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Covering Gaza

Jon Williams Jon Williams | 11:45 UK time, Thursday, 15 January 2009

Three weeks after Israel's military operations began, the BBC along with other international broadcasters is still being prevented from sending independent reporters into Gaza.

For 20 days, my colleagues Rushdi Abualouf and Hamada Abuqammar have dodged bullets and missiles to report on the situation in the city. This morning one finds himself pinned down in his home, caught in the cross-fire between Hamas and the Israeli Defence Force - the other is unable to return to his home because of IDF operations en-route. Meanwhile their friends from our Jerusalem bureau can only watch from a hill in Israel as smoke rises above Gaza.

True, the BBC did manage a short trip into Gaza last week; a BBC cameraman was taken in to Northern Gaza by the IDF to witness their operations. Embedding with the military is a useful piece of the jigsaw - whether in Gaza, Afghanistan or Iraq - but it is not substitute for independent, eyewitness reporting.

That is why the BBC has kept bureaux in Baghdad and Kabul to ensure that we can report the story outside the military bubble in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is why the bureau in Baghdad has never been inside the protected international or "green" zone. It is why journalists from the BBC and other organisations need to be given access to Gaza.

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No-one makes the case better than the Israeli Prime Minister's spokesman, Mark Regev. On "Today" this morning, he said he thought allowing international journalists into Gaza would allow a "balanced picture" of what's going on to be reported, and that whenever international journalists went into Gaza it was "good" for Israel. It's certainly good for our audiences.

However, the Israelis say the situation is too dangerous for them to allow international journalists access to Gaza - they claim to do so would put the Israeli staff needed to process them at risk of attack. In the meantime, independent reporting is just one of the many casualties of the conflict in Gaza.

• Your comments on the BBC's reporting are welcome below; for general comments about the Middle East and its politics, please use this Have Your Say discussion.

Jon Williams is the BBC's world news editor.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    If it were Russia or another official enemy enforcing these press restrictions, the BBC would make much more of it.

    Take for example this report on Chechnya.

    "Media coverage of the recent conflict is also far more restricted. That means the Russian military is free to act with much greater brutality."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1292799.stm

    Would the BBC dare to say that Israeli restrictions are for a similar purpose? I think not.

    It is interesting to contrast BBC reporting on the Gaza conflict with its reporting on the Georgia conflict. With the Georgia conflict, the tone was very much against Russia.

    For example, the presenter of Newsnight said of a Russian government announcement "it's the kind of Newspeak that would make George Orwell proud".

    I do not recall the BBC refering to any Israeli government announcements Orwellian Newspeak.

  • Comment number 3.

    As usual, the BBC are controlled in their reporting of actual facts - just like the United Nations.

  • Comment number 4.

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  • Comment number 5.

    I wonder how long it will be before the BBC not only start to aim some heartfelt and incisive criticism at the Israelis, but also begin to point out to them that they must have many things to hide and why. Instead we will probably have to endure more pointless moderation of this blog just as it happened with the earlier blog.

    If we start with the premise that both ordinary Israeli people and the Palestinians caught up in the carnage in Gaza have much in common we get to the point that both the IDF and Hamas are causing a lot of unnecessary death, pain and suffering. At least Hamas have made clear their aims and objectives and it is a pity that, in preventing access to the area, Israel is not doing the same. If it were simply the intention to "stop the rockets" then why did Israel inflame Hamas in December?

    There is much in this conflict between two radical bodies that we are not being told, and it is a pity that the BBC have not told us the more controversial elements of this ongoing saga. We know there are risks in upsetting the vested interests in both the US and the UK but, in seeking balance, there are many things that must be said if the mutual hatred is to be ended.

  • Comment number 6.

    Whether Israel allows your reporters into Gaza is a matter for Israel, not you to decide. From reading this article, I get the impression that you are more concerned with reporting directly from Gaza than you are for the welfare of your journalists. I'm so glad I don't work for you. If this is the BBCs attitude, the BBC is very irresponsible. Isn't it illegal to endanger the safety of your employees?

  • Comment number 7.

    Personally I think media in war situations do more harm than good. I believe media is now a war instrument as much as bombs and bullets, and that modern terrorism is a product of this. The terrorists have their own propaganda wings, probably even their own media contacts such is the interest in tv terrrorism. There is not truth in war, only bloodshed and misery, no right and wrong, so why report it? Why, to inflame more muslims, to upset more Jews, to show the west how not to live.

    I am actually supportive of less press access than more to Gaza!

  • Comment number 8.

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  • Comment number 9.

    wns 195... No It is not a matter for Israel to decide whether press are allowed in. They is compelling evidence that they have flouted almost every aspect of the Geneva conventions and in any event, Palestine is a sovereign nation and Israels complete surrounding of them by siege tactics by land, sea and air is criminal. If one country completely cuts another country off from the world, then that country has a right to do what it takes to allow the free movement of its' people.

    Isreal in 2002 was carrying out agression against Palestine...
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4395561,00.html

  • Comment number 10.

    Has the BBC considered using footage from Al Jazeera in Gaza?
    If it’s free for me to watch and re-use, licensed CC-BY, you should be able to air it!
    See http://cc.aljazeera.net/

  • Comment number 11.

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  • Comment number 12.

    I'm sorry why should the BBC help/aid Hamas in this battle? Can you justify giving material support to a Terrorist Organization banned by the EU?
    Because as has been noted in many places, Hamas is trying to "win" by portraying themselves as victims. They are intent on using the media to show a false view of their actions. They want to flood the media with "palestinian victims" and for the BBC to ignore the thousands of rockets that they have launched. Yes that war crime that the BBC tends to ignore, those rockets deliberately launched at Israeli civilians. Funny how lopsided your middle East reporting is on the history of this conflict. And the media gladly goes along with it (yes even the BBC). You allow remarks of "genocide" and "holocaust" to go unchallenged by Hamas leaders. You interview Israeli Arabs who are muslim, but fail to point out that their existence as citizens of Israels belies HAMAS' accusation of genocide. Or do you believe that somehow they are no longer palestinians.

    So if you do go in and report as you have in the past, can the US try the reporters for "material support" of a terrorist organization. Factually that is what you would be doing.

  • Comment number 13.

    Doesn't the BBC already have a proper Gaza correspondent, Aleem Maqbool? Can the BBC please explain what he was doing traversing the West Bank on a donkey at the same time as the Gaza ceasefire was coming to an end?

  • Comment number 14.

    I would like to know why is the BBC (and the other TV stations) more concerned about what is going on in Gaza than in Afghanistan, were there are many British Forces personnel and civilians involved in humitarian operations, risking their lives every day?

    We practically know the inside leg measurement of every Israeli soldier and HAMAS militant but are only informed of a tragic death of a soldier in Afghanistan.
    This is not acceptable and the BBc should lead from the front and provide us with more information as to what is currently going on over there. As someone who has done a tour of duty over there, there is a heck of lot of good things as well as bad unfortunately that does not get publicised.
    Let us not turn this into a British Vietnam. We should all be proud of what we are currently trying to achieve and what we have already out there. Thank God for Help for Heroes!

    SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!

  • Comment number 15.

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  • Comment number 16.

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  • Comment number 17.

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  • Comment number 18.

    From where I sit, the Israelis appear to be acting in an incredibly accomodating manner to people who seem to be dedicated to enabling their defeat and humiliation.

    A case in point is the recent article posted by the BBC accusing IDF troops--without anything approaching credible independent substantiation--of firing on fleeing civilians waving white flags. This is the kind of overt blood libel that I have sadly come to expect these days from what I once considered the world's finest source for international news, and indeed what once was my sole source for said.

    For tripe like the aforementioned article, which will undoubtedly inspire more violence and murderous behaviour on the part of people already inclined to unthinking antisemitism, I myself would have ejected the BBC from Israel and the Occupied Territories altogether until they could come up with a concrete plan to make their middle east bureaux more impartial. But since Israel, as you well know, is a liberal democracy, they won't do this and you can continue slandering them with an impunity your people would NOT enjoy should they ever try employing this tactic against Palestinians in Hamas, or even Fatah, controlled territory.

  • Comment number 19.

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  • Comment number 20.

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  • Comment number 21.

    One of the problems with your reporting of this conflict is that you exercise the right level of cynicism when dealing with what the Israelis say, but accept what Hamas, its supporters, and those in areas it controls as fact.

    Hamas has every reason in the world to lie, and has been caught doing it. That is something you've failed so far to report, why? As only a few years ago Hamas murdered all those in Gaza who opposed it it is unlikely that many inside The Strip will feel free to criticise them.

    Also I've noticed the hyperbole is already flowing from your reporters for example Huw Edwards called it an 'endless' conflict today. Less than a month is hardly 'endless'.

  • Comment number 22.

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  • Comment number 23.

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  • Comment number 24.

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  • Comment number 25.

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  • Comment number 26.

    European and American non-Network news facilities are showing a war that Israel has activated unilaterally and is getting out their own spin of what they say the Palestinians are doing. However, they refuse to back up these claims with photo/video examples and the UN did not see anything to back up Israel's claims during their time in Gaza, other than the rockets. Where is all the damage from the rockets in Israel? Have not heard of 800+ women and children massacred in southern Israel near Gaza. Collateral Damage does not mean the slaughter of children by any country.

  • Comment number 27.

    Jon, I fear that you are being overly harsh on the Israelis, it must be extremely difficult to not allow personal views impede on a journalists impartiality in reporting the news, however I would suggest that having two muslim journalist broadcast the 'facts' would have many people doubting the BBC's 'factual' reporting of the conflict.

    The BBC also leaves itself open to claims of bias by reporting unconfirmed allegations against the Israelis, normally allegations that have quickly been proving incorrect.



  • Comment number 28.

    The BBC 's reporting of this conflict, particularly on the World Service, is putrid. I have not heard one report on the World Service that does not begin with the plight of the civilians on Gaza and then dwell on that at the expense of other aspects of the fighting. Yes, it is important to inform people of the civilian casualties and it is shocking and tragic that so many have been killed and injured but the BBC gives us no context for these events, particularly Hamas' use of human shields.

    Since you have journalists in Gaza you should get them to do their job. And if they can't do their job through fear of Hamas then you should let the public know that is the case.

  • Comment number 29.

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  • Comment number 30.

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  • Comment number 31.

    If we are to get true reporting of the atrocities of this war against the people of palestine. The BBC should also report on the context, i.e Isreal's continued occupation of the palestinian land against all UN resolutions. Resolutions which have never been enforced infact Isreal has continued to place new settlements on this land. History tells us that any people forced to live under occupation will fight back and defend themselves through whatever means they have (sticks and stones in comparison to the latest weapons of destruction used by isreal). People gave their lives to fight the German occupation in WW11 for freedom and the right to live without fear and oppression. The people of palestine deserve NO less. If you need evidence of the context of this conflict then look at zaynab's story on YouTube.
    It shows what it means to live under occupation and the desperate daily struggle to survive.

  • Comment number 32.

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  • Comment number 33.

    I totally agree with StevenJMUK comment.
    I lost my trust for BBC news coverage. It’s not objective or impartial and often misleading.
    The Russian response to Georgian aggression was labelled as disproportionate and excessive by the BBC.
    And yet the Russian tanks in Gori didn’t fire a single shot! Neither did they bomb densely populated areas, Hospitals or schools. But still, the BBC were full of condemnations and very reluctant to report Georgian atrocities towards the South Ossetian population. On 7 August Georgian forces attacked Tshinvali and killed 900 civilians and 18 Russian peacekeepers and the BBC were completely silent about this fact!
    Just imagine if Russians bombed the UN compound with Phosphorous shells or the Media centre in Georgia? Massive outrage and condemnations would be guaranteed.
    But somehow Israel’s atrocities and Gaza’s humanitarian catastrophe presented by the BBC as unimportant news! It’s highly hypocritical and dishonest.
    I would rather pay my TV licence to the Channel 4 as they provide more objective coverage for public. The BBC looks as if it is Public Broadcast for the Israeli government's propaganda.

  • Comment number 34.

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  • Comment number 35.

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  • Comment number 36.

