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August 30, 2018 8:58 am

BBC Tries to Erase Hamas’ Role in ‘Great Return March’ Violence

avatar by Hadar Sela

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A Hamas military drill in the Gaza Strip in March 2018. Photo: Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

On August 28, a filmed report titled “Bullet shatters Palestinian cyclist’s Asian Games dream” was posted on the BBC News website’s “Middle East” page. According to the report:

The Asian Games continues [sic] in the Indonesian capital Jakarta until September 2, with 18,000 athletes participating.

One Palestinian cyclist could not fulfill his dream of competing, after he was shot during a Gaza strip demonstration, which has left Alaa Al-Daly with one leg. But he is determined to not let it stop him cycling.

Together with the interviewee’s unconfirmed and unquestioned account of his story, viewers see statements from the BBC itself that once again reinforce its chosen narrative concerning the “Great Return March”:

Alaa’s dream was to represent Palestine at the Asian Games. But an Israeli bullet put an end to his dream.

On March 30, Alaa was taking part in what has been called “The Great March of Return” at the Gaza-Israel frontier. The protest campaign expresses support for the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

As has been the case in all previous BBC reporting on this topic, no effort was made to provide audiences with a clear view of what the Palestinian demand for the “right of return” means in terms of the two-state solution, to clarify that its real intention is to threaten the existence of Israel as the Jewish state, or to explain what the non-binding UN General Assembly resolution upon which that demand is supposedly based actually says.

The report goes on:

Alaa says he was protesting peacefully and was 150-200m from the frontier when he was shot by Israeli fire.

Health ministry officials in Gaza say more than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since March 30 — most of them protesters.

More than 18,000 have been wounded, and about 69 of the injured have undergone amputation.

One Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper during the same period.

Yet again, the BBC fails to clarify to audiences that “health ministry officials in Gaza” actually means Hamas, and that a significant proportion of those victims that it portrays as “protesters” have been shown to have links to various Gaza Strip based terror factions, including Hamas.

As has often been the case in previous BBC reporting, viewers are not told that the “protest campaign” has been characterized by violent rioting that included hundreds of petrol bomb attacks, IED attacks, grenade attacks, and shooting attacks, as well as attempts to infiltrate the border. Instead, audiences hear that:

Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of using excessive force to quell the protests. But Israel says its troops have only opened fire in self-defense or on people trying to infiltrate its territory.

Viewers are then shown what is described as an “Israeli Defense Forces statement to the BBC” before the film goes on to tell audiences that:

Israel has accused the militant group Hamas, which dominates Gaza, of orchestrating the protests. Hamas denies this. [emphasis added]

Hamas’ involvement in the organization and facilitation of the ‘Great Return March’ has been known even before the agitprop began on March 30. Immediately after that day’s events, Hamas put out a related statement to that effect, and Hamas leaders have repeatedly attended events connected to the riots. Hamas officials have also publicly stated that its operatives have been at the forefront of the violence, with leader Yahya Sinwar saying, “We decided to embark on these marches.” And in recent BBC reports, Hamas’ Ghazi Hamad stated that the terror group is “controlling the situation” and “we control 99% of the march.”

Ridiculously though, the BBC would now apparently have its audiences believe that Hamas has nothing at all to do with the weekly violent rioting that it has organized, facilitated, and encouraged for the past five months.

Hadar Sela is the Managing Editor of BBC Watch — an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). Her work has appeared at The Propagandist Magazine, Harry’s Place, The Commentator, and the MERIA journal among others.

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