BBC framing of Hamas reactions to the US ceasefire proposal

Since May 31st the BBC News website has published several reports relating to the topic of the speech made by the US president on that day.

1) “Biden unveils Israeli proposal to end Gaza war” by Bernd Debusmann Jr and Tom Bateman, 31/5/24

2) “Biden urges Israel to stand behind three-phase Gaza plan” filmed, uncredited, 31/5/24

3) Live page 31/5/24

4) “No Gaza ceasefire until Israel war aims achieved, Netanyahu says” by Hugo Bachega and Adam Durbin, 1/6/24

5) “Israeli ministers threaten to quit over ceasefire plan” by Jaroslav Lukiv, 2/6/24

6) “US expects Israel will accept Gaza ceasefire plan if Hamas does” by Bernd Debusmann Jr, 2/6/24

7) “Gaza ceasefire plan turns into deadly game of survival” by Lucy Williamson, 3/6/24

One particularly notable aspect of the BBC’s coverage of that story is its limited but monochrome framing of responses from one of the parties involved – Hamas.

Article 1 – Bernd Debusmann Jr and Tom Bateman:

“Hamas said it views the proposal “positively”. […]

Hamas, for its part, said that it views the proposal “positively” because of its call for a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, reconstruction and the exchange of prisoners.

The group said it was ready to “deal positively and constructively” with any proposal centred on a permanent ceasefire, provided that Israel “declares its explicit commitment to that”.”

Article 4 – Hugo Bachega and Adam Durbin:

“A senior Hamas politician has told the BBC it “will go for this deal” if Israel does. […]

Basem Naim, a member of Hamas’s political bureau based in Qatar, told the BBC World Service’s Newshour programme that the organisation welcomed the plan, but the next step relied on Israel.

In response to Mr Netanyahu’s statement, he noted Israel’s aims might not have changed, but it also had not achieved them.

“If he tries to continue, he will not find anything except the readiness of the Palestinians – all Palestinians – to resist the occupation,” Mr Naim said.”

Bachega and Durbin of course refrain from informing their readers that just three months earlier, Bassem Naim told readers of the Al Jazeera website that the October 7 attack was a “scaled-down model of the final war of liberation and the disappearance of the Zionist occupation,”.

Article 5 – Jaroslav Lukiv:

“Earlier, a senior Hamas politician told the BBC it “will go for this deal” if Israel does.”

While Hamas has yet to provide an official response to the US proposal, statements made in the meantime by Hamas officials show that the narrative promoted by the BBC comes nowhere near to telling its audiences the whole story.

On June 2nd, for example, Channel 12’s Palestinian affairs correspondent reported an official statement from Hamas according to which “We have no intention of giving up our weapons and stopping rearming so long as Israel exists.”

Also on June 2nd Hamas’ Ghazi Hamad gave an interview to an Egyptian TV station which included the following:

Interviewer: “Are you willing to give up the rule in Gaza?”

Hamad: “Let me be clear, we do not insist on ruling Gaza. All we care about in this regard is that the government would be a national agreement government, rather than a Vichy-like government that would serve the occupation. […]

“We have suggested this to President Mahmoud Abbas by various means, but unfortunately, he has not cooperated positively with this initiative.”

Interviewer: “But Biden’s position is important. He said that there is no place for Hamas and that’s it.”

Hamad: “He can talk as much as he likes. […]

“I’d like to be clear on that. The obstacle to this has been President Mahmoud Abbas. President Abbas thwarted all the attempts to reach national unity. I do not want to get into…”

Interviewer: “Dr. Ghazi, nobody wants Hamas in the future. If you look at their positions, nobody wants you.”

Hamad: “Who doesn’t [want us]?”

Interviewer: “The Americans don’t want you. The Israelis don’t want you. The Palestinians don’t want you.”

Hamad: “No the Palestinians…”

Interviewer: “I’m talking about the Palestinian Authority.” […]

Hamad: “Some people expected Hamas to fall apart in this war and come to an end. But let me tell you that even the Americans are now convinced that defeating Hamas has become impossible.”

On June 3rd, Channel 13’s Arab affairs correspondent reported the following:

On June 4th Hamas’ Osama Hamdan told a press conference in Beirut that the hostages would not be released unless a permanent ceasefire is first agreed and on the same day, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri complained about US and Western pressure “to accept a cease-fire proposal advanced by U.S. President Joe Biden, saying on Tuesday it was “as if it is Hamas who is hampering the deal.””

Clearly the narrative that Hamas views Biden’s plan “positively” and is ready to “go for this deal” which has been promoted to BBC audiences comes nowhere near to presenting the whole picture and fails to inform on the issue of the factors influencing Hamas’ so far non-existent official response to that proposal.

So much for the BBC’s obligation to “offer a range and depth of analysis and content not widely available from other United Kingdom news providers”.

More from Hadar Sela
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  1. says: Neil C

    Palestinians and Bidbama only seem to be able to speak with a forked tongue these days Kemosabi, with the added distortions of BBC News, it is impossible to glean the reality on the ground #defundthebbc

  2. says: Sid

    BBC has an agenda – it is not pro Israel and this has been its position since the 1970’s.
    It is not an honest news outlet and its outlook is to deprecate the Jews when ever the opportunity arises, as this clearly illustrates

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