    I and many others I know are heartily sick of the BBC's endless, shameless bias in reporting the Israeli massacre in Gaza. Your reporters have access to the internet like the rest of us. They have researchers to dig out the story behind the propaganda. Yet the BBC's standard view – echoing the world's political leaders – is that Hamas started it all, and Israel is acting in self defence. Rubbish. Look at the documented history. Zionist policy has from the start been quite explicit: get rid of the Arabs by whatever means and take over their land. Israel planned this invasion of Gaza even before the ceasefire started. They broke all the conditions of the ceasefire. Of course Palestinians retaliated. Yes, in a sad, pointless, desperate way, attacking Israeli civilians rather thaan military, because that's all they had the ability to do. But they didn't start the aggression. Israel did, with a deliberate provocation. Israelis are not stupid and they know very well how to achieve what they want. Gaza has vast natural gas reserves; and it has Palestinians. How to remove one and steal the other? Provoke a war and massacre the inhabitants, with support from 'The Quartet'. You can find these facts, BBC. It's your job. We pay the licence to get factual, unbiased reporting. Not media lies and distortion.

  • Comment number 37.

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  • Comment number 38.

    Thanks Jon. For being so open. No, only joking! When will I ever read a BBC editor telling it clearly? Today...?

    Are you telling us here that the BBC has been indulging the Israeli military propaganda programme, and that the price was worth it ("It's certainly good for our audiences")?

    You say, "Three weeks after Israel's military operations began, the BBC along with other international broadcasters is still being prevented from sending independent reporters into Gaza"; 'independent' being the key word, as we then find out: "a BBC cameraman was taken in to Northern Gaza by the IDF to witness their operations" embedded with the Israeli military.

    You try to salvage some honour by appealing for the "need to be given access to Gaza", but the comment about the 'audiences' condemns you irreparably, as we learn that the 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' is part of BBC ethics. I mean who cares whether it provides a fair and balanced view, right? As long as we get the audiences. Perhaps I'm being too harsh? No, I don't think so. If the cap fits wear it.

    It was interesting to learn however, that even if they did allow 'independent' journalists into Gaza it "would put the Israeli staff needed to process them at risk of attack".

    Sorry? How would they be put at risk? Are you saying that they would allow 'independent' journalists who would have to be accompanied by 'staff needed to process them'?

    Are you being deliberately vague or is it just that you are having difficulty expressing yourself? Or have I got that wrong?

    What does that sentence mean Jon? What does 'process' mean? Unless I'm very mistaken you're saying:'independent' journalists would have to be accompanied by an Israeli minder with unknown powers! And that the danger would actually be to the Israeli and not the journalist? If that is so, why can't you say so clearly and loudly? Oh, of course, because he wouldn't really be independent, right?

    You end well but, disappointingly, back away at the moment of truth: "In the meantime, independent reporting is just one of the many casualties of the conflict in Gaza."

    'In the meantime'? Only 'is'?

    Surely a more honest version would have been: "independent reporting is, was and always will be one of the casualties in Gaza?"

    No, I'm pretty sure now that I won't find any straight´talking from a BBC editor tonight...

    Sincerely,

  • Comment number 39.

    • Your comments on the BBC's reporting are welcome below;

    Wow, what an opportunity.

    The BBC have adopted the "rocket fire" excuse as their official position it seems. News desk anchors use it, correspondents use it, and they are fond of repeating it when Israeli spokespeople use it, its even been used as a soundbite, repeatedly.

    Anyone would think there was no occupation, no illegal settlements, no ongoing Israeli crimes in the West Bank and Gaza. That this wasnt between The Occupied and The Occupier, and that Hamas wasnt born out of occupation.

    And the worst thing is, for the BBC, Hamas held their rocket fire, held it for four months and actively prevented other groups firing theirs, until Israeli missiles murdered several Hamas members. And then Hamas still offered to renew the ceasefire.

    It took More4 news to tell the truth of it, to a stunned ex Israeli foreign minister, but that was a bit late in the day, over two weeks into the assualt on Gaza. The BBC have swallowed the Israeli propaganda line hook line and sinker, and are still swallowing.

    Its an utter disgrace.

  • Comment number 40.

    Jon:
    I think that the BBC is been covering the Gaza story in a very fair and accurate way, even with the [current] restrictions of not being allowed to bring in correspondents....

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 41.

    Dont get me wrong Jon, the rocket fire is happening, it is a crime, a murderous crime.

    But the crime comitted by The Occupied ough not to be used, or even seem to be used, as a justification for the ongoing crimes of The Occupier - as seems to be the case with BBC reporting.

    In fact, if the BBC were to stop following the Israeli propaganda line, as it does when it pretends to know that Israeli forces are battling only Hamas fighters (see latest online articles). Then apart from mentioning all the other potential resistance groups, the BBC could simply adopt "Resistance" and "Occupation" as terms of reference for the two forces. This in turn could help remind BBC staff that there is indeed an ongoing occupation.

    Of course Israel has the right to defend itself, another position seemingly adopted by BBC news anchors. About the same right as Germany had when it occupied Poland and created the Warsaw Ghetto.

    Though with Israel threatening to "lockdown" the West Bank on Friday, there is a chance the BBC might actually mention the ongoing murderous occupation. Perhaps a chance to mention the rejectionist position of the Israeli state?

  • Comment number 42.

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  • Comment number 43.

    I haven't watched Newsnight in a while. I would have thought the BBC would be able to wheel out Jeremy Paxman to interview every Israeli, and every Palestinian spokesperson. Not just Newsnight, but BBC News 24 too.

    There is a professional who does not pander to the delicate, political world of political spin. We don't want polite interviewing of people involved in war. We want them to be held to account and explain themselves properly. An interviewer who permits the usage of spin, isn't an interviewer. They are doing the job of Parkinson, in the wrong circumstances, in the wrong place, and with the wrong people.

    The mere fact that the Israelis have taken it upon themselves to dictate who can and can not go into Palestine tells you everything you need to know. One country, isolating another from the outside world does so for one reason and one reason only. They are breaking all international laws and do not want credible witnesses.

    Has anyone realised those working for the press are doing such a good job, the Israeli army has decided to target the press buldings? How blatant do they need to be. Shall we wait until they spell it out for us?

