BBC amplification of UNRWA PR campaigns

As documented by UN Watch, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – UNRWA – appears to be running end-of-year PR campaigns on several subjects. One of the topics it has been promoting recently on social media is that of Palestinian casualties in Judea & Samaria and parts of Jerusalem.

On December 27th the BBC News channel interviewed UNRWA’s director of communications, Juliette Touma, who is presumably the person in charge of those social media campaigns.

During that interview presenter Lucy Hockings asked her interviewee (who is based in Jordan) the following question:

Hockings: “Juliette, can I ask you about what is happening in the West Bank because we’ve had Mahmoud Abbas saying the West Bank could implode at any time […] but we have heard reports of this drone strike on Nur al Shams, which is near Tulkarem, killing some Palestinians. What is the atmosphere like in those camps in the West Bank at the moment? What are people fearful of there?”

Touma: “This is nothing new. The West Bank has been boiling for the past 18 months. In fact, according to the United Nations, 2023 is the deadliest year since the UN started counting casualties in 2005 […] and only since the war in Gaza began on the 7th of October, we have recorded at least 70 children who were killed in the West Bank.”

Hockings then shifted the conversation to a different topic, failing to inform viewers that the “some Palestinians” killed in a drone strike in Nur Shams hours earlier were throwing IEDs at Israeli soldiers at the time.

“An Israeli drone strike killed six Palestinians during an overnight raid near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank early Wednesday morning, Palestinian Authority health officials said.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that it launched a counter-terror raid on the Nur Shams refugee camp overnight, where it arrested three wanted Palestinians and seized a dozen weapons.

During the raid, the military said it struck the group of Palestinian gunmen who threw explosives at troops.  Military sources said the IDF was aware of six Palestinians being killed in the strike.”

The ITIC documented that operation as follows:

“In the early morning hours of December 27, 2023, Israeli security forces operated in the Nur al-Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm for the second time in the past 24 hours. The forces detained three wanted Palestinians and seized weapons and money intended to finance terrorist activity. During the activity, a group of armed Palestinians threw IEDs at the forces; they were attacked by an Israeli Air Force aircraft (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, December 27, 2023). The Palestinians reported six dead and seven wounded following an attack by an Israeli Air Force aircraft.”

During the previous day’s operation at the same location, IDF forces had found rockets.

“Security forces seized makeshift rockets and other weapons during an overnight raid in the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem in the West Bank, the military said Tuesday. […]

The discovery was not the first time rockets have been located in the West Bank. Throughout the year, there have been several failed attempted launches of rockets from Jenin, and troops have found makeshift rockets in the city. However, such a discovery in Tulkarem is noteworthy, as it is far closer to Israel’s major population centers in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.”

As we see, once again BBC audiences were not provided with any context concerning the facilitation and funding of terrorism and the smuggling of weapons into Palestinian Authority controlled areas over the past two-and-a-half years. In her presentation of the events in Nur Shams, Hockings made no effort to inform BBC audiences that they occurred during a counter-terrorism operation.

Neither were viewers informed that the majority of the Palestinian casualties in PA controlled areas during 2023 were males who were involved in terrorism and/or violent rioting. Touma’s portrayal of “70 children” killed since October 7th failed to address the highly relevant issue of the exploitation of minors by terrorist organisations (such as in a recent case in which two teens were killed in Jenin) or the fact that the majority of those killed since that date were involved in violence at the time.

In the same interview Hockings gave Touma airtime to promote messaging concerning aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip: the topic of another current PR campaign by UNRWA and other UN agencies which has already enjoyed uncritical BBC amplification. Notably, the topic of Hamas theft of aid sent into the Gaza Strip was not raised by Hockings at all.

There is of course nothing remotely novel about uncritical BBC amplification of UNRWA PR campaigns and talking points. Sadly for BBC audiences, it is amply clear that in its self-conscription to promotion of that long problematic UN agency’s messaging, the BBC is decidedly less interested in meeting its obligation to provide its audiences with “impartial news and information”.

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  1. says: Neil C

    Anyone who does not now realise that UNWRA are part of the problem in Gaza is either deaf dumb blind or stupid. UNWRA employees were holding hostages, after 7/10, UNWRA are diverting supplies to meant for citizens to Hamas. UNWRA are educating generation after generation to hate Jews, to become shahids. They are brainwashing a society funded by the UN who are 100% complicit in the attempted goal of the destruction of Israel. The BBC are totally complicit in the promotion of this cult that has infiltrated many aspects of world society. #defundthebbc

  2. says: Geary

    How did Hamas manage to build an entire underground city, fill it with missiles, with anyone from UNRWA noticing – not to mention Oxfam, Save the Children and all the other companies who make their living off our donations? It’s not just Iran finanacing Hamas’s war, it’s us too.

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