Thursday, December 26, 2013

Another case of ‘last-first’ reporting in BBC account of sniper attack on Gaza border

...As has also been the case in prior BBC articles relating to recent violent incidents, no serious attempt is made in this report to inform readers of the context of escalating numbers of terror attacks and security incidents emanating from the Gaza Strip and in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in recent months. By treating each of the random cases it does decide to report (usually those involving fatalities) as separate, unrelated incidents – and whilst ignoring many others – the BBC denies audiences a complete picture of the background of rising tensions in the region and the ability to understand Israeli reactions to incidents in their proper context.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
25 December '13..

In the early hours of the afternoon of December 24th, twenty-two year-old Saleh Shukri Abu Latif – a civilian employee of the Ministry of Defence from the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev – was working on repairs to a section of the border fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip located between Nahal Oz and Kfar Aza which had been damaged by the recent fierce storm. Saleh Abu Latif

A bullet fired by a sniper in the Gaza Strip hit Saleh in the chest. He was evacuated by air to hospital in Be’er Sheva, but died of his wounds. The attack was reportedly claimed by the PRC.

The shooting of Saleh Abu Latif was preceded by days of security incidents along the same border fence including riots in which stones were thrown at Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border, attempts to breach the border fence and attempts to plant improvised explosive devices. Missiles were also fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian communities, including one which landed at a bus stop used by schoolchildren.

Despite days of rising tensions, the Hamas regime in Gaza failed to exercise control over its side of the border fence in order to prevent incidents from escalating and in accord with the terms of the ceasefire which came into effect after ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’ in November 2012.

“All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.”

Later in the afternoon of December 24th, the Israeli armed forces responded to the fatal sniper attack by targeting Hamas terror installations in the Gaza Strip including a concealed rocket launcher and a weapons manufacturing facility. According to Palestinian sources, a three year-old girl named Hala Abu Sbeikha was accidentally killed and other members of her family injured, although reports as to which family members differ, with some citing her father and some her mother and brother.

The report on the incident (amended several times) which appeared on the Middle East page of the BBC News website under the title “Two dead in Israel-Gaza violence” was sub-headed with the following ‘last-first’ description:

“A Palestinian girl is killed in a series of retaliatory Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, after an Israeli civilian was shot dead by a sniper.”

The report itself – titled “Two dead in Israel-Gaza border violence” – also opens by reporting the later incident first.


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