BBC’s Paul Adams amplifies Hamas propaganda

Early on December 9th (Israel time) the BBC News website published a report by Paul Adams:

The report itself is headlined “Hamas claims Israeli operation ended in hostage death” and relates to an operation that had taken place some 24 hours earlier.

“Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were seriously wounded in a failed attempt to rescue hostages held by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip overnight, the army said Friday, adding that several of the hostage takers were killed. […]

“The troops raided a Hamas site, killed terrorists who took part in the abduction and holding of the hostages,” said IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, speaking to the press.”

In paragraph eight of Adams’ report readers find the following:

“The BBC has not verified the video and has no confirmation of the claims made by Hamas in it.”

That, however, did not prevent Adams from spending the previous seven paragraphs promoting Hamas propaganda:

“The armed wing of Hamas has released a video which it says shows the bloody aftermath of a failed Israeli operation to free an Israeli hostage.

In the footage, a man says he has been held for 40 days, suggesting the video may have been recorded in mid-November.

A lot of blood is seen on a tiled floor, as well as military equipment, which Hamas claims to have captured.

The video ends with gruesome images of a bloodied body that appears to be that of the same hostage seen earlier.

We are withholding the man’s name – he says this and his age in the video.

A script in Arabic says that Israeli soldiers “failed to reach” the hostage, leading to his death, and that the Israeli team “quickly fled the place”.

It claims that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) used an ambulance to reach the place where the hostage was being held.”

Adams does not provide an explanation for the BBC’s decision to withhold the name of Sahar Baruch who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7th.

“Sahar Baruch, 25, was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists on October 7 as they attacked Kibbutz Be’eri, killing dozens and kidnapping residents.

The Ben-Gurion University engineering student was with his grandmother, Geula Bachar, as well as his brother, Idan Baruch, 20, a soldier in the IDF’s Education Corps.

Sahar ran back into his grandmother’s burning house to look for an inhaler for his brother.

Idan, Sahar’s brother, was fatally shot when he left the burning house, which he ran from because he was asthmatic and couldn’t breathe in the smoke.”

Adams does not inform BBC audiences that the Hamas video (warning, graphic content) includes the inaccurate claim that Sahar Baruch was a soldier. That claim could easily have been checked by Adams and his colleagues prior to publication and that alone should have raised serious questions regarding the editorial decision to promote Hamas propaganda worldwide.

However, Adams’ report does include the following statement: [emphasis added]

Israel says 1,200 people were killed and 240 taken hostage in the Hamas attack. A number of hostages were later released during a short-lived ceasefire – but not those who Hamas claims to be linked to the Israeli military.”

Beyond that redundant qualification of the numbers of people murdered and taken hostage by Hamas, Adams’ wording implies that any hostages not released during the seven day pause in fighting – including Sahar Baruch – are “linked to the Israeli military” according to the terrorist organisation. Adams makes no effort whatsoever to inform his readers that those Hamas claims are inaccurate and that the around 125 Israelis still held hostage include a baby and his 4-year-old brother, women and at least ten senior citizens.

Quoting the IDF spokesman’s statement concerning the unsuccessful operation to release hostages, Adams writes:

“At a briefing on Friday evening, chief IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari confirmed that two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded during operations in Gaza to free hostages.

He said “terrorists who participated in the kidnapping and holding of hostages” had been killed, but he said no hostages had been released.

It is not clear if he was talking about the same incident described in the Hamas video or something else.”

Adams’ report was not updated to clarify that the IDF spokesman later stated that Sahar Baruch was murdered in captivity.

“On Friday, Hamas terrorists released a propaganda video showing Sahar Baruch’s body, claiming that the captive Kibbutz Be’eri resident was killed during an IDF operation to free hostages. The IDF denies those claims and has confirmed that Baruch was murdered by Hamas terrorists.”

Adams ends his report with uncritical promotion of more Hamas claims, making no attempt to inform readers of the estimated number of combatants killed.

“Hamas says Israel has killed more than 17,177 people in its retaliatory campaign, including about 7,000 children.”

As we see, the ‘accurate and impartial’ BBC is perfectly happy to promote Hamas propaganda which it readily admits it has neither verified nor confirmed.

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