem is Ofcom as a regulator claiming certain parts of BBC are outside its remit.
      The UK Jewish communal organisations don’t have the guts to stand up and support Israel but as usual bury heads in sand and try to be “impartial” whilst their brothers and sisters are being killed just like the Nazis did in the 1930’s

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