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Monday, December 31, 2007

More BBC crimes of omission and commission

It is not only the BBC that has these problems, of course, but the BBC claims to be "independent, impartial and honest", and this clearly isn't true:
More than 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims stranded in Egypt have held protests after they were blocked from travelling through a border crossing to Gaza.

The pilgrims broke windows and started fires to protest against the decision to move them to a temporary camp.

Israel has insisted that the pilgrims must return to the Gaza Strip through a crossing that it controls.

It says it wants to ensure that no weapons or money are being channelled to militant groups.

The pilgrims returning from the Hajj in Mecca include several prominent members of the Hamas movement, who fear they will be detained if they try to travel through an Israeli-controlled crossing.
The BBC finally admits that some of the "pilgrims" are Hamas members. They don't mention, however, that there at least some known terrorists among them.

Egyptian authorities have moved more than 1,100 of the pilgrims to several temporary camps set up in and around the Mediterranean coastal city of el-Arish.

Reports say the pilgrims shouted slogans against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Hundreds of riot police surrounded the protesters, while the fires were put out.

A 67-year-old Palestinian woman collapsed and died during the protests, reports said.

After the unrest ended, some pilgrims continued their protest by refusing to accept meals provided by the Egyptian government.
Again, accurate as far as it goes. But the Beeb doesn't mention the very pertinent fact that some of the pilgrims that left through