BBC News amplifies unevidenced allegations from UN ‘experts’

On the afternoon of February 20th the BBC News website published an uncredited report headlined “Israel-Gaza war: World Food Programme stops deliveries to northern Gaza”.

Some four hours after the appearance of the initial version of that report, the BBC found fit to amend it by adding a section which has nothing to do with the subject matter presented in its title.

That 220-word addition reads as follows:

“Meanwhile, the UN human rights office said it was “continuing to closely monitor the situation” when asked about a statement from seven independent UN experts expressing concern about reports of violence by Israeli forces against Palestinian women and girls in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Reem Alsalem, an expert on violence against women and girls, and Francesca Albanese, an expert on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said they were “appalled” by the “credible allegations”, including that women and girls had been killed extrajudicially in Gaza while seeking refuge or fleeing, and that others detained in Gaza and the West Bank had been “subjected to multiple forms of sexual assault, such as being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers”.

“At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence,” they added, without providing further details.

Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva rejected the “despicable and unfounded claims” and accused the experts of being “motivated by their hatred for Israel, not by the truth”.

In a statement on Tuesday the UN human rights office said: “We reiterate that Israel must comply fully with the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice, and ensure full accountability for the conduct of its military and security forces.””

As those who bothered to click on the first link would see, not only did those “seven independent UN experts” (who are not UN staff) not provide any “further details”, they also did not provide any evidence whatsoever to prove their claims and their entire statement is based on “allegations” and “reports” without any disclosure of their sources.  

The fact that the already highly controversial office of the high commissioner of UN Human Rights clearly has no qualms about publishing those entirely unevidenced claims of course does not mean that the BBC should amplify them uncritically.

Beyond the link to a statement put out by Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva, readers are not provided with any information about the two UN ‘experts’ quoted in this report. That, of course does not come as much of a surprise because the BBC has diligently avoided the issue of the blatant anti-Israel and antisemitic bias displayed by Francesca Albanese both before and since her appointment to the role of ‘special rapporteur’.

Neither have BBC audiences been informed of Albanese’s many problematic statements concerning the current conflict, including those made while on a trip to Australia in November which was sponsored by Palestinian lobby groups.

Remarkably, whoever wrote this BBC report chose to avoid the topic of the UN’s extremely belated acknowledgement of the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the October 7th attacks and the related warnings against spreading “unverified information” which has not undergone “credibility evaluation” put out by two of the UN ‘experts’ who are now doing exactly that.

Moreover, the BBC News website elected to reamplify the unevidenced allegations made by those “UN experts” towards the end of another report that was published on the evening of February 21st:

“On Monday, several independent UN experts put out a statement expressing concern about reports of violence by Israeli forces against Palestinian women and girls in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

They said the “credible allegations” included that women and girls had been killed extrajudicially in Gaza, and that others detained in Gaza and the West Bank had been subjected to multiple forms of sexual assault.

Israel rejected the allegations as “despicable and unfounded”.”

Coincidentally or not, the article – written by David Gritten – in which those unevidenced claims are once again uncritically amplified concerns a new report on the sexual violence perpetrated by Palestinians on October 7th and is titled “Israeli report says Hamas sexual violence ‘systematic and intentional’”.

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  1. says: Neil C

    Well let’s be honest the leaders of Hamas are UN experts, experts in manipulation of the system, the funding and controlling the UN agencies and agendas. Why when supposedly only observers, are Palestine (a country that has never yet existed) allowed to speak at the UN. The BBC is complicit in this United Nation Brian Rix farce and has its own anti-Israel pro Islamist agenda. It is high time the government took action against the bias of the BBC #defundthebbc

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