BBC: “Terrible About Poor Palestinians! Their own fault though. Funerals are done – let’s bury the story too. Ooh! Royal Wedding!”
Soldiers of US and British close ally Israel committed a massacre of 61 Palestinian protesters in Gaza on Monday, wounding up to 2,700. So just how did the BBC manage to wrap up and bury this embarrassing-for-Israel major international news story by Tuesday Night?
1) 1, 2, 3 Gone!
With published academic studies having shown BBC bias in favour of Israel (1) for decades, it was initially pleasing to see the UK’s biggest news provider present what seemed a rare case of criticism of the Israeli army on Monday as the lead story on its news homepage, for their killing of 61 Palestinian protesters in Gaza, by featuring a photo of a crowd of unarmed civilians fleeing an intense Israeli drone-fired gas attack.
This powerful photo that BBC staff chose was certainly riding the tide of the spontaneous public anger against the Israeli army’s brutality towards the protesters, based on social media research.
But even that ‘most critical’ article of theirs at the height of intensity of the mass killing and wounding by Israeli snipers and drone controllers was carefully tempered with words including “Dozens Die” and “in clashes”: not unintentional misleading language that suggests that Palestinians and Israelis had been ‘killing each other’ or perhaps ‘died accidentally’ in some kind of ‘equal fight’.
“Israeli Snipers Kill 60 Unarmed Palestinians” was simply way outside the BBC comfort zone.
On Tuesday morning the news top-spot had morphed into a second very different piece: a photo of a smoke-blackened ‘threatening’ Palestinian protester with a slingshot swung the pendulum over to the Israeli ‘defensive’ argument for the mass killings.
Then later on Tuesday afternoon, apparently to tie it all up neatly and put the whole massacre in the past quickly, in as sombre and respectful a way as possible, the third and final BBC news homepage piece on the massacre showed Palestinian mothers grieving, and included in the sub-heading – a major rarity this – the very clear and direct words “… after Israeli troops kill 58 people and injure thousands …”.
This had moved down to 2nd/3rd position, signalling to habituated news-followers that the event was losing importance and on the way out.
After 36 hours, early hours Wednesday morning, the events and consequences of Monday’s mass-murder (let alone the events of the last 6 weeks) had been wiped completely from the BBC news homepage. “Lose Interest Now, That News Story Is Finished With” – was the message we were being given.
The massacre of Palestinians was superceded by other ‘more pressing’ world news events on the news homepage, including: 2 reports related to Meghan Merkle’s background; a story on Anne Frank’s diary; and one on a valuable diamond sold at auction. More important and pressing?
2) Forget Facts of Blood and Bone, Let’s talk Legalese
Now, Wednesday morning, less than 2 days after Monday’s massacre finished, if you want to read anything of the bloody events and the consequences on the BBC news website, you need to go off the main page to World News, then click on the Middle East section, where among many other pieces on various international topics, the ‘wisdom of hindsight’ has trashed the 3 articles described above, and laid out a new framing of what happened under the title:
“Did Israel use excessive force at Gaza protests?” mmm, toughie.
(5) The article goes on to engage in a kind of parlour game of legalish suppositions, both for and against the question posed, with human rights groups and Israeli government lawyers explaining their views on the il/legality.
It might well seem a balanced question and a reasonable matter for consideration to ponder equitably, if your head is inserted deeply enough inside your own rectum, that is, that you can’t see what’s in front of you; or rather, if all of one’s basic common human logic, and compassion, has been lost to the ruling groupthink.
For a start, none of the Palestinian protesters used or were even photographed with any kind of military equipment whatsoever; only homemade slingshots for throwing stones, burning tyres, and molotovs.
Secondly, being at distances of up to 300 metres while being shot at and gassed, and well below the height of the soldiers, meant that none of those homemade weapons are reported to have Even Reached the Israeli lines! (including from Israeli sources, that I was able to find). Let alone to have harmed any Israeli soldiers there.
