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Reporting from Gaza

James Stephenson | 10:31 UK time, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The BBC is lucky to have two outstanding producers in our Gaza office, Rushdi Abu Alouf and Hamada Abuqammar. They have been well trained, not least by Alan Johnston, and are giving calm, accurate, accounts of what is happening. Hamas has not imposed any restrictions on their reporting and they have been a model of impeccable journalism, in terrible personal circumstances. Most of us go home when the story is over. Gaza is their home.

The great frustration so far, is that we have not been able to send colleagues to help report the story in Gaza. The Israelis have not let any journalists in since the fighting started, despite a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court that they should do so. We are obviously pressing as hard as we can to get in.

Since we can't get our own crews and correspondents into Gaza, we are dependent on our shots from the border and news agency pictures from inside. The aerial bombardment on Gaza has been easily visible, both on the Israeli and Egyptian border. The continued rocket fire out of Gaza has also been clear to see and film.

So far we have not seen any footage of the fighting on the ground. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the conflict, we are certainly seeing images of its consequences - destroyed buildings and many dead and injured Palestinians and the more limited death and destruction on the Israeli side.

There is a military censor in Israel and we've received text messages reminding us that any material touching on national security is meant to be submitted before broadcast. In practice, we haven't cleared anything before use. At one point, we had a live position next to Israeli artillery near the border with one cannon in clear view. We were not allowed to show a wide shot revealing the extent and location of the battery - and we said so in the live broadcast.

The Israeli military declared a closed military zone around Gaza a couple of days into the conflict and tried to push the broadcasters' satellite trucks back from their vantage points overlooking the Strip. A game of cat and mouse followed and we have been able to keep going with a view over the border. We've also reported live from Sderot, the Israeli town most threatened by the rocket fire from Gaza.

Update: 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.

James Stephenson is chief of the Jerusalem bureau.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

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  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

    I would have to commend the BBC for an serious attempt at impartiality this time around.

    One element I do find interesting is the reporting of casualties.

    Every film shows CHILDREN being carried in to hospitals.

    Very emotive I'm sure.

    But is it actually true that ALL the people injured are children?

    The soldiers of the hamas government must be pretty good fighters that not a single one of them has been injured.

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  • Comment number 6.

    "Since we can't get our own crews and correspondents into Gaza, we are dependent on our shots from the border and news agency pictures from inside."

    There would be no difference in the hysterical anti-Israel propaganda.

  • Comment number 7.

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  • Comment number 8.

    Keep up the good work, BBC!

    I'm sure you must be reporting under almost impossibly difficult circumstances, and you keep doing it anyway. This reporting alone justifies the licence fee.

    And don't listen to those accusing you of hysterical anti-Israel propaganda. Doubtless they have their own agenda. The reporting sounds pretty fair to me.

  • Comment number 9.

    To dhimmi #6

    How would you minimize propaganda by both sides?

  • Comment number 10.

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  • Comment number 11.

    Re Gaza

    In my view the Israelis have locked down Gaza in a similar way to the Nazis

    ground down the Jewish community in
    Warsaw in WW2.

    So even the press are locked out while
    the blockade continues and the destruction gets into overdrive.

    The best way to sort this is to TALK to
    HAMAS.

    GET BLAIR out of the equation.

    The Palestinians must have a future the

    BLOCKADE MUST END.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'd like to use my first post to say that I think the BBC does a good job of staying impartial in matters like these, especially compared to other news sources.

    Although, if arne_norway (#10) is saying is true then this information should be known whenever this doctor is used as a source. In such an emotional topic such as this people are bound to have a lean towards one side or the other and I think this needs to be known.

    In my opinion, there needs to be change on both sides. Forcing one side to change and not the other will not work and we'll end up back in this situation in 6/12 months time.

    Both the Isreali and Palestinian people deserve peace. Anyone working to acheive this deserves our support.

  • Comment number 13.

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  • Comment number 14.

    I belive this article to be specious. If it were not that the BBC Editor WAS concerned that there may be allegations of bias and lack of impartiality this blog entry item would be unnecessary.

