BBC report from south Lebanon ignores UNSC resolution 1701

Early on May 1st (Israel time) the BBC News website published a report by BBC Arabic’s Beirut correspondent Carine Torbey under the headline “Southern Lebanon: BBC sees air strike destruction in deserted towns”.

The product of an undated UNIFIL escorted trip to two villages close to the western section of the border between Lebanon and Israel, that report opens as follows:

“Spiralling tensions and cross-border strikes which have killed more than 70 civilians in Lebanon have turned parts of the south into ghost towns. Residents have fled, leaving their homes at risk of destruction. The BBC went on patrol with the UN’s peacekeeping force there to see what has happened.”

Only twenty-seven paragraphs later are readers told that “Israel says nine civilians have been killed by rocket-fire from Lebanon” and no mention is made of the members of the Israeli security forces killed in attacks launched from Lebanon.

Throughout her report, Torbey avoids the topic of the number of members of Hizballah and other terrorist organisations killed since October 8th 2023. She also refrains from addressing the issue of terrorists’ exploitation of buildings in the two locations which are the topic of her extensive descriptions of destruction, including in a filmed version of her report published the following day on the BBC News website . She does however provide uncritical amplification for baseless claims from “Lebanese officials” while misleading BBC audiences on the topic of the targets of some of the attacks from Lebanon: [emphasis added]

“The Israeli army says it targets Hezbollah fighters and infrastructure and retaliates to attacks on Israeli army bases in northern Israel.

But some Lebanese officials, including the caretaker prime minster and Speaker of Parliament, have accused it of implementing scorched earth tactics to make the whole area uninhabitable.”

In a version of Torbey’s report which was aired on BBC television later the same day, she interviewed a man called Hussain who left one of the villages she visited and is currently located in Beirut. Torbey tells viewers that “I told him that Israel claims it is targeting Hizballah’s fighters”. The following unevidenced claim is then promoted uncritically to BBC audiences:

Hussain: “They are targeting civilians’ houses. It’s systematic destruction. It’s not true that they are just responding to attacks.”

Unlike many of her BBC colleagues, Torbey does clarify that it was Hizballah which began the fighting in the north with its decision to attack Israel the day after the Hamas massacre in the south, but fails to state that Hizballah is a widely designated terrorist organisation:

“Israel has been carrying out strikes on southern Lebanon almost daily since Hezbollah – the powerful Lebanese Shia Islamist group – fired rockets at Israel on 8 October in support of Hamas in Gaza, triggering an escalating series of attacks and counter-attacks.”

Torbey’s portrayal of UNIFIL’s inception fails to mention the terror attack which caused Israel to launch Operation Litani in March 1978.

“Unifil has been in south Lebanon since Israel’s pullback and eventual withdrawal following its invasion of 1978.”

She continues:

“In a not-too-distant past, Unifil proudly emphasised that it had overseen the longest period of calm between Lebanon and Israel – stretching to 16 years since the last war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006.”

In order to promote that claim, Torbey has to ignore rocket attacks on Kiryat Shmona in June 2007, on Nahariya and Kiryat Shmona in January 2009, on Mailia in February 2009, on Nahariya and Gesher Haziv in September 2009 and additional attacks in October 2009, November 2011, August 2013, December 2013, July 2014, December 2015, May 2021, July 2021, August 2021, April 2022 and just one year ago in April 2023. She also erases additional Hizballah provocations from audience view.

Particularly notable is Torbey’s total avoidance of the topic of UN Security Council resolution 1701 – as is all too often the case in BBC reporting. She makes no effort to inform her readers that according to that resolution, Hizballah is barred from maintaining a military presence south of the Litani river (some 30 kms north of the border with Israel) and that the UN force charged with enforcing that resolution – UNIFIL – has failed to do so.

Notwithstanding those crucial omissions, she does however provide amplification for her escort’s talking points:

“Back on the road with the Italian contingent on Unifil, its commander, Colonel Alberto Salvador, insists that the peacekeeping forces’ role is still very important, despite the continuing violence.

“We see many people are tired of the situation on this side of the border and on the other side as well. I think it’s time for peace,” he says.

“The next challenge for the Unifil is to help and support the local population in returning to their homes.””

Torbey makes no effort to inform her readers that according to UNIFIL’s mandate (last renewed in August 2023) it was supposed to:

“Assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in taking steps towards the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL deployed in this area.”

And:

“…to take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind…”

BBC audiences cannot fully comprehend the current situation in southern Lebanon and northern Israel without the necessary understanding of how the failure to implement UNSC resolution 1701 has brought about those events. Nevertheless, the corporation’s journalists continue to serially erase that all-important topic from their reporting, thereby denying BBC audiences essential information. 

Related Articles:

BBC NEWS WEBSITE REPORTING ON THE DEATHS OF JOURNALISTS

BBC NEWS ONCE AGAIN ERASES UNSC RESOLUTION 1701 FROM A LEBANON STORY

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2 Comments

  1. says: Neil C

    Typical biased BBC reporting by omission, do we expect anything else these days? Their only audience these days are Islamists and the far left boneheads who think that Islam is the future. The only future with Islam is riots death and destruction, just the sort of Saturday afternoon picnic everyone has become used to whilst Khan’s police look on with glee or happily arrest Christians and Jews. #defundthebbc, #Khanout

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