Times of London misleadingly suggests Israeli blockade causes Gaza health crisis

UK Media Watch

Times of London was the only major UK news outlet to report on the most recent example of Hamas exploiting Israeli humanitarian initiatives aimed at helping Palestinians in Gaza. Here are the opening paragraphs from the April 21streport by Gregg Carlstrom, “Gaza Cancer patient hid explosives”.

Two sisters from Gaza have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle explosives into Israel using vials marked “medical materials”. One of the women was a cancer patient who was crossing to Israel for treatment.

Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, accused the militant group Hamas of using the women as smugglers. “[They] are continuing their efforts to exploit the humanitarian channel to carry out attacks in Israel,” Kamil Abu Rokon, the military officer in charge of the Erez Crossing, said.

In the third paragraph, Carlstrom attempts to contextualise the story by providing some background on the state of healthcare in Gaza.

Israel and…

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BBC ignores another story explaining the need for Gaza border restrictions

BBC Watch

A video currently appearing on the BBC News website’s Middle East page includes the following statements:

“There are strict controls on the movement of goods and people going in and out of Gaza.

Israel and Egypt tightened their blockade after Hamas, a militant group, took control in 2007.”

Similar messaging – often with political overtones – is frequently seen in content provided to BBC audiences.

“Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade around Gaza aimed at preventing attacks by militants there, though the measure has been condemned by rights groups as a form of collective punishment.” BBC News website, February 13th 2017.

“…the stifling border closures the Israeli government says are for security, the people here say are for collective punishment.” BBC World Service radio, February 1st 2017.

“One of the reasons Gaza’s often described as the largest open-air prison in the world is the difficulty of getting across the border…

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Financial Times editorial on persecution of Mid-East Christians avoids noting the Israeli exception

UK Media Watch

The Financial Times pulled off quite a feat in their April 14th editorial on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East: they somehow managed to avoid so much as mentioning the Israeli exception to this disturbing phenomenon.  

bloody easterTheir omission of Israel’s unique progressive advantage in this regard was even more glaring in light of the editorial’s opening sentence.

On Palm Sunday, as Christians gathered to commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, jihadi suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a Coptic cathedral in Alexandria, and at the altar of a church in Tanta, in the Nile Delta, killing 47 people.

FT editors failed to contextualise this remarkable contrast – between the sight of thousands of Christians freely gathering in the capital of the Jewish state and Christians again being butchered by jihadists in an Arab capital – by noting that the rights enjoyed by Christians in Israel simply do not exist…

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BBC News promotes PLO narrative in copious coverage of prisoners’ strike

BBC Watch

Since the commencement on April 17th of a hunger strike by some of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons led by Marwan Barghouti, the BBC News website’s Middle East page has published no fewer than three reports on the subject.

April 17th: “Palestinians in Israeli jails hold mass hunger strike” 

April 18th: “Israel rules out talks with Palestinian hunger striking inmates

April 19th: “Palestinian anger at Israeli refusal to talk to hunger striking inmates

However, in that remarkable display of conscription to the cause of publicising that story, the BBC has refrained from providing its audiences with background information crucial to their understanding of the topic.

In all three of those articles readers are told that the strike:

“…is being led by Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader jailed by Israel for life for five murders.”


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Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q1 2017 – part one

BBC Watch

Between January 1st and March 31st 2017, a total of ninety-one reports with content relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. Seven of those reports were carried over from December 2016.

Some of the reports were produced by other departments (e.g. BBC Business) or appeared on other pages of the website (e.g. ‘Europe’ or ‘US & Canada’) but were also posted on the Middle East page.

Although the Israeli security services recorded 321 terror attacks during the first quarter of 2017 (see ‘related articles’ below), just one of those attacks received coverage on the BBC News website.

(The dates in brackets represent the period of time in which a report was available to visitors to the website’s Middle East page.)

Jerusalem lorry attack: Four Israeli soldiers killed (8/1/17 to 9/1/17) 

Jerusalem attack: Uncle of the lorry driver speaks out (8/1/17…

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Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q1 2017 – part two

BBC Watch

As noted in part one of this post, between January 1st and March 31st 2017, ninety-one reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page, some of which were cross posted from other sections of the site and seven of which were carried over from 2016. 12.09% of those reports covered stories relating to security/terrorism.

The remaining 87.91% of those articles can be grouped into a number of categories. (The dates in brackets represent the period of time in which each report was available to visitors to the website’s Middle East page.)

Five reports (5.49% of the total) related to historical subject matter:

‘Anne Frank link’ unearthed at Sobibor camp (16/1/17 to 17/1/17)

‘Yolocaust’: How should you behave at a Holocaust memorial? (20/1/17 to 29/1/17)

New Dead Sea Scrolls cave discovered (9/2/17 to 12/2/17)

British WWI alcohol stash unearthed in Israel

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