    There is no spin in the world to hide what is going on.

    Never, ever trust any army or any country who deny free access to the independant and free press.

    The UN has insisted the Israelis stop their bloody activities. They haven't. The UN has now been bombed in Gaza, an utterly despicable act, amongst many others. This is a dangerous time not only for the region, but for all of us.

    Have the investigative lawyers been employed to prepare the legal case at the Haig yet? And if not, why not? Perhaps Jeremy could insist someone answer that question too?

    John Ging, Rushdi Abualouf and Hamada Abuqammar are doing amazing work. Well done.

  • Comment number 44.

    It is doubtful that the BBC will soon renounce its bias against Israel. I know some who hate Israel and Jews despair that Israel is not demonized more by the BBC, but it is demonized quite enough.
    One clear example of bias is BBC's implying that Palestinian sources are credible, while Israeli statements are somehow questionable. Take any day's BBC articles and you'll notice phrasings like "Israel claims..." for Israeli statements, while "Israel killed" (implying facts), only at the end to be qualified by "according to Palestinian sources", when quoting the latter. Note also that Israel's statements are the ones always under scrutiny, while Palestinian ones are not, on grounds of "oh, we're not allowed to report from there". How about those times that you were? How about never making a correction to the antisemitism-inciting reporting the BBC first made about the "massacre in Jenin" and no apology made when its relying on Palestinian sources proved disgracefully not objective and inaccurate?

  • Comment number 45.

    Israel has undoubtedly a ferocious PR machine permeating all media and probably protected by Jewish Nationals in every country. In the past most people were not aware of this, now however its out in the open and will over time loose its credibility and potency.

    Despite this, what an awful, stupid mistake invading Gaza actually is, especially after the world knows it inflicted a blockade against Gaza for some considerable time. What obvious action were the people of Gaza going to take?

    The defence argued "To stop the rockets" and "there is no humantarian crisis in Gaza". is ludicrous. Phosphorus shells used to retaliate against homemade rockets.

    Stories of soldiers shooting grandmothers holding children and waving a white flag and shooting little girls in the back are the worst I can think of coming from a civilised country. When a hospital gets fired on - actually how many Hamas gunmen are being engaged? Is the obvious number of civilian casualties and deaths this action incurred and, probably only against a handful of men, morally right?

    Last night a picture of a little child by his dead Muslim Mother was shown. It was immediately claimed as propoganda manipulation why? -because it had been taken during Israel's war on Lebanon. I will never forget the anger and deep sadness I felt watching that war. This war is yet another massacre, a repeat

    If ever a country wanted to turn world opinion against itself this is exactly how. Especially when it is now inferred on numerous tv channels that attacking Gaza was planned well in advance.

    What is so dispicable is that this massacre can never be referred to as a 'blunder' it is a deliberate campaign.

    There is no turning back from Israel's actions these will serve to both stimulate and galvanize hatred and will create our future world. The tragedy of this is that I expect the vast majority of people in Israel and Gaza are completely univolved - just living their lives and would have preferred their political parties to have acted very differently. It does highlight a simple fact that governments around the world are so far apart from their public.

  • Comment number 46.

    Mr Williams - I feel the BBC's coverage of the events in Gaza has been fair and from what I've heard from my UN colleagues in the Middle East, accurate as to what is happening on the ground.

    Working in a field related to providing humanitarian aid, it is difficult for me not to be partial to the people in Gaza. Viewers will make their own judgements and read what they will into the reports they come across - be they from the BBC, al-Jazeerah, CNN or wherever. Regardless, the fact remains that many innocent people are left destitute because of this conflict.

    I was forwarded a beautiful Gaza haiku verse published on the Wonkie cartoon blog which for me was more insightful into the nature of the conflict than much of the commentary covering the rationalisations of war from either side. In the end, reporting is about the people that are affected by the conflict, not about who is right and who is wrong.

  • Comment number 47.

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  • Comment number 48.

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  • Comment number 49.

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  • Comment number 50.

    Considering the BBC's record on "impartial"reporting on the Israeli Arab conflicts over the years, it is no wonder that Israel does not want BBC correspondents inside Gaza. Hamas and it's sister organisations have a long history of using the media, especially the British media, as it's propaganda machine.

  • Comment number 51.

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  • Comment number 52.

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  • Comment number 53.

    Despite being denied access to Gaza, it should be straightforward to report an accurate sequence of events.

    Also, use of pejorative terms and military speak (e.g. 'collateral damage') should either be reworded or in quotes.

    From June to 4th November not a single Israeli was killed by a rocket from Gaza, yet the narrative was that Hamas broke the cease fire despite offering a renewed cease fire if the blockade was lifted.

    Also, I'd like to point out that Hamas' political wing isn't banned in the UK and that as Jeremy Greenstock explained on the Today programme, they are a grievance based organisation.

  • Comment number 54.

    There are several people who blog of the "lopsided" reporting of Gaza but none seem to conclude that it would be better for the media to have access to the area. We have claims of inaccurate reporting of the history of the region and yet there are "conflict timelines" going back a long way on countless outlets including the BBC.

    It is well recognised that it takes a very shrewd commentator to accurately portray the detail of conflicts of this order but it takes much less effort to report on attacks that can be visually confirmed. By restricting access it would seem that Israel is quite happy to have uneven or "lopsided" reports since it makes it easier to put down reports as "inaccurate".

    Politicians cannot have it both ways, much as they may like it to be so. If you open the door then you in a much stronger position to criticise inaccuracy, but, in the absence of a welcome mat you are in no position to castigate people for forming whatever opinion they wish.

  • Comment number 55.

    What is stopping your reporters from entering Gaza from the Egyptian side. Surely BBC journalists are resourceful enough to find someone to guide them through a tunnel into Gaza usually used for food, weapons, etc.?

  • Comment number 56.

    I find the BBC coverage fair and balanced and I am not particularly partial to either party.

    EnjoyingLifeInUSA (44) - I think you're reading too much into semantics - extract what you need from the reports stripping away what you see as subjective and draw your conclusions like the rest of us.