The Israeli snipers, on the other hand, were dug-in, in a raised position overlooking the protesters, and used powerful highly accurate over a long-distance cutting-edge weapons with live ammunition of a type designed to cause as much internal damage as possible.
Doctors Without Borders: “The exit wounds are fist-size. Bone is pulverized into dust … The severity of the injuries demonstrates that Israeli forces are resorting to disproportionate force to incapacitate the protesters. The result is unnecessary damage and suffering.” (6)
Ex Israeli military sniper Nadav Weiman, now working with NGO ‘Breaking the Silence’: “We see IDF snipers shooting at unarmed Palestinians when they are 300m away from the fence … this is a red line that I personally thought we were never going to cross.” (7)
Besides the snipers, the gas that was rocketed down by drones was of such a powerful type that many were hospitalised from it, with at least one, a baby girl, allegedly killed from it. The gas projectiles themselves have also caused horrific wounds.
A summary of the human consequences:
– Not a single person killed or wounded.
– 61 were killed on Monday alone.
– 2,700 Palestinians wounded on Monday as Israeli snipers fired into the crowds to suppress the demonstrations.
– At least 250 children – some as young as eight years old – were shot with live ammunition by Israeli troops.
– One eight-month-old baby girl was reportedly killed after suffocating on tear gas fired by Israeli forces.
– Five children aged under-16 were among the dead on Monday, with more than 1,000 children injured since ‘return’ protests began in Gaza, just over six weeks ago.
– At least 9 journalists wounded by live fire on Monday alone
– At least 20 journalists wounded since protests began on March 30th.
– 2 journalists killed from their injuries since March 30th.
Yet despite the shocking statistics, the ‘neutral’ BBC, according to themselves that’s what they are at least, wants us to ignore the bloody facts – which they never had much of anyway but even what they did has been removed – and instead look back at this ferreted-away massacre via a neatly ‘balanced’ almost hypothetical legal question, on a separate plane entirely from the horrific reality which BBC spindoctors know Israel would be seriously shamed over.
Drawing a line in the middle between mass-murderers’ lawyers and human rights activists is not ‘balance’ but distortion, and cannot present a realistic view of events – exactly what the BBC has been aiming for.
3) Why did the BBC rush to bury the mass-murder of Palestinians and flush it down the memory hole as ‘a minor incident’, unworthy of the atttention that other major international events involving large loss of life receive?
Why are we not permitted by the simple use of our publicly-funded media to connect with and grieve with Palestinians in Gaza? To understand their stories from their mouths directly? To hear about the loved ones who died, their hopes and fears?Not a technological barrier, is it?
Flashback to June 2014, Compare and Contrast:
International media was filled for the whole month of June 2014 with strong emotions over the plight of 3 kidnapped Israeli teenagers. Their names and photos filled news space; we all hoped that Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, whose photos we saw regularly, would be found alive.
Condemnation for the kidnapping and calls for retribution expressed publicly by Israeli officials were to play a major role in the development of a head of steam and a ‘moral high ground’ basis for the ‘defensive massacre’ of over 2,000 citizens of Gaza including 500 children that started a month after their disappearance.
This is referred to as “the 2014 Israel-Palestine war” by the BBC and others, who also use the official name chosen by the always creative Israeli propaganda services: “Operation Protective Edge”. (The Israeli army is, of course, helpfully named a ‘defence’ force, despite them, for example, illegally taking by force and occupying Palestinian, Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian and Jordanian lands).
Eventually, sadly the Israeli teens’ bodies were discovered. This followed a massive manhunt that involved at least 10 Palestinians being killed in the process and many hundreds arrested by Israeli forces, with one boy burnt alive by some angry vengeful Israeli citizens.
When the joint funeral of the 3 kidnapped then murdered Israeli teens took place, it was presented, by the BBC particularly, as a major event of huge importance, with the BBC’s man at the scene giving a special extended report live from the funerals. The overriding message was unavoidable: “Israeli grief is our grief”.