    There is a simple answer to the BBC having to be concerned about whether it is accused of bias and whether the bias is true or unfounded.

    Don't report the details of the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip. No news reported means there can be no bias and no propagandist use can be used by either side.

    I can understand the need to know casualty figures from a humanitarian concern and we can read and hear and see details as reported by the UN Relief Agencies, etceteras, but the need to see salacious gossip type reporting when one sees (on the BBC News TV broadcasts) one BBC Reporter standing with his back to the conflict as he"interviews" Rushdi Abu Alouf is a joke.

    I dare say the BBC have very high opinion of Rushdi Abu Alouf but I question whether he can be totally unbiased and intellectually distanced from his background as a Palestinian Arab living in the Gaza Strip.

    Unless the BBC produces live telecast "interviews" of an Israeli BBC-employed "interviewee" spoken to live on the battle lines and being given equal weight to their views and opinions by the BBC (as we see with the "interviews" of Rushdi Abu Alouf), I am sorry to say I see evidence of BBC bias.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have to say that the BBC has been far from impartial, Skynews has delivered a much more balanced view, showing scenes of carnage from both sides of the divide, not just screaming Palestinian children and propaganda Doctor.

    The Media is a tool of terrorism these days as much as bullets and bombs, the BBC is always their to support the terrorist agenda whenever it serves their purpose.

  • Comment number 16.

    To _Marko

    You work for the BBC, why haven’t you stated this?

    As a BBC employee, how would you convince someone that you are not lobbying on the behalf of BBC, and the Palestinians?

    You have spent all of your time questioning those that side with the Israelis on the Editors Blogs, why have you not questioned those that side with Palestinians with the same gusto?

    You have not added anything of substance to any of debates, how would you convince someone that you are not an internet troll, or, trying to get a promotion at the BBC?

    What is your method of analysis in determining the BBC is not anti-Israeli?

    To the moderators, I have not broken any of the house rules; please allow this post to stand, so that Marko can reply.

    Ps I have advised Marko in the past to write “BBC” in brackets at the end of his name, so it makes it apparent that he is staff.


    Kind regards

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  • Comment number 19.

    Some people still complain of bias from the BBC. Well OK, to be accurate it is impossible to be totally without bias.

    But we have not - this time - had an organised propaganda campaign on behalf of the palestinians. Credit should be given for the effort here.

    I'd now like to see more balanced footage from the hospitals (I'm sure there are some young adult men with beards and hamas uniforms in the hospital, not just children) or alternatively a clear warning that this is propaganda footage supplied by hamas.

    This is war, a bad thing for both sides, and I will be pleased when it stops.

  • Comment number 20.

    BBC coverage is not perfect, but they are making much more of an effort than, say, Sky News, who are just recycling IDF videos without any real context.

    Although I still think the BBC are not balancing the amount of coverage to reflect the huge imbalance in civilian casualties between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, but as you point out access is an issue.

  • Comment number 21.

    9. At 1:13pm on 06 Jan 2009, _marko wrote:

    To dhimmi #6

    How would you minimize propaganda by both sides?
    ================

    I would say that the reporters need clear instructions -

    * this has two sides, report both

    * don't pretend the side you personally identify with is 'right' and the other is 'wrong'

    * if you can't eliminate propaganda then have equal amounts of each sides propaganda


    Neither of these combatants are angels.

  • Comment number 22.

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  • Comment number 23.

    I wonder if anyone has remarked on the sinister similarities between what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians in Gaza and what the Nazis did to the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War 2?

  • Comment number 24.

    BBC Editor's Blog - Reporting From Gaza
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2009/01/reporting_from_gaza.html

    "The Israelis have not let any journalists in since the fighting started, despite a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court that they should do so."

    When the Russian's invoked similar press restrictions during the Chechnya conflict, the BBC had this to say.

    "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

    You will note that when Russian forces are involved, the BBC feels able to suggest they will act with brutality. The BBC would not dare make the same suggestion about Israeli forces and certainly not US or British forces. It has nothing to do with the actual level of brutality of any particular military of course, but rather it is a case of who is an ally and who isn't. A very sad state of affairs.


    "The aerial bombardment on Gaza has been easily visible, both on the Israeli and Egyptian border."

    Indeed it has. The BBC has had many pictures showing the unmistakable use of the controversial weapon White Phosphorus on Gaza. Why then has this not been mentioned in any of the BBC's Gaza conflict articles? I have written to several BBC journalists on the issue but have received no reply. Does the BBC not have military consultants who look at the pictures it is putting up on its own News website? Other press outlets are now finally talking about WP use, so why not the BBC?

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  • Comment number 27.

    To Sick_of_the_PC #17

    "why haven?t you stated this?"

    It's because I haven't got any influence over editorial issues. I work in a technical capacity when computer systems go wrong.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/04/digital_democracy_a_response_t_1.html

    I'm interested in impartial, reasoned debate and bias. I have criticised and praised parts of the bbc. It doesn't make sense to treat it as one monolithic organisation that is either all right or all wrong.

    I have asked lots of impartial questions like the one above:
    "How would you minimize propaganda by both sides?"
    My method of analysis is asking questions "with gusto". There's no compulsion to answer the questions (it would be interesting to know which you find unreasonable).

    My main motivation is to find out about things and to stimulate debate as this conflict has gone on for so ridiculously long. More deaths today etc..The main motivation of trolls is just to annoy people etc. Please review all my comments and make a judgement.

    How will posting comments on a blog get me a promotion? (partitculary in a technical capacity) There are many more people out there making more astute comments.

    Having full names for each poster contributing to the blog is not a level of transparency that most people are comfortable with. What is it that makes people unable to assess and analyse the comments at face value, without knowing full details of each poster?

    If these posts were originated by Tony Blair, would they have more credibility?

    The blogs are popular enough globally to make the discussions particularly interesting ,entertaining and probably useful.

  • Comment number 28.

    Alex C

    Agree totally re dialogue it's worked in the past-new leaders on both sides now so we are seeing 'attack first, answer criticism later'. Surely this makes them as bad as each other?

    On this occasion the reporting needs to be very carefully handled. Israel needs to let the world see the truth and vice versa.All propoganda clearly marked. BBC are good at that-remember John Simpson, Kate Adie and their disclaimers?

    The tensions between the Palestinians and Israelis run so deep, and are so old, it needs exceptional leadership on both sides to stop all this. Unfortunately, whilst many wish this to stop, many others do not. If all international arms support were removed from both, perhaps they would settle down?

    Terrorism of all kinds needs to stop, but this would need a massive shift of thinking in many countries. Unfortunately, while Megolomaniacs and bullies are allowed to maintain positions of supreme power, change of the kind needed is highly unlikely.

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  • Comment number 31.

    I would like to protest against the BBC's coverage of the crisis in the Gaza. The BBC has lost all credibility as an objective news agency. The war being carried out against the Palistinians is a international war crime. The claim by the Israeli goverment that this ethnic cleansing is justified is nothing but a cynical lie. The BBC's reporting says nothing about the broken agreements and provocations carried out by the Israeli right-wing regime. By not doing so the BBC is providing this horrendous massacre with some kind of cover.

  • Comment number 32.

    You have two Palestinian producers from Gaza supposedly producing impartial coverage of the conflict there. The probability of bias, conscious, or unconscious, should ring alarm bells. Why hasn't it?

    Even if they manage to be impartial the risk to them and their families if the terrorist group running Gaza, which has a habit of murdering opponents, doesn't like your coverage is too great.

    23: 'I wonder if anyone has remarked on the sinister similarities between what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians in Gaza and what the Nazis did to the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War 2?'

    I doubt anyone is that historically illiterate or stupid.

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  • Comment number 35.

    the first casualty of war is any partial or proper news coverage in the affected regions.
    i.e. the truth

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  • Comment number 37.

    I get the impression that the BBC is doing a better job in this conflict at being impartial between the Palestinians and Israelis when they are reporting facts or relaying third-party reports.