    Sizwe (an African blogger

  • Comment number 57.

    latest online article -

    Dont mention the occupation!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7832406.stm

    "[i]The Israeli army has closed all access to the West Bank for the next two days following a call by Hamas for all Palestinians to observe what it called a day of wrath, by staging anti-Israeli protests at Friday prayers.

    The Palestinian Authority issued a similar call to action to followers of Fatah, a rival Palestinian faction to Hamas.[/i]"

    Plus there's three quotes from Israeli spokespoeple along with further reiteration of the israeli position (as if it were the BBCs own position), one mention of rejection from Hamas.

    Utterly disgusting as you've no doubt come to expect.

  • Comment number 58.

    Well, well, well. The ICRC has confirmed that Israel is NOT using white phosphorus munitions illegally, according to an Associated Press report. And to my complete non-surprise, there is no mention of this on the BBC's website, but there are several articles repeating this modern blood libel over and over again. Hitler would be proud of the quislings infesting your Jerusalem bureau... And hey, so would his then-ally, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Guess not much changes, what?

  • Comment number 59.

    SizweMahlala, semantics are extremely important, because antisemites use them in order to pretend objectivity. Israel is lynched in today's media the same way Jews were lynched in "Mein Kampf".

    During the war in Lebanon the BBC presented many false accusations against Israel in its news stories. Qualifying them as accurate based on the fact they were taken from established Arab media was and still is the BBC's modus operandi.

    Of course the Arab media would present false information, but the BBC should not condone it.

    What is interesting is that the BBC does publish the narrative of the Palestinian side based on its two Arab associates who are in Gaza. What anybody with independent thought would ask is why these associates have no stories about how Hamas operates in its fight against Israeli troops, while at the same time claiming Hamas fighters are ubiquitous.

  • Comment number 60.

    I find the BBC coverage biased against Israel. I am hopeing since CNN is now in Gaza their will be more balanced than the BBC ever would be.

  • Comment number 61.

    "58. At 2:51pm on 16 Jan 2009, jpetrisor wrote:

    Well, well, well. The ICRC has confirmed that Israel is NOT using white phosphorus munitions illegally, according to an Associated Press report."


    No, your comprehension skills, along with those of who titled the article, are seriously lacking. ICRC said no such thing in the article, it says it has no evidence but points out that evidence is still limited because of the difficulties of gaining access to Gaza.

    So your whole argument against the BBC falls flat, not least because the BBC has not reported that Israel HAS used it illegally. Its hardly worth the BBC's effort to report that evidence is limited because Israeli is blocking access.

  • Comment number 62.

    I heard the report from your correspondent Christian Fraser on the radio NewsHour this morning.

    It's is truly amazing that in his lengthy story he did not manage to mention any of the 15,000 heavily armed Hamas members who are currently engaged in deadly combat with the IDF.

    Why do you think he did not see them?
    If he did, why did he not report it?

    Could this have anything to do with BBC editorial policy concerning Israel?

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    How anyone could say that the BBC "defends" Israel, is totally beyond me.
    The BBC is obviously biased against Israel, focusing all the time on the unfortunate victims who are being used as human shields by the cynical and amoral Hamas terrorists, while ignoring the reasons the Israelis are having to do what they are doing.
    It is little wonder that the BBC is stopped from entering Gaza.

    In any case , as other posters here have said, what is the problem in the BBC entering from the border with Egypt, or flying in from Cyprus?

    Some posters here have a problem with logic and facts:
    "The UN has now been bombed in Gaza, an utterly despicable act, amongst many others. "

    Well if the UN, that particularly useless waste of space of an organisation, are going to allow Hamas terrorists to use the premises to attack Israeli troops, what do you expect?

    "Anyone would think there was no occupation, no illegal settlements, no ongoing Israeli crimes in the West Bank and Gaza." Well someone has been reading the Grauniad haven't they?

    Occupation?
    Israel was created in 1948 by international agreement and since then has had to fight and win four wars against Arabs who instigated every one of them. As for illegal settlements, I distinctly remember seeing on TV Israeli troops forcibly removing Israeli settlers from their homes on disputed territory.

    Why is there no condemnation by the BBC of Hamas, which is an EU declared terrorist organisation?
    Anyway, CNN are now in Gaza, maybe that shows they are more balanced in their reporting of the situation.

  • Comment number 65.

    Hi Jon.

    I notice you haven't replied to anyone's comments. Your privilege of course.

    You were extremely coy in the article above about naming the journalist' and the brigade he was embedded with.

    I have now seen the clip and must say I am outraged. Regardless of whether the actual film was reviewed by a military censor, you have allowed claims made by one soldier that Hamas had 'wired' a school to go unchallenged. My earlier post has been proved correct, you have allowed the BBC to be used as a propaganda outlet by the IDF and this is unacceptable.

    The other disturbing element is exactly where your journalist was embedded: the Givati Brigade.

    This was the unit whose soldiers were found guilty of repeatedly beating up two handcuffed Palestinian children, one of whom died.

    This was the unit whose soldiers mortally wounded a 13-year-old Palestinian girl in the southern Gaza Strip in October 2004, and whose commander at the site fired an entire magazine of automatic fire at her prone body.

    As I said this is unacceptable and I am waiting for an apology for using taxpayers money to further the propaganda of a foreign army - a foreign army that kills indisciminately and the has the nerve to blame it on others.

    Thank, however, for giving me the chance to espress myself here, and I look forward to reading your reply.

  • Comment number 66.

    From the comments above it is obvious that Israel's supporters and opponents want different things from your coverage.

    Israel's supporters are concerned with the accuracy of your reporting first and with your objectivity second (though also important).

    Israel's opponents claim you are not objective because you do not draw harsher conclusions about Israel's actions and you don't call Israelis (or Jews for that matter) devils.

    Without accuracy you can't even talk about objectivity. When presenting Palestinian accusations - like that of shooting at civilians with a white flag - as facts, you are inciting antisemitism. It is not Israel's actions encouraging antisemitism, as you always suggest, but the fact that you publicize many lies and then you bury your retractions somewhere where only those of us who keep on searching for them might find them.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    Now Mr. Bowen's "objectivity" is really worth commenting on:

    "It would be wrong to suggest that the experience of Israeli civilians in the areas that can be hit by rockets has been the same.