This would be such a noble and admirable indication of compassion and humanity in the BBC and others in the Western mainstream, if it were real compassion and if it were applied in the least bit equally – among all nations, religions, races …
For Palestinians … it just doesn’t apply at all, except by dint of having to keep up appearances.
Back in 2014 the BBC had studiously failed to inform the public over previous years of the 1,500 Palestinian children killed since 2000 at that point, (now far higher), one Palestinian child killed every three days. (11)
It had also failed to make the British public aware of shocking cases including this one: Israel’s response to the shooting of a child by an Israeli sniper being caught on CCTV? … to dismantle the camera. (12)
The month long prominence given to the missing boys story, ensuing manhunt and gruesome triple-murder discovery gave a ‘solid moral basis’ in propaganda terms for Israel’s full-scale bombing and ground invasion to get underway.
As the massacre of hundreds then turning to thousands of Palestinian children, women and men intensified, news of it strangely slipped further and further off the BBC radar, with even football sometimes replacing it in importance.
A MediaLens report from that time is an excellent source for details of BBC bias, including:
“Remarkably, on the morning of July 23, when 18 Palestinians were killed, the BBC set up a live feed for the wrecked Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia, which showed the ship being towed to Genoa. There was no live feed for Gaza.
The BBC has supplied names, ages, pictures and emotive background stories of the Malaysian air crash victims while, with rare exceptions, Palestinian dead have been presented as nameless figures, briefly mentioned, then forgotten.” (13)
And Here We Are Once Again in exactly the same scenario in May 2018 witnessing massacres of Palestinians by Israel. Those massacres are once again being covered up by the BBC.
On Monday 61 Palestinian protesters are shot dead by Israeli snipers.
By Tuesday night the BBC had Shut the story Down.
It was a 3-step switch-off; starting with some apparent sympathy for the murdered Palestinians and anger towards Israel, then twisting it right round, and finally burying it entirely on Tuesday night, along with the funerals of many of those killed; leaving us with just that ridiculous supposition to ponder – “Did Israel use excessive force at Gaza protests?” – painted as highbrow analysis of a moral/legal dilemma, 3 clicks away from their news homepage, and a million miles away from the painful horrific truth.
– Why has the international anger about Monday’s massacre Not been adequately reported and flagged up as a continuous ongoing major news story by the BBC? A single cover-all article added late on Tuesday does offer some information on International responses (13b), but this should have been one major continuous story with updates.
The mismatch with the attention afforded to Israeli matters is astounding; and there’s far better coverage elsewhere, here, for example (14).
– Where’s the ongoing coverage of the UN Human Rights Council responses?
“They are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanised by the Israeli authorities,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein stated.
The UN human rights watchdog called a special session on Friday in the wake of “appalling” events in Gaza. Some 87 Palestinians, including 12 children, were killed by Israeli security forces since March 30″ (15a)
” lethal force may only be used as a measure of last ‘not first’ resort, and only when there is an immediate threat to life or serious injury. An attempt to approach or crossing or damaging the fence do not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition … It is difficult to see how tyre-burning or stone-throwing, or even Molotov-cocktails thrown from a significant distance at heavily protected security forces in defensive positions, can be seen to constitute such threat,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville. (15b)
– And what about Nikki Haley: the US ambassador to the UN – she was so furious about what happened she walked out of a meeting. Sorry! Got that wrong. She approved fully of the massacre; even said Israeli forces had “acted with restraint”. Yes 60 dead and 2,700 injured = ‘restraint’ for the US ambassador to the UN. Presumably she walked out because she didn’t want the Palestinian envoy to speak the shameful truth of the massacre in her presence. Haley’s a pro at such walk-outs. Couldn’t get through a week without one. (16)
– And where’s the BBC’s deeply concerned coverage of the many journalists that Israeli soldiers killed and wounded in Gaza both on Monday and over recent weeks? In Paris a couple of years ago, Netanyahu and others grabbed the limelight in a staged photoshoot over their ‘commitment to freedom of speech’ after the Hebdo massacre. 12 people died and 11 were injured there, and it drew huge international attention for weeks. If only those 61 killed and 2,700 injured Palestinians had been satirical cartoonists, eh? (17)
Why hasn’t the BBC informed the public of this? “Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Tuesday formally asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate what it regards as war crimes by Israeli armed forces) against Palestinian journalists covering protests in Gaza since 30 March, 2018.”