    Despite this the taint of bias still will not be lifted until the Balen Report is published.

    For the reporters in Gaza it must be pretty scary and the tragedy around them must hard to bear.

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  • Comment number 40.

    Every day we now see the news from Gaza.

    The BBC reports on the Palestinian children being killed and injured and also reports that the people of Gaza have no money to spend on food, water, power or medical supplies.

    Maybe they would have had money for these these essentials if they had not spent it all on rockets to fire into Israel. Rockets fired completely indiscriminately into Israeli civilian areas for many years.

    I wonder how much reporting time the BBC has spent reporting this in the past.

    Israel negotiated a ceasefire but Hamas just used the opportunity to smuggle more rockets and other arms into Gaza



  • Comment number 41.

    There has been much to criticise in the coverage of Gaza in all mainstream Western media, including alas the BBC. As critics have pointed out, the images we receive on Sky and BBC channels are highly sanitised (partly, it has to be said, because Israel has designated the territory a 'closed-military area' and blocked access to journalists, so that most images are supplied by Israel itself). Al Jazeera's coverage has been a much more honest portrayal of the horrors suffered by civilians during this war. However, this is not the only criticism to be made. The BBC has failed, I believe, to adequately brief its interviewers on the basic historical and legal facts underlying the current conflict, namely the dispossession of the Palestinians as a result of the creation of Israel in 1948 and the occupation of the Palestinian Territories from 1967 to this day. Although Israeli spokespeople do not allude to these facts (for obvious reasons), Palestinian interviewees frequently do. However, the BBC rarely picks up on these comments, and never addresses these issues directly to their Israeli interviewees, despite the fact that they are fundamental to what is happening in Gaza now. 97.5% of UN member states vote every year against Israel's continuing occupation. The International Court of Justice has ruled it illegal. Issues central to Palestinians' sense of injustice such as the plight of its 4 million refugees remain clear and uncontroversial in international law. However, the BBC does not refer to these issues when talking to Israeli spokespeople. I believe this is evidence of bias in favour of the Israeli narrative. This bias was demonstrated during an interview on the World Tonight last night with a spokesperson for Hamas, Dr Youssef Ahmed. It concerned the interpretation of 'occupation': the spokesperson said that the moment Israel ended the occupation (in accordance with law) his organisation would cease firing rockets. Ritula Shah mistook this reference to 'occupation' as being the occupation of Gaza, which Israel argues it ended in 2005. Her mistake reveals that, to the BBC, the fundamental issue of the 40 year long, continuing occupation of Palestinian land was a non-issue, forgettable to a World Tonight interviewer, and of little relevance to the current crisis. This is in fact the view of Israel (and the US); however, it is a minority view- 97.5% of UN member states agree that the occupation is illegal and of paramount concern. I would ask that the BBC more fully brief its media team on the basic historical and legal facts of the conflict, and accurately portray to viewers and listeners what are minority points of view and what are majority.

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  • Comment number 57.

    I totally agree with Arne_Norway's observations. Does Mr. Gilbert at the Shifa hospital happen to know of the atrocities carried out by Hamas militants in civilian clothes at the very hospital where he is working, acts that amount to point-blank shooting of defenseless patients lying on stretchers? In that case, why is it that Mr. Gilbert has so far abstained from reporing it?

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  • Comment number 60.

    @43 arne_norway

    If he has evidence of gas air bombs or depleted uranium being used, he has a duty to let us know, the media being the best way to do it.

    The point is that Israel has put a blanket of secrecy on their foul work; the truth will out eventually.

    The sooner the truth comes out, the sooner the world will be able to put a stop to Israel's atrocities, and the more lives will be saved.

    Doctors save lives, and I salute Dr Gilbert both for his medical work and his reporting of crime.

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  • Comment number 77.



    It is my belief that the BBC did the British public and the Iraqis a great dis-service by not investigating and questioning the 'facts' that Tony Blair used to in order to justify our illegal invasion of Iraq.

