Once again, the BBC fail to portray an accurate depiction of the intensification between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip.
In doing so, the BBC are subtly indoctrinating the minds of its viewers through implicit suggestion that Israel is the aggressor, almost randomly targeting Gaza. The BBC crucially fails to put the situation in historical context.
A brief example -- the BBC persistently refer to "Israel's attacks" on a "Palestinian militant group." First, Israel is responding to unfaltering attacks, amounting to more than 6,300 rockets and mortars on Israeli citizens, since Israel left Gaza in 2005. Second, the 'militant group' are Hamas. Not a militant group in terms of a unified national army, but, an internationally recognised terrorist organisation who have taken control of the Gaza strip. On Saturday, Hamas re-declared war on Israel and proclaimed their ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel. Israel has been forced to respond so as to protect the lives of civilians, by way of targeting Hamas leaders through directed airstrikes and seeking to avoid danger to as many Palestinian and Israeli civilians as possible.
An innocent bystander relying on the BBC for information might have assumed that the BBC's lack of coverage in Gaza over recent months had been the result of a successful ceasefire. But, those who ventured beyond the BBC will be are aware this was unfortunately not the case. While a cease-fire officially existed between Israel and Hamas, for the past six months, it was in fact one-sided. Israel showed enormous restraint not to respond to the barrage of Hamas fired rockets from Gaza during that period. During the ceasefire, Hamas continued to expand its rocket range from 20 km to 40 km and as a result, can now target 2,500 Israeli civilians. In 2008 alone, more than 3000 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza into Southern Israel. Recently, over 150 rockets were landing each day.
Our innocent viewer will assume that as soon as the ceasefire ended, Israel attacked Gaza. Indeed, the BBC report that Hamas blame Israel for the sea-change. This too, is untrue. Since the end of the Gaza ceasefire only 9 days ago, Hamas launched a further 190 rockets against Israeli civilians. Israel however, continued to show restraint and, as a gesture of good will, allowed approximately 90 trucks of medicine and goods including 500,000 litres of fuel and 200 tonnes of natural gas, into Gaza. At the same time, Israel continued talks with Egypt seeking to negotiate and secure peace.
The BBC fail to mention how Hamas have thanked Israel for a) uprooting over 9,000 Israeli civilians and removing all presence from Gaza in 2005 in an effort to achieve peace and, b) allowing the extra supplies on Friday. Since 2005, Hamas have launched more than 3,500 rockets and mortars into Israel and claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attempts in the region. In response to Friday's generosity, Hamas fired more than 40 rockets into Israeli cities and vowed to continue the attack against Israel, on Saturday. The result? Hamas threatens the lives of 250,000 Israelis who live in range of Gaza fired rockets. Israel has had to order residents in the south of the country to remain in bomb shelters while Israel attempts to secure the region.
BBC coverage of the events in Gaza portrays Israel as causing humanitarian crises by refusing supplies into Gaza. In reality, Israel was providing almost 4000 trucks of aid a month to Gaza, along with fuel and electricity despite the ongoing attacks on Israel. Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Programme in Gaza, has denied that there is a humanitarian crisis. In December, he told Canada's Globe and Mail, that, "This is not a humanitarian crisis... It's an economic crisis, a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People aren't starving."
So, how has Israel responded to Hamas's renewed promise and upsurge of rocket attacks? In response to the daily targeting and killing of its civilians, Israel has targeted terrorists and terrorist infrastructure only, seeking to avoid harming Palestinian civilians. Sadly, however, Hamas leaders deliberately hide in densely civilian areas -- putting Palestinian civilians at risk. By using Palestinians as human shields, Iran-backed terrorists are causing the loss of lives on both sides.
Knowing this information, our no-longer naive bystander might be confused. Why does the BBC portray Israel in a negative light for protecting her civilians? Beats me! USA President-elect, Barack Obama stated on a recent visit to Israel, "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing." (Ravid, Barack 'Obama in Sderot: Nuclear Iran would be game-changing', Haaretz, July 23, 2008). No responsible government would watch in silence as its citizens were under constant attack.
Given the onslaught of rockets into Israel from Gaza, what is Israel to do to protect her citizens? What would Gordon Brown do if rockets were fired from Edinburgh onto Manchester, putting at risk the lives of innocent civilians living in Manchester on a daily basis? When will the terrorists, Hamas, stop the rocket fire so that both Israelis and Palestinians can have a better future?
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