Are no journalists in the BBC or rest of the mainstream going to pick up on that gaping hypocrisy of Netanyhahu ‘championing free speech’, now that it’s clear that not only are journalists in Gaza targeted and taken out by Israeli forces, but the very reporting of them being taken out is targeted and taken out?
– And why, with so much coverage of Jewish issues in the media when it smears the government’s enemies, has there been zero coverage of the backlash among British Jews speaking out against Jewish representatives, like the Board of Deputies who have tried to sanctify the Israeli army’s massacring of the Palestinians? (19)
All these and other ongoing unresolved matters linked to Monday’s massacre, besides simple respect for those killed, should have kept the story at the top spot for a number of days but it’s not even on the news homepage! Currently, Thursday midday, these are all deemed more ‘newsworthy’: an exploding vape pen; a robot graduation; a viral sound clip … and of course the royal wedding in number one position and various others.
There can only be one explanation for this scenario consistently re-occurring:
BBC analysts know perfectly well that if a major story is repeated again and again over a number of days it becomes regarded as A REALLY BIG AND REALLY IMPORTANT EVENT in our minds, and goes into our long-term memory, with a lasting impact on our opinions. Far far less so, or not at all, if it’s a quick flash in the pan.
Also, the burying of Monday’s massacre by Tuesday night by the BBC, as well as many years of similar bias, could hardly be clearer confirmation that ‘aunty’ serves the interests of the Israeli establishment, as well as the British and American.
If something challenges that established power, it’s either trashed or just not news, not for long anyway.
If on the other hand either a real news event or a manufactured one Does serve establishment purposes – Corbyn the commie / terrorist / anti-semite, say – it can be artificially kept up in the number one spot for days and days on end, getting burned deeply into our memory banks. So many headlines saying the same thing so many times approaches ‘truth’, influencing our judgement over things like elections, over support / opposition for major actions like wars and big policy changes. And once implanted into our long-term memories these views of events are conveniently referred back to as ‘evidence’ and ‘established fact’ whenever that suits.
News-consumers having long-term awareness of the Israeli army being mass-murderers of unarmed protesters was clearly something that was seen as important to shut down and bury.
In 2014 when the Israeli military were bombing Palestinian families to pieces in Gaza with the most hi-tech weaponry on earth, the BBC chose to focus on Hamas’ largely homemade rockets (24) and prioritised other news above those Palestinians being massacred. This led to spontaneous demonstrations outside various BBC studios, including London, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol, to demand an end to the gross bias. (25)
The protests seemed to be embarrassing for the BBC and some change was noted in its output temporarily, but they will never really change by choice. But only adjust the manner of lying.
We must burn into our memory-banks forever the BBC’s callous and manipulative intentional burying of this massacre within 36 hours, as part of its right-wing establishment-serving role.
