With its customary moral inversion which automatically turns Israeli victimisation into Israeli aggression, the BBC reports today’s Gaza anti-tank missile attack on an Israeli school bus this way:

Israeli forces strike after attack on bus.

Israeli tanks, helicopters and planes have struck Gaza after an anti-tank missile fired from the Palestinian territory hit a bus in southern Israel.

A 16 year-old boy was critically injured in the attack, and the bus driver was also hurt.  But for the BBC, the real news was the Israeli response. The fact that Gaza terrorists tried to kill Israeli schoolchildren clearly does not register with the BBC as an important enough development to merit leading its story. Indeed, the BBC clearly does not register the moral difference between Israeli victimisation and Hamas aggression at all. For in a sidebar ‘analysis’, Jon Donnison wrote:

Israel, where casualties are rare, is under pressure from its border communities to punish militants in Gaza for any attacks. Hamas is under pressure from its militant wing and other armed groups in Gaza to respond forcefully. Both sides seem unable to see the other’s perspective.

Doubtless had Jon Donnison been reporting from, say, Poland in 1939 or Hungary in 1956 or Tiananmen Square in 1989, he would not have seen fit to observe

both sides seem unable to see the other’s perspective.

But for the BBC, there is a moral equivalence between Hamas attacks and Israeli attacks, as if this is a literal ‘cycle of violence’ with no beginning. But of course that is not so. This current escalation of violence began with a rocket attack from Gaza at Beersheva in the wake of the Egyptian uprising. Beersheva is no one of Israel’s ‘border communities’ – it is an Israeli town in the Negev desert. Two Iranian Grad missiles were also fired from Gaza today at Ashkelon – and were shot down – which is also not a ‘border community’. For some idea of what residents of southern Israel who are under attack are going through, watch this video.

Honest Reporting points out that the BBC’s ‘background’ analysis is even worse:

Israeli security measures are stated as fact, while ‘bouts of terror and rocket attacks’ are attributed to something ‘Israel said.’

Last month saw some of the worst violence since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December 2008. In one week in March, at least 10 Palestinians – including several civilians and children – were killed by Israeli attacks.

In the same period, militants in Gaza fired more than 80 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel. Hamas had pledged to try to restore a ceasefire that ended on 16 March when an Israeli air strike killed two of its militants in the Palestinian territory. However, Israel said it had suffered “bouts of terror and rocket attacks”.

Just imagine what the response of Britain or America would be if they were bombarded by more than 80 rocket attacks in one week. They would regard themselves as in a state of war, and they would respond, as any country would, with all the force at their disposal to end such attacks on their people — probably using their air power to pulverise everything on the ground.  Yet the British media barely reports these rocket barrages against Israel, only reacting when Israel responds – because Britain does not regard barrages of rockets and attacks on major Israeli towns as an escalation. To the British, escalation only happens when Israel responds in self-defence.

As a result of this warped animus, the BBC and other western media also persistently fail to grasp the true significance of events like today’s attacks from Gaza. As Barry Rubin reports, the attack on the bus represents a particularly sickening escalation:

Usually, attacks from the Gaza Strip – either carried out or sanctioned by the Hamas regime there – are by homemade rockets, mortars, or attempted cross-border ground attacks. Deaths and damage are usually random.

In this case, though, the attack was carried out with an advanced anti-tank rocket. In other words, a terrorist deliberately aimed at the bus and fired, hoping to kill the maximum number of children.

But there’s more. Hamas can fire an advanced anti-tank rocket because the Egyptian revolution has ended a regime that acted in its own interest to block most arms shipments to Hamas. The Egypt-Gaza border is now open. Terrorists and superior weapons are flooding into Gaza.

Another demonstration of this fact was the second major incident in which Hamas fired an Iranian-made Grad missile, far superior to the usual homemade rockets, at Israel. In this case, it was shot down by an Israeli anti-missile, part of the new defense system deployed only a few days earlier. A total of 50 rockets and mortars were fired on that one day, equalling the number shot from the Gaza Strip at Israel during the entire month of March. There were also several attempts at cross-border ground attacks, more in one day than at any time in the past.

You won’t read that kind of informative analysis on the BBC.

Of course, the grim irony of the attack on the school bus is that it closely follows the retraction by Richard Goldstone of the core allegation in his infamous report that Israel deliberately targeted civilians in Gaza and had thus possibly committed crimes against humanity. It didn’t, and it doesn’t. It goes to great lengths to avoid hitting Gaza’s civilians — whom Hamas deliberately places in harm’s way. But today we have seen that Hamas deliberately tries to murder not just Israeli civilians but as many Israeli schoolchildren as possible. Where are the demands for Hamas to be tried for crimes against humanity?

Now the Palestinian Authority is already whining about Israel’s raids on Gaza, casting Israel as the aggressor – but with no acknowledgement that this was self-defence after the murderous attack on the school bus. Grotesque? Monstrous?  For sure. And the BBC is its echo-chamber.



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