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December 14, 2014 2:33 pm

Clarifications Required for BBC Reports on Shati Incident

avatar by Hadar Sela

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A BBC Twitter post. Photo: BBC Watch.

As we noted on our blog the other day, the Israeli Military Attorney General (MAG) has published the findings of some of the investigations conducted into incidents which occurred in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge.

One of the incidents investigated was the deaths of 10 civilians on July 28 at the Shati refugee camp, along with an alleged attack on Shifa hospital on the same afternoon. The findings are as follows:

“Various media reports alleged that on 28 July 2014, an incident occurred involving a strike on medical clinics belonging to the Al-Shifa Hospital, as well as a strike on a park where children were present in the Shati Refugee Camp, and as a result of which ten persons (including nine children) were killed and tens injured. Some of these reports alleged that the strikes were carried out by the IDF. As a result, and in accordance with the MAG’s investigation policy, it was decided to refer the incident for examination by the FFAM [Fact Finding Assessment Mission – Ed.].

Following a thorough review conducted by the FFAM, such a strike by IDF forces could not be identified. However, Israel’s technical systems recorded in real-time the path of a salvo of missiles fired from within the Gaza Strip, seemingly by Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which landed in the medical clinics and in the Shati Refugee Camp at the time of the alleged incident. Under these circumstances, and in light of the fact that the strike on the hospital was the result of rocket fire from Palestinian terrorist organizations, the MAG ordered the case to be closed.”

Material relating to those incidents which is still available to the general public on the BBC News website includes:

Gaza conflict: Disputed deadly incidents“ – originally published on July 31st 2014 and discussed here.

“Gaza’s police, Civil Defence Directorate and health officials say Israeli air strikes caused the explosions. According to Al-Jazeera, Hamas denied it had fired any rockets from the area and said it was ‘categorically an Israeli air strike.’ Hamas said it had collected shrapnel from the scene consistent with Israeli munitions, the channel’s website reported.

In a text message quoted by AP news agency, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described the incident as a ‘war crime’ for which ‘the occupation’ would pay the price.”

Gaza in critical condition, says UN’s Ban Ki-moon“ – July 28th 2014.

“Police and health officials said separate Israeli airstrikes had hit the compound of Gaza City’s main hospital and a nearby playground on Monday afternoon, causing casualties.

But a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said both explosions were caused by misfired rockets that were launched from Gaza by ‘terrorists.'”

Gaza City and Israel’s Eshkol hit by deadly blasts“ – originally published on July 28th 2014.

“At least 10 people – eight of them children – were killed in Monday afternoon’s blasts in Gaza City, Palestinian health officials said.

Palestinian officials say the 10 were killed by Israeli missile strikes, but Israel says the explosions were caused by rockets misfired by ‘terrorists.'”

Israel PM Netanyahu warns of ‘prolonged’ Gaza campaign“ – July 29th 2014.

“At least 10 people – eight of them children – were killed in blasts in Gaza City on Monday afternoon, Palestinian health officials said. It is unclear if they were killed by an Israeli attack or a misfiring militant rocket.”

Middle East crisis: Children pay heavy price in Gaza“ – Ian Pannell, July 28th 2014.

“A hospital already overflowing with casualties was engulfed in chaos. Parents and relatives frantically searching for their children. The wards were full of them. Fourteen year-old Mohammed had shrapnel in his back. ‘We were playing in the street and they hit us’, he said. ‘They targeted us. Lots of children were killed.’ And next to him, four year-old Ola [phonetic]. Shrapnel cut into her small body. Israel has denied it was responsible for this.

Woman: ‘Then who fired it? I ran outside and found my daughters. If the Israelis didn’t do it, who did? Did my daughters launch the rocket?’

Marching up the hill to bury two small boys. They’d played together, they were killed together and now, they were going to be buried together. The boys’ father says his sons are martyrs who died for the resistance against Israel.”

All of the above are discussed here.

Clearly the BBC’s June 2014 announcement stating that “however long ago our online content was first published, if it’s still available, editorial complaints may legitimately be made regarding it” means that all the above reports need to have a note of clarification urgently added, informing audiences of the actual circumstances of the incident.

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