    Exactly the same thing is happening again now over the Israeli attack on Gaza. When the slick and well coached Israeli spokespeople are questioned on the BBC, the interviews are totally worthless, either because the interviewers don't know enough about the situation or they have been told to go easy for fear of upsetting the powerful Israeli lobby. All they seem to be able to do in an attempt to show how the fighting could be prevented is suggest to Hamas spokesmen that Israelis would stop their violence if Hamas stopped firing rockets. Anyone who knows the history of the Israelis knows that this is nonsense. Why don't they ever say to Israeli spokespeople that if they negotiate genuinely with the Palestinians based upon the 1967 borders, the Hamas rockets would stop tomorrow?

    What is the difference between the Nazis or Saddam Hussein taking retribution on whole communities in retaliation for the actions of resistance fighters and what the Israelis are doing now? Please don't say that one is intentional killing of innocents and one is accidental. We should judge the Israelis not on what they say but on what they do and they lie when they say that they have no intention of killing innocent people. This was made abundantly obvious by the Israeli ambassador on News Night when being pressed by Jeremy Paxman to answer how killing innocent women and children will stop Hamas, he eventually said that they, Israel, are extracting a high price for Hamas' rockets. in other words what they are doing now is nothing less than mass punishment of Gazans.

    Only once on the BBC have I seen any of the intellectual Jews, or others who are articulate and know the full background and who detest the Israelis appalling treatment of the Palestinians, given any time to condemn the actions. Instead, we repeatedly get the discredited George Bush and his cohorts telling us how much Hamas is to blame.

    After trying for a long time to understand the background I have come to the firm conclusion that the main cause of the continued dispute is 'Zionism'. In simple terms, the belief by some Jews and some Christians that Jews have a God-given right to all of Palestine, hence their reluctance to negotiate peacefully for fear of having to give back the Palestinian land they have occupied.

    It is virtually taboo to mention Zionism in the mainstream media because those who raise it are often called racist or anti-semitic by others who are ignorant of its aims and background, but it is this doctrine, abhorrent even to many Jews, that is the greatest threat to all of us and particularly to moderate Jews in Israel.

    The following may go some way to explain the Zionists' ambitions and their attitude to anyone who stands in their way.

    The 'Palestine Post' dated 15th July 1937 published an article by David Ben Gurion, a committed Zionist and one of the founders of modern Israel, in which he said:-

    "The Jewish people have always regarded, and will continue to regard Palestine as a whole, as a single country which is theirs in a national sense and will become theirs again. No Jew will accept partition as a just and rightful solution".

    Jewish professor Israel Shahak, a survivor of Belsen and a strong critic of Zionism, wrote a book, entitled "Jewish History, Jewish Religion" in which he mentions the following advice to Israeli soldiers by the then Israeli army chief chaplain, Colonel Rabbi Avidan:-

    "When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed. In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good."

    To further illustrate the point, here is another selection from Professor Shahak's book which will surprise many:-

    "Zionist leaders in Germany welcomed Hitler's rise to power, because they shared his belief in the primacy of 'race' and his hostility to the assimilation of Jews among 'Aryans'. They congratulated Hitler on his triumph over the common enemy – the forces of liberalism".

    As can be seen from the above, some Zionists operate on a totally different moral code to the rest of us, one which holds them to be part of a superior race which allows them to mistreat others. However, this latitude is intentionally hidden by the powerful propaganda machine in Israel and the USA, which alone has a 54 million dollar annual budget. If Israel genuinely wanted peace on equitable terms, they could have it tomorrow by agreeing to negotiations based upon the 1967 borders - as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin tried to do before he was murdered by a right-wing extremist, or indeed Arafat and Ehud Barak nearly did at Taba before hard-liner Sharon won the election and sabotaged the peace initiative.

    To resolve the Palestinian situation, you have to examine the root cause and not get hung up on the desperate interim reactions of people like Hamas. Not to examine the basic cause is like refusing to examine the 'black box' after an aircraft has crashed.

    Only Israel can solve the Middle East problem, but not by Zionism which, as can be seen from current actions, and hundreds of contributions to the Israeli press web sites promotes bombing their neighbours into oblivion.

