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BBC accused of pro-Israeli bias in its coverage of ceasefire abuse

31st Mar 2013
BBC accused of pro-Israeli bias in its coverage of ceasefire abuse

The BBC failed to cover any of the Israeli attacks which killed Palestinian civilians since the ceasefire, ‘but the single rocket attack’ from Gaza made the BBC’s front-page, say FOA  


Elham Asaad Buaras

The BBC failed to cover any of the Israeli attacks which killed Palestinian civilians since the ceasefire, ‘but the single rocket attack’ from Gaza made the BBC’s front-page, say FOA

The BBC has been accused of pro-Israeli coverage of the violations of the November 2012 ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

Friends of Al-Aqsa made the accusation after an attack from Gaza into Ashkelon, southern Israel, last month was allotted a BBC online front page while a series of killings, kidnappings and incursions in the Occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip by Israel since the ceasefire went unreported.

The BBC reported al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade attack on February 26 as “the first such attack since shortly after a ceasefire ended eight days of clashes in November.”

Friends of Al-Aqsa accused the BBC of “selective reporting” of events which portrays the Palestinians as the first to violate the ceasefire agreement.

According to the ceasefire agreements which ended Operation Pillar of Defence, Israel had undertaken not to launch any attacks on Gaza – by land, sea or air – and to stop the assassinations of the heads of Palestinian militant groups and not invade any Palestinian-held land.

Friends of Al-Aqsa say the BBC omitted to report on the Israeli Defence Force’s (IDF) killing of ten Palestinians or the over 100 military incursions into the Gaza Strip since ceasefire agreement on November, 21, 2012.

Friends of Al-Aqsa say the Corporation failed to cover any of the daily Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians in Gaza since the ceasefire, “but the single rocket attack” from Gaza made the BBC’s front-page.

According to the group the BBC has “abysmally failed” to report that Israel has killed ten Palestinians and wounded 91 in Gaza and wounded over 600 in the West Bank, since the November ceasefire.

Friends of Al-Aqsa also say the BBC did not report that Israel had “conducted over 100 military incursions in to the Gaza Strip”, or cover the “over 63 incidents when the army used live fire against civilians” or the “40 attacks by Israeli naval boats on Gaza fishermen” since the ceasefire.

Friends of Al-Aqsa condemnation of the BBC coverage is supported by the latest report by the Ahrar Centre for Detainees Studies and Human Rights which says Israel kidnapped 382 Palestinians, including 10 women, political leaders and three elected legislators last month.

Ahrar said that the arrests in different parts of the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip in February witnessed a sharp increase comparing to January when the Israeli army kidnapped 350 Palestinians.

A BBC spokesperson said they were “satisfied” their coverage of events in Gaza and Israel “is balanced, fair, accurate and impartial” but failed to tell The Muslim News why none of the over 100 post-ceasefire incidents of Israeli aggression did not warrant coverage.

The February rocket attack also prompted the UK’s Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt to voice his “concern” over “the first such incident since a ceasefire.”

“We have consistently condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel in violation of international humanitarian law. I call on both parties to respect in full the November ceasefire.”

He also urged them to “take advantage of the continuing talks brokered by Egypt to resolve the outstanding issues of ending arms smuggling and improving access of goods and people to relieve the suffering of the people of Gaza. The calm since November has been welcome: it should be built upon, not reversed.”

The Foreign Office defended its one-sided condemnation of the attack insisting: “The principal reason for issuing the statement was our concern that the rocket attack, if repeated, may lead to an unravelling of the ceasefire.”

He told The Muslim News the Foreign Office “regularly” raises their concerns over Israeli actions but does so “privately in our contacts with the Israeli authorities. We cannot do the same with our concerns over actions by Hamas and other militant groups as we do not have contacts with them.”


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Sectarianism in the Middle East and its rise in the UK, Standpoint, Sahar TV. Interview 29 May 2013 and aired on 12 June 2013

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