    It is very frightening to be close to a rocket when it explodes, and people have been killed or injured. But the casualty figures, and the level of destruction in Gaza, tell their own story. "

    My relatives in Sedorot had to run for their lives pretty much every day for the last four years, sometimes several times a day. That's more bombing incidents than anywhere, anytime in known history. Shame on you for dismissing it and what it has done to all the young kids of Sedorot (irreparable psychological damage).

    Second, the Israeli army was not shooting at Gaza from Sedorot's civilian areas, schools, synagogues, or clinic, like Hamas does. Assigning the Israeli army the responsibility for all the Palestinian civillian deaths is disingenuous.

    Please post this reply as an ultimate example of BBC's valuing Jewish life less than that of others!

  • Comment number 69.

    Unfortunately, the BBC seems to have learned nothing.

    If anything, your articles and columns continue to become more biased, rather than less, over time.

    "The people of Gaza have been suffering terrible pain. When this is over, there is bound to be a proper investigation of some of the actions that Israel has carried out," writes your editor, Jeremy Bowen. But should there be no investigation of the atrocities committed by Hamas, both against Israelis and against its own people?

    "But there are plenty of bomb sites where there is extensive collateral damage. It is no wonder there have been so many civilian casualties," writes Christian Fraser. But the number of civilian casualties is less than the number killed by the British air force in a few days in Falujah. There were more civilian casualties in the Black Hawk Down rescue in Somalia. The civilian casualties in Gaza exist because (1) Hamas leaders choose to keep their extended families around them and send their kids up onto rooftops to deflect bombs, and (2) Hamas chooses to store tons of explosives in civilian buildings, and (3) Hamas chooses to continue fighting in crowded areas SIMPLY FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF CONTINUING TO SMUGGLE IN ROCKETS TO SHOOT AT ISRAEL. But you ignore all of this and blame Israel, exclusively, emphatically and without a shadow of a doubt, for every single thing that happens in the Strip.

    Meanwhile, Jon Williams continues to be fixated with Israel's refusal to allow reporters to go wandering around in whole neighborhoods that have been booby trapped with explosives by Hamas (talk about collateral damage) or to allow reporters to embed with Hamas terrorists whom it intends to bomb, for fear that it will kill them.

    I have NO objection to articles that criticize Israel if it does things that go beyond what other countries (such as the UK) do in warfare. I have a VERY strong objection to your incredible hypocrisy, and having watched your descent from general bias and dehumanization of Israelis into outright blood libel, I find myself far more disgusted with the BBC today than I am with Fox or al Jazeerah. And that took real effort on your part.

    You, sirs, are fanning the flames of hatred with your severely biased and deeply unprofessional "journalism." And the flames of hatred are indeed growing, and many of the resulting deaths on all sides of this conflict should be laid at the door of your institution. Would hatred exist anyway? Yes, in some quarters. But how many of your readers/listeners are raging at Hamas for committing war crimes, storing weapons in buildings with babies and shooting rockets from schools? Almost nobody. Why? Because you whitewash the crimes of Hamas, and people believe you. You clearly don't want them to understand the reality behind your glib statistics and your horrible images.

    Get off your high horse. You've lost any of the moral authority that you ever had.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    "67. At 00:38am on 17 Jan 2009, yah_shamar wrote:

    I am neither Jewish nor Arab. I regret seeing the devastation in Gaza. Why is it so hard to say, Stop the rockets from Gaza and the bombs from Isreal will stop. Why Do the people in Gaza NOT see the cause and effect?"

    The people of Gaza no doubt know, just like the Israeli government do, that Hamas held the ceasefire until the 4th of November when Israel broke the ceasefire by killing 6 Hamas members. They know Hamas held the ceasefire and yet they got nothing back from Israel but more blockade and more killing. They also know Hamas worked to prevent other rouge groups from firing missiles.

    See this clip http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=SILJxPTqjAM

    and this one http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=KntmpoRXFX4

    and this one http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=pcOtHHMIVdI&eurl=http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1231809048.html

    Note the confirmation of events from the israeli government.

    Also note that the BBC has failed to report this important context - presumably they thought it too controversial, or likey to lead to cries of being anti Israeli?

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    So it is now Saturday, the BBC has failed to retract it's claim that the IDF used phosphorus on civilians, even though CNN are reporting that this claim is false.

    The BBC is a disgrace, and if as the BBC claims, that it's charter is to represent the entire country, why is is it that the 90% of the population who do not support HAMAS are not allowed to have their views hard on BBC news shows?.

    Balen report anyone?.


  • Comment number 78.

    A couple of questions for those that would accuse the BBC of anti-israeli bias.

    1) When have you ever heard BBC staff say that Palestinians have the right to defend themselves from Israeli attacks?

    Of course you can compare that with the number of times the BBC has said that Israel has the right of selfdefense. I dont mean having someone on tv who said it, but actually said by the BBC staff themselves.

    2) When have you ever heard BBC staff mention the settlements in the West Bank as a grievance of the Palestinians? (i see one online article posted yesterday).

    Of course you can compare that with the number of times 'rocket fire' has been mentioned by BBC staff.

    It seems to me that Israeli grievances coupled with Israel's right to self defense have been internally adopted by BBC staff.

    Maybe i'm wrong here, show me when the BBC staff voice Palestinian grievances and mention the Palestinians right to self defense.

  • Comment number 79.

    "77. At 09:22am on 17 Jan 2009, Rustigjongens wrote:

    So it is now Saturday, the BBC has failed to retract it's claim that the IDF used phosphorus on civilians,"

    How can the BBC retract a claim it never made.

    Point to where you think the BBC made the claim.

  • Comment number 80.

    "Your comments on the BBC's reporting are welcome"

    Many thanks for this, although in The Editors blogs we seem to no longer have responses by the BBC writers themselves to useful comments made.

    So, two comments on Gaza reporting :

    1) Reporters frequently give numbers of deaths within Gaza from the Israeli action and within Israel from Hamas. But these figures are reported as if they are quite normal: the very stark disparity in human impact, the customary Israeli lack of concern for loss of Arab life, is treated as unremarkable.