    I can see some of what I have said previously could equally be aimed at Islam. However, the extremely important difference is that the Zionist's plan - with the help of the USA and their massive world wide lobby - has been put into action already.

    No matter what you hear from Israeli spokespeople about supposed threats to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth, Hamas have actually agreed to a two-state solution through proper negotiation. This is an incredible concession by Hamas, because even many orthodox Jews don't believe that they have any right to the holy land until 'God' returns, it is only Zionists who insist upon it. Hamas has called the bluff of the Zionists but when Zionists consider the implications of a fully independent Palestinian state - independent army, water rights etc., they recoil from making any agreement.

    The ideal answer would be a single state where Arabs and Jews could live and participate together, after all they do it in other parts of the world, but there again, the fly in the ointment is Zionism which wants the whole of Palestine for itself. The implication of this is frightening - i.e. the Zionists will accept neither a one-state, nor a two-state solution, they would rather have continuous warfare, hoping that eventually they would drive out the Palestinians - this is exactly what is happening now!

    If Muslims eventually get their act together and become as powerful as the Zionists the consequences for the world will be catastrophic, this is why it is vital that we head off this possibility urgently, by recognising the Zionist threat and isolating it so that the Israeli/Palestinian problem can be sorted out once and for all.

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  • Comment number 82.

    You should go to the Hospitals in Israel and see how many beds are taken up by Arabs.

  • Comment number 83.

    Why don't you let a Jew report the news.

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  • Comment number 85.






    The matter of the BBC and the other News Stations facing reporting restrictions, should not be used as an excuse for not expressing the sense of outrage felt by all intelligent civilised persons regarding the suffering being inflicted on the citizens of Gaza by the Israeli Army.

    Perhaps our academics and university leaders should start speaking out, and the media might use their voices to exert pressure on the Israeli's.
    The situation facing the people of Gaza today is not unlike the situation the Nazis imposed on the Jews and others in Germany at the start of WW11, and that led to a holocaust.




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  • Comment number 87.

    # 49. At 6:04pm on 06 Jan 2009, alexandercurzon wrote:

    thefirstralf post 47


    So as you are so well informed?


    WHEN DID YOU LAST GO TO GAZA???


    Or are you an ARMCHAIR??
    _________________

    I doubt you have ever visited the region yourself, and if you have, I highly doubt you were allowed (or even could) move freely without having a Hamas security apparatus following you around and telling you where and where not to go, and what you can and cannot report. I know this may be true of certain areas in the occupied territories in well with respect to foreign (And even local) journalist and Israeli forces, but that is not the point.

    The point is that journalist try to get sensational photos and reports, and place themselves in danger (rightly or wrongly) in order to get the best shot. Governments want to avoid that, either because (1) they have something to hide, or (2) because the journalists will get killed and there will be an intensified outcry and bias against whichever side was responsible for the killing.

    The point is, however, that accurate reports are impossible from war zones, and that the only thing that can be accomplished is to provide some 'glimpse' and 'specter' of drama within the region (as if we don't have enough of that in the middle east).

    And Mr. Curzon, I was indeed once in Gaza, although that was in 2003. Throughout the drive the driver (an inhabitant) mandated that we duck, and our car was constantly rained down upon by rocks. Once inside gaza, rockets could be heard launching, and one landed about 100m from where I was staying; not to mention the constant exchanges of fire between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces.

    Mind you, this was 2003, there was no "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza, and of course there was no need to report these events as they were normal.

    The problem is that you people in the west cannot fathom what it means to be under constant fire. You'd probably be outraged if the neighboring kids accidentally kicked a football through your window. Perspective is very important here, and one must be aware to the daily environment on both sides.

    Discounting the dramatic reports of "dead children" (as if children cannot be combatants - and as if there have not been child suicide bombers in the past) reporting has been generally balanced.

    What is clearly not balanced is this:

    (1) the biographical or narrative sketched that the BBC does. The BBC always seems to select Israelis that are American or European born (and who generally tend to be more extreme in their views) while it usually finds moderate palestinians for their story (I see this as a blatant attempt to portray Hamas as indigenous and industrial people and the Israelis as fringe european radicals - and while there may be both in existence, the proportion is certainly not the case. Furthermore, we hear less from Israelis than we do from Palestinians on these sketched (just look at the donkey tour). This makes the Palestinian territories into some kind of open reality show, and Israel as some kind of evil, conspiring covert entity, neither of which, are the case of course.

    Of course in fact-for-fact reporting, the BBC attempts not to LIE, but style, emphasis, and the choice of which words to place as headlines are more important than the actual facts reported. People (assuming they are neutral) only remember those things that are oft-repeated in the news, and have a stylistically prominent position.

    I hope this will be published.

  • Comment number 88.

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

  • Comment number 89.

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

  • Comment number 90.

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

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

    Perhaps somewhere in the back of the biased twisted anti Semitic, anti American minds that run BBC is a distant memory of being told by their parents and grandparents how they were bombed by German rockets during WWII and how terrified they were. Britain was not going to fall merely because of the rockets alone but they were terrified and they wore the scars of the experience for the rest of their lives. They made no apologies for the RAF bombing of German cities including the fire bombing of Dresden, one of the worst atrocities against civilians of all time including the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. They felt it was well deserved and not only that, but killing Germans meant fewer of their own would die by the time the war was over. Perhaps that is why the normally one sided BBC shows just a glimmer of support for Israelis who have suffered the same fate and proportionally in terms of their numbers even greater losses to being bombed by rockets and suicide bombers. It isn't because they actually see justice in what is happening now. I on the other hand wonder why the Israelis waited so long. It is long overdo.

  • Comment number 93.

    After reading all the comments on the blog, it seems clear that the BBC is being attacked from some sides for being Terrorist sympathisers, and from others for collaberating in an Israli cover-up.

    Thats as good an indication as any that your reporting so far has been fairly measured and, as a whole, relatively impartial.

  • Comment number 94.

    Why don't you, white BBC reporters go to Hamas to get press credentials and report from Hamas' side? I am sure Hamas appreciate BBC's high standards in unbiased reporting and let you do your 'thing'. Do not depend on the Yahudis to help earn your meal ticket- just "Go Hamas!" to be famous. And Allah will protect you. Do not let the Johnston experience scare you, after all Hamas will be there to protect from hatm.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • Comment number 96.

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

  • Comment number 97.

    I wish that the BBC will carry the thinking of Oxford professor of International Relations Mr. Avi Shlaim who served in the mid 60's in the Israeli army and has never question the State of Israel.
    He thinks that the letter of Sir John Troutbeck to the foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin should be reconsidered in view of what is going on in Gaza.
    Sir Troutbeck wrote "the Americans are responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by unscrupulous set of leaders"

  • Comment number 98.

    James:

    [The BBC is lucky to have two outstanding producers in our Gaza office, Rushdi Abu Alouf and Hamada Abuqammar. ]

    It's very lucky and glad that the BBC has 2 excellent producers able to cover the story...

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 99.

    James:
    [The Israeli military declared a closed military zone around Gaza a couple of days into the conflict and tried to push the broadcasters' satellite trucks back from their vantage points overlooking the Strip. A game of cat and mouse followed and we have been able to keep going with a view over the border.]

    The reason is because the military zone is because they don't want the international media being able to do any reporting on the story.....

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 100.

    I read above that Israel of Gaza :
    ..... tried turning over sovereignty. They've tried negotiating with Fatah. They've tried cease-fires with Hamas (during which the rocket fire diminished but never ended).

    This are all halves truth, in a cease fire you do not kill militants of the opposition, Israel kept on killing Hamas member, after Oslo, what did the Palestinian got.... the answer is NOTHING, more killing.

    Israel, I can see it know clearly, is a RELIGION STATE, that see Palestine as their GOD given land.

    Yeah, next I will go to confess with a priest, it makes me sick just to think that in 2009 we have people has such diminished view of themselves.
    "They are nothing without their God" But lets see is a God that allows killing, and murdering all age of people, like the Nazi did, what is the difference?

 

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