BBC News promotes unevidenced PRCS allegations

Previously we discussed the two sentences concerning the discovery of a Hamas data centre underneath UNRWA’s Gaza City headquarters which appeared in a BBC report published the morning after that discovery was made public under the headline “Warnings over Rafah offensive mount as Israel plans push in Gaza”.

WHAT WERE BBC AUDIENCES TOLD ABOUT THE HAMAS FACILITY UNDER UNRWA’S HQ?

In the fourteen or so hours after its initial publication, that report was updated eight times and its headline was later changed to read “Netanyahu insists on Rafah offensive as warnings mount”.

One of the later amendments to that report appeared in a section presented as “other developments over the weekend”:

    • The IDF on Sunday said troops fighting in the southern city of Khan Younis had killed “approximately 100 terrorists”
    • Three patients have died as Israeli troops prevented oxygen from getting to al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, the Palestine Red Crescent Society has said

The reference to “approximately 100 terrorists” apparently relates to a February 11th statement which was reported by Ynet as follows:

“In the last few weeks, the Givati Division’s combat team intensified the damage to the Western Khan Younis Battalion and strengthened its operational grip on the area according to the IDF Spokesperson. He further described that the forces attack from the air and on the ground in densely populated areas full of enemies, and have eliminated about 100 terrorists in skirmishes, firing tank shells, sniper ambushes and airstrikes in about a month.”

The unnamed writer of this report uncritically amplified the PRCS claim that “three patients” had died because “Israeli troops prevented oxygen from getting to al-Amal Hospital” without any verification of that allegation on the part of the BBC.

Al Amal hospital is run by the PRCS. In late January the IDF had put out a statement concerning terrorist activity at that hospital and another in the same city.

“The IDF is carrying out precise operations against the Hamas terrorist organization in Khan Yunis. IDF intelligence indicates that Hamas terrorists are operating from inside and around the Nasser hospital and Al-Amal hospital in Khan Yunis. The systematic use of hospitals across Gaza by Hamas has been repeatedly documented and distributed. This includes an incident two weeks ago, where IDF radar systems identified a rocket launch from within the Nasser hospital compound. The IDF has been liaising with the hospital directors and medical staff, on the phone and on the ground, to ensure that the hospitals can remain operational and accessible. The IDF communicated that there is no obligation to evacuate the hospitals. On the contrary, we have reiterated the importance of safeguarding and protecting these hospitals so that they can continue providing medical services to the people of Gaza.”

On February 11th it was reported that the IDF had captured some twenty terrorists who had been hiding in the PRCS-run al Amal hospital.

“Following intelligence from the Shin Bet and the Intelligence Directorate, the Givati Brigade combat team, Shayetet 13 and additional special forces carried out an operational activity to apprehend Hamas terrorists hiding inside the Al-Amal Hospital in western Khan Younis.

During the operational activity, the forces detained approximately 20 terrorists, including members of the Hamas terrorist organization who were hiding in the hospital. The detainees were transferred for further investigation by security forces in Israel.

The operation included prior coordination with the hospital, and the forces meticulously and selectively scanned the hospital without opening fire and without harming the patients or medical staff, according to the IDF spokesperson.”

The IDF had also facilitated the delivery of oxygen and other medical equipment to al Amal hospital.

In other words, the BBC elected to uncritically amplify an allegation made by the PRCS (and subsequently promoted by Palestinian, Iranian and Turkish media outlets) but displayed no interest whatsoever in providing evidence to support that claim or in asking the source why it had allowed some twenty terror operatives to hide in one of the hospitals it runs.

Directly underneath that allegation, the article states:

“The BBC is unable to independently verify many battlefield claims made during the course of the war.”

The BBC is apparently of the misguided opinion that such a disclaimer gives it free rein to promote allegations made by an organisation with a record of past and recent collaboration with terrorist organisations – including the one which initiated the current conflict – and to call that accurate and impartial ‘journalism’.

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