    2) The Israeli action is often placed, correctly, in the context of Israel's wish to see an end of rocket attacks over the border. But viewers are not reminded why Israel is taking action at this time: I haven't heard the forthcoming election in Israel mentioned at all since the action began a month ago.
    The BBC is misleading viewers if it fails to mention the election asit is surely the key reason why the invasion has taken place at this particular time (that or the need to get it done before Bush leaves town)

  • Comment number 81.

    The BBC (and other networks as well) should pay attention to the fact that their sense of mission is not being abused by the Palestinians.
    To me it seems that the Hamas is using the reporters as guns, in which they are loading their dead civilians in order to shoot back at Israel, and therefore are eager to manufacture more and more ammunition for that purpose.
    Although the right to report, the media needs to show some responsibility, and be aware of the fact that it is now playing a role of a “dangerous weapon” that increases the number of casualties in conflicts and wars.

  • Comment number 82.

    That it should not cotradict the regulations of this forum.

  • Comment number 83.

    Here's a picture of white phosphorus use.

    http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45385000/jpg/_45385334_afp_school226.jpg


    Take a look and tell me what you see.

  • Comment number 84.

    I can find no mention in any Israel/Gaza conflict reports concerning gas.

    What gas?

    In 2000 several energy companies, including British Gas, announced the discovery of significant deposits of natural gas off the Israeli coast.

    Estimated at 100 billion cubic meters of proven reserves, these discoveries potentially offer enough gas to meet Israel's goal of supplying 25% of its energy needs for more than 20 years. The discovery has also raised realistic expectations of locating oil deposits beneath the gas fields.

    Unfortunately for Israel, 60% of these reserves are in waters controlled by the Palestinian Authority, which has signed a 25-year contract with British Gas for further exploration in the area.

    Would Israel allow the Palestinian Authority, let alone Hamas, reap the benefits of the Gazan gas fields dou you think?

    Despite British Gas's commitments to Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, the company has announced that it is willing to enter into a deal with Israel.

    Either BBC has very limited resources or else BBC chooses not to mention gas.

    Why not mention it? Because of British involvement in behind-the-scenes deals with Iseal, maybe?

  • Comment number 85.

    It seems that the site doesn't like my links so I've removed them. Trying again:

    78. whateverfor wrote:

    "Maybe i'm wrong here, show me when the BBC staff voice Palestinian grievances and mention the Palestinians right to self defense."

    You can't be exposed to much of the BBC output if you genuinely believe the BBC is not on the side of the Palestinians.

    Just last night Gavin Essler on 'Newsnight' asked the Israeli government spokesman if he was "proud" of Palestinian deaths in Gaza:

    Contrast that with the easy ride he gave the Palestinian spokesman.

    And in a recent World Service interview with the Czech foreign minister, Owen Bennet Jones indignantly asked him whether he conceded that Hamas also has a right to self defence:

    "But perhaps the worst interview of all was with the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic who dared to suggest that every country has a right to defend its citizens, that Hamas had walked away from negotiations, that they had resumed firing rockets into Israel unprovoked, and that Israel's actions are therefore defensive and not offensive. The ire and vitriol of the BBC interviewer was extraordinary. Paxman and Humphreys are pussy cats in comparison. The Czech minister sounded shell shocked. And so was I."

    From 'conservative.home.blogs'

    There is no greater friend of Hamas today among the Western media than the BBC. And they have been defending Hamas for years.

  • Comment number 86.

    Cheers, I most surely agree that the common kolks on the earth deserve to be truthfully informed in all matters, and I surely wish it would always be so, yes bravo to the journalists who are willing to be in places of dangerous conflict at their personal risk of life, however, maybe not so in the UK, but it seems to me that here in US that all information truthfully appears to be "filtered or bias" to the powers to be that promote it to give the readers that which the powers want revealed, usually to their own benefit or manipulation, "What am I on about?" well concerning wars anywhere it seems to me, they say it is because of this reason or that reason... however friends it appears to me that wars or most of the time about selfish greed of a certain few that seek power for theirselves to manipulate the majority of the masses in whatever nation it may be "usually in the name of "God" or in the name of "Justice" or they say "for the good of the people"??? I think that quite honestly that our(the whole world, every nation, every person) would maybe just maybe be alot better off economically and socially if we would just seek to be for the prosperity of all people and not just a minisculle few.

  • Comment number 87.

    Thank you for your coverage of the Gaza conflict. In particular, the visual map and timeline were very informative.

    However, I was curious about the timeline start date. Some parts of the US press claim there might have been rockets fired from Gaza at some point before your timeline start date. Given that I am unclear on whether to believe the US press, could you either confirm that rockets were fired (and about how many and about how often, if good & reliable date exists) or that the US press is being led astray / leading us astray? The "story line," of course, is whether there were or were not "provocations," and whether the "provocations" were incidental or serious.

    At this point, I feel like I am blind and still grasping at some part of the elephant without sensing the whole picture. I do undertand why the BBC has put correspondents there (lots of news!!), but I do not understand why don't Gazans leave? Are there any countries where Gaza refuges are welcomed to become full citizens if they wish to escape this mess? Or is it that they are irreconcilably stuck there?

  • Comment number 88.

    The BBC believes all that the UNWRA tells them, in spite of the fact that 99% of the people working for them in Gaza are Palestinians and the Secretary General of the organisation is an American woman who lectured in political science and Islamic studies at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, and at Juba University in southern Sudan.

    She earned her B.Sc. at DePauw University in Indiana and her M.A. in Islamic Studies at McGill University in Canada.

    She is married to a Sudanese professor and has two children.

    Of course the employees and boss of UNWRA can't be biased, can they?

  • Comment number 89.

    heres a better picture of white phosphorus use

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/08/middle_east_enl_1232192717/img/1.jpg

    ***

    Dear TrueToo, thanks for the heads up on the recent World Service interview with the Czech foreign minister, i'll look it up. Why do you think someone was shocked that the question was asked about Hamas's right to defend themselves?

    The thing about the example you gave is that Hamas was open for negotiation, and had stopped rockets until Israel murdered six of its members.

    Why do people still believe that Hamas broke the ceasefire when Israel has admitted they did?