Finally, since the BBC clearly has no intention or interest in doing so, below is a list with names and about half of the photos of those Palestinian protesters who died on Monday. Some were so hopeless and desperate for the dream of a better life for themselves and their families than the one they knew living under siege in a giant prison camp, with the world looking the other way, that they burnt tyres, and threw stones at soldiers armed with high-powered weapons. RIP
Full list of Monday’s victims:
1. Laila Anwar Al-Ghandoor, 8 months old
2. Ezz el-din Musa Mohamed Alsamaak, 14 years old
3. Wisaal Fadl Ezzat Alsheikh Khalil, 15 years old
4. Ahmed Adel Musa Alshaer, 16 years old
5. Saeed Mohamed Abu Alkheir, 16 years old
6. Ibrahim Ahmed Alzarqa, 18 years old
7. Eman Ali Sadiq Alsheikh, 19 years old
8. Zayid Mohamed Hasan Omar, 19 years old
9. Motassem Fawzy Abu Louley, 20 years old
10. Anas Hamdan Salim Qadeeh, 21 years old
11. Mohamed Abd Alsalam Harz, 21 years old
12. Yehia Ismail Rajab Aldaqoor, 22 years old
13. Mustafa Mohamed Samir Mahmoud Almasry, 22 years old
14. Ezz Eldeen Nahid Aloyutey, 23 years old
15. Mahmoud Mustafa Ahmed Assaf, 23 years old
16. Ahmed Fayez Harb Shahadah, 23 years old
17. Ahmed Awad Allah, 24 years old
18. Khalil Ismail Khalil Mansor, 25 years old
19. Mohamed Ashraf Abu Sitta, 26 years old
20. Bilal Ahmed Abu Diqah, 26 years old
21. Ahmed Majed Qaasim Ata Allah, 27 years old
22. Mahmoud Rabah Abu Maamar, 28 years old
23.Musab Yousef Abu Leilah, 28 years old
24. Ahmed Fawzy Altetr, 28 years old
25. Mohamed Abdelrahman Meqdad, 28 years old
26. Obaidah Salim Farhan, 30 years old
27. Jihad Mufid Al-Farra, 30 years old
28. Fadi Hassan Abu Salah, 30 years old
29. Motaz Bassam Kamil Al-Nunu, 31 years old
30. Mohammed Riyad Abdulrahman Alamudi, 31 years old
31. Jihad Mohammed Othman Mousa, 31 years old
32. Shahir Mahmoud Mohammed Almadhoon, 32 years old
33. Mousa Jabr Abdulsalam Abu Hasnayn, 35 years old
34. Mohammed Mahmoud Abdulmoti Abdal’al, 39 years old
35. Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim Hamdan, 27 years old
36. Ismail Khalil Ramadhan Aldaahuk, 30 years old
37. Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed Alrantisi, 27 years old
38. Alaa Alnoor Ahmed Alkhatib, 28 years old
39. Mahmoud Yahya Abdawahab Hussain, 24 years old
40. Ahmed Abdullah Aladini, 30 years old
41. Saadi Said Fahmi Abu Salah, 16 years old
42. Ahmed Zahir Hamid Alshawa, 24 years old
43. Mohammed Hani Hosni Alnajjar, 33 years old
44. Fadl Mohamed Ata Habshy, 34 years old
45. Mokhtar Kaamil Salim Abu Khamash, 23 years old
46. Mahmoud Wael Mahmoud Jundeyah, 21 years old
47. Abdulrahman Sami Abu Mattar, 18 years old
48. Ahmed Salim Alyaan Aljarf, 26 years old
49. Mahmoud Sulayman Ibrahim Aql, 32 years old
50. Mohamed Hasan Mustafa Alabadilah, 25 years old
51. Kamil Jihad Kamil Mihna, 19 years old
52. Mahmoud Saber Hamad Abu Taeemah, 23 years old
53. Ali Mohamed Ahmed Khafajah, 21 years old
54. Abdelsalam Yousef Abdelwahab, 39 years old
55. Mohamed Samir Duwedar, 27 years old
56. Talal Adel Ibrahim Mattar, 16 years old
57. Omar Jomaa Abu Ful, 30 years old
58. Nasser Ahmed Mahmoud Ghrab, 51 years old
59. Bilal Badeer Hussein Al-Ashram, 18 years old
60 – 62: Unidentified