The BBC and Jon Donnison re-write history

If you thought you had ceased to be amazed by the BBC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, prepare to feel that shock all over again

by The Humph on 12 March 2013 09:28

Breaking news this morning: The BBC (and specifically Jon Donnison) has officially become a parody of itself.

Reading its write-up of yesterday’s remarkable story on Omar al-Mashhrawi (the 11-month-old baby who was tragically killed by what now appears to have been an errant Palestinian rocket and not an Israeli airstrike as originally reported) was a remarkable experience in itself.

Here are some of the key excerpts:

It begins with some awkward reading. The resent for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (which, by the way, has some cheek altering the narrative) is palpable.

Only natural then, that five short paragraphs in, before anything to do with the UN report’s findings are discussed (that is to say, the subject of the news item) we are reminded:

The UN says 33 other Palestinian children died in Israeli attacks during the conflict.

Just in case we were beginning to think Israelis weren’t such a bad bunch after all. Better to let us know up front…

But then it really gets going with the subsequent segment, sub-titled “Rubbish” (stick around to find out what that was in reference to).

Off the bat, we’re reminded of how hostilities began last year:

Omar was killed, along with an aunt and an uncle, after a missile hit the family home in Gaza City.

It happened only an hour after Israel launched its operation with the killing of Hamas's military commander.

Of course, Hamas’s continuous use of ‘home-made contraptions’ couldn’t be to blame; they’re just pea shooters, after all.

The family, and human rights groups, said that the house was hit in an Israeli attack.

The Israeli military made no comment at the time of the incident but never denied carrying out the strike.

Privately, military officials briefed journalists that they had been targeting a militant who was in the building.

Now, though, the United Nations says the house may have been hit by a Palestinian rocket that fell short.

This is despite the fact that the Israeli military had reported no rockets being fired out of Gaza so soon after the start of the conflict.

Is it just me, or are we getting the sense that Donnison is a little bleary-eyed writing this? If I didn’t know better, I’d think he almost wanted the blood on Israeli hands…

UN officials visited the house four weeks after the strike.

They said they did not carry out a forensic investigation, but said their team did not think the damage was consistent with an Israeli air strike.

However, the UN said it could not "unequivocally conclude" it was a misfired Palestinian rocket.

A UN official said it was also possible the house was hit by a secondary explosion after an Israeli air strike on Palestinian weapons stores.

So first we discredit the UN’s methodology, then suddenly its opinion counts again, once the Israelis are back in the dock? Donnison better hope those straws will hold…

Now brace yourselves for this:

Jehad Mashhrawi [Omar’s father] dismissed the UN findings as rubbish.

He said nobody from the United Nations had spoken to him, and said Palestinian militant groups would usually apologise to the family if they had been responsible.

I’ll let you read that again and stew…

… Yes, you read it correctly the first time.

Finally, thankfully, mercifully Donnison’s Frankenstein piece ends:

The UN report concluded that at least 169 Palestinians were killed by Israeli attacks during the offensive.

It said more than 100 were civilians, including 33 children and 13 women. The report said six Israelis were killed by Palestinians attacks, including four civilians.

Oh, and did I mention this butchery gained top slot on the BBC’s Middle East news section?

Of course it did.

He’s on Twitter. Let him know what you think.

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