    See this clip http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=SILJxPTqjAM

    and this one http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=KntmpoRXFX4

    and this one http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=pcOtHHMIVdI & http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1231809048.html

    Note the confirmation of events from the israeli government.

    Also note that the BBC has failed to report this important context.

  • Comment number 90.

    'REFUGEES LEFT TO FATE' Writes The Daily Telegraph, Saturday, 17th January 2009. 'The Thai military has been accused of towing hundreds of Burmese 'boat people' out to sea and abandoning them to die with their hands tied and without food, water or an engine on their boat.' Where's the outcry? Why aren't people besieging the Thai Embassy? Last week the Sudanese began bombing Darfur again, while at the same time the Janjaweed have continued with their raping and pillaging. Hundreds of thousands have been killed. Where's the outcry? In the Democratic Republic of Congo people are being burned alive. In Zimbabwe, thousands have died because of government aided cholera and others of starvation. Where's the outcry? Where's the UN? Where's the BBC? Only Israel receives disproportionate scrutiny. Only Israel is vilified by the BBC. The BBC is actively fanning the flames of anti-Semitism in its misreporting and blatant lies. The onus is on the BBC for an abhorrent lack of independence. So far as the BBC is concerned, Hamas bears NO blame for anything. Not for using civilians as human shields and mosques, schools, UN buildings and hospitals to house their terrorists and to shoot from. Then the BBC employs its journalists based in Gaza to mis-inform and lie to the public that everything is Israel's fault and Israel's fault entirely. The BBC is a shameful organisation.

  • Comment number 91.

    BBC has done a good job in reporting the raw picture of the distress in Myanmar just after cyclone Nargis .Without their help the world might have not known the extent of the damage . I think BBC correspondents are missing the golden opportunity to highlight the first hand distress for a greater appeal to the international community in this Gaza warfare. Going after a week of a peace will only help in extending the damage and by then much of the memories of the wounded might have down .

  • Comment number 92.

    Mr whatever, this is the last time I will beat this horse [to death], as you seem to not be following BBC's main stories as much as I do. You wrote:

    "Any "problem" in logic on the first point has been your tendency to invent things.

    The accusation against Israel has been made, but not by the BBC (I think it was an American guy from HRW that first accused Isreal of using WP illegally, but he has been denied access to Gaza)."

    Take a look at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7831424.stm - "UN accuses Israel over phosphorus. It is exactly as I said: the UN made accusations and the BBC reported them without checking for accuracy. Later, the UN basically admitted they should not have made the accusation, as they still don't have any proof. What more proof do you need (that the BBC frequently carries accusations against Israel when made by those who hate Israel - John Ging in this case, without checking the truth of the accusation made - blood leibel in this case)?

    As for my making a logical mistake, I don't think so:

    "See if you can spot the logical flaw in your own argument -

    There is no proof God exists.
    There is no proof fairies exist.
    The onus of scientific proof is on those who claim it does exist."

    As an atheist and scientist I am firmly convinced that my statements are coherent.
    Someone with an open mind could have deduced that I am an atheist, but that requires one's being capable of seeing the other one's point of view.

  • Comment number 93.

    Jeremy Bowen, in his latest blog, somehow sidesteps the strident pledges of Hamas to keep fighting in spite of the Israeli cease fire.

    Instead he switches the subject to the UN spokesperson (who turns out to be an ex-BBC pal of Jeremy's!!!) who makes claims of war crimes against Israel ('We have emails!').

    So, as Bowen's mumblings about Hamas having issues slowly get buried beneath the seven paragraphs of war crimes accusations from his old BBC buddy, we lose sight of Hamas' determination to fight until the last Gazan is dead or injured.

    Bowen has not changed his biased reporting in years, unlike Alan Johnston, who is now sounding a lot more objective since his 'friends' among the Islamic extremists kidnapped him and held him captive for a while.

    The BBC's role in inciting anti-Israel hatreds should not go unrecognized.

    Perhaps the BBC will finally change its editorial policies when the jihadist terrorism of 7/7 is repeated a few more times outside their windows.

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    Such a presumption as this by the BBC, is surely outside its code of practice.

    "Israel has begun a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza, three weeks after launching a full-scale assault against Hamas." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7835794.stm

    Firstly, the "assault against Hamas" claim is a claim made by Israel and should not be internalised by the BBC as a fact. It ought to be reported as 'Israeli say', especially so considering the casualty lists and damage done. Not to mention that Hamas were not the only group to be firing rockets from Gaza into Israel.

    I know that Israelis repeat ad nauseum that this is all about Hamas, but that does not excuse the BBC internalising this claim as if it were fact. For all the BBC knows this was intended as an assualt on the people of Gaza in order to end their support for Hamas, which is what Israelis said about the blockade. It could be other reasons not expressed. But the simple fact is that a lot more than Hamas has been hit, and that it is not the job of the BBC to speak on behalf of Israel or promote Israeli propaganda.

    A simple change to "assault on Gaza" would suffice.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    What politicians say and what they do are more often than not totally unlinked activities. Claims are made and then actions belie the claims. At home journalists are quick to spot the differences unless they are cronies of the party making the claims.

    Hence, in Gaza, we have an offensive that is designed to "stop the rockets" and yet, between June and November 2008 there were no rockets. The BBC is quick to pick up on the "stop the rockets" so that it mitigates the atrocities committed by the occupying force. Then there is the "hearsay" which is the deliberate mechanism of the politician to discredit any reporting of what a third party may claim against the occupier. "We are there; we KNOW what is happening" is the retort. Media manipulation of this kind is sophisticated and unpleasant and is much more relevant to BBC condemnation. Hamas is not stopping independent coverage - Israel is. That is the starting point for all the news of Gaza, not the presence of "rocket attacks" as an irrelevant excuse for brutality, murder, and worse.

    The BBC seems running scared of the truth of this conflict because it is failing to use its absence from Gaza as a means to report much more deeply on the true motives for this conflict from the side of the oppressor. No fight between factions is ever "rabble causing a stir" as much as politicians may like us to believe it. There is always a point where one side or the other oversteps the mark.

    How long is it necessary to maintain an over sensitive regard for what has passed into history and start reporting on what is happening in the same way that it would be covered were this anywhere else in the world?

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

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  • Comment number 100.

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