Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

BBC’s Donnison Distorts Reasons for Limited Entry From Gaza to Israel

March 5, 2013 10:01 am 2 comments

Donnison's written report at the BBC. Photo: BBC Watch.

On February 21st 2013 the BBC published two versions of the same report by Jon Donnison about Hebrew being taught in schools in Gaza on the Middle East page of its BBC News website – one written and one filmed, with the latter also shown on BBC television news. As previously pointed out here, both reports also appeared on the BBC News website’s UK Education page.

Another version of the same story was also featured on Radio 4″²s ‘PM’ programme on February 26th – available here for a limited period of time from 41:38. In that version, at 43:37, one can hear a translator interpret the words of interviewee Nour Adwan as “If we meet an Israeli and they are speaking in Hebrew..”.  Sharp eared listeners will notice that the fifteen year-old actually says the word “Yahud” – Jew – in Arabic rather than “Israeli”, but for some reason, the BBC chose to modify that in translation.

In all the versions of this report, Donnison too does some pretty nifty rearrangement of the facts in order to make them fit in with his own narrative.

In the written report it is stated:

“In actual fact though, there is very little practical use for the language.

Only one of the 30 or so girls in the class has ever met an Israeli or been to Israel, and that was when the girl was getting medical treatment there.

At the Erez checkpoint, the main border crossing into Israel from Gaza, with its caged walkways and automated steel doors, there is very little traffic.

In previous generations, tens of thousands of Palestinians used to cross into Israel every day for work.

Many older Gazans speak good Hebrew as a result.

But Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the ongoing conflict with Hamas means those days are gone.

Israel, as well as the United States and the European Union, regard Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Israel issues few permits for Palestinians to leave, citing security reasons.

The Israeli human rights group Gisha, which campaigns for better access for Palestinians to and from Gaza, says in January 2013, on average 174 Gazans were allowed to leave through Erez each day.

Most of them, the organization says, were people seeking medical treatment and their relatives, as well as Palestinian businessmen.”

In the filmed report Donnison says:

“..there’s little practical use for the language. Thousands of children across Gaza are now learning Hebrew in Hamas schools but the truth is, very few of them have actually been to Israel and very few of them have ever met an Israeli.

At the border crossing there’s little traffic in or out of Gaza. In previous generations tens of thousands of Palestinians used to head into Israel every day for work. But Israel’s blockade and the conflict with Hamas means those days are long gone.”

An identical message is conveyed in the radio item.

Donnison's filmed report at the BBC. Photo: BBC Watch.

So in all these reports, Donnison suggests that Palestinians stopped travelling to Israel because of the partial blockade initiated in mid-2007 after the violent Hamas take-over of the Strip and the expulsion of the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority by Hamas. In doing so, Donnison airbrushes out of the picture the fact that passage in and out of the Gaza Strip had to be restricted several years prior to that because of the entry of suicide bombers and other terrorists into Israel and the resulting civilian casualties during the second Intifada which began in September 2000.

In other words, Palestinian actions which resulted in Israel having to implement measures to defend its civilian population are converted by Donnison into punitive unilateral Israeli actions.

And what of Donnison’s claim in both articles that there is “little traffic in or out of Gaza”? In the written report, Donnison quotes his old favourite, the political NGO ‘Gisha‘ as saying that a daily average of 174 Palestinians left the Strip during January 2013. That would mean that 5,394 people made the crossing in the month as a whole. Even if accurate, those figures mean little when presented without context.

“A report published in 2012 by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals figures showing the coordination and liaison efforts invested by Israel and COGAT seeking to approve the entry of Palestinian patients from the Gaza Strip into Israel for medical treatments in Israeli hospitals. The key data presented in the report show that 91.5% of the applications which were filed, asking for medical treatment in Israel, were ultimately approved, 7.2% are pending security check and 1.3% of the applications were rejected, this indicating the attitude of the State of Israel to humanitarian and medical cases and the importance and urgency ascribed to such applications.

In 2012, 16,553 Palestinians entered Israel from the Gaza Strip, for the purpose of receiving medical treatment in hospitals situated both in Israel and in the Judea and Samaria Region. “Since the opening of the Rafah Crossing to traffic by Egypt, less people are seen leaving through the Erez Crossing, out of personal considerations of the Palestinian sick people and patients in the Gaza Strip”, informs a Gaza DCL senior official.”

[emphasis added]

In addition to those entering Israel for medical treatment, farmers from Gaza often visit agricultural exhibitions and conferences in Israel, as do other businessmen and professionals. Last Christmas, over 500 Christians from Gaza travelled to Bethlehem for the holiday celebrations.

Whilst it is certainly true that “tens of thousands” of Palestinians no longer enter Israel from the Gaza Strip to work each day, it is significant that Donnison elects to conceal from his audiences the real reasons behind that, by failing to mention the role of Palestinian terrorism in bringing it about. It is also significant that he fails to make the connection between the kind of fanaticism which brought about the Palestinian decision to engage in terrorism and the frankly disturbing views expressed by some of the young interviewees in his report. It is, after all, such fanaticism which has made walls, fences and security checks necessary in order to prevent  the loss of Israeli lives.

But of course to explain to BBC audiences the link between restrictions on the movement of Palestinians and the choice made by Palestinian society to support terror against Israeli civilians would make it much more difficult to turn this report – ostensibly about children in Gaza learning Hebrew – into a vehicle for the advancement of the standard BBC narrative of Palestinians as victims.

2 Comments

  • Its good as your other articles : D, regards for putting up. “For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe.” by Larry Eisenberg.

  • David Darlan

    Well you’ve certainly got Jon Donnison ‘bang to rights’!

    Life in Gaza is obviously a ‘bed of Roses’, and the population are on the best of terms with their friendly neighbors in Israel!

    But as for the 500 Christians ‘allowed’ out of Gaza for Christmas…..Surely their destination was not Israel, as they were traveling to Bethlehem i.e. in their own country-Palestine!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Music Coldplay Begins Concert With Broadcast of Charlie Chaplin’s Iconic Speech in ‘The Great Dictator’

    Coldplay Begins Concert With Broadcast of Charlie Chaplin’s Iconic Speech in ‘The Great Dictator’

    British rock band Coldplay started its set at the Glastonburg Festival on Sunday by broadcasting excerpts of the iconic speech Charlie Chaplin delivered in The Great Dictator, the 1940 political satire in which the famous filmmaker/movie star played a Jewish barber. “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone,” Chaplin begins his address. “I should like to help everyone, if possible, Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    JNS.org – The seed for the city of Cleveland’s first professional championship in a major sport in 52 years may have been planted at the Shaw Jewish Community Center on White Pond Drive in Akron, Ohio, nearly 20 years ago. That’s when a tall, lanky kid from Akron named LeBron James walked onto the hardwood court and changed the game of basketball forever. Coach Keith Dambrot, now the head basketball coach at the University of Akron, conducted those sessions that attracted […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    JNS.org – In 2008, Yoram Honig was a producer and director living in Jerusalem, fresh off his first international hit, when the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) came to him with a challenge: build a film industry from scratch in Israel’s capital. “When we started here, was nothing in Jerusalem,” he said during an interview in his office in the Talbiya neighborhood. Now, the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund, which Honig heads as an arm of the JDA, pumps 9 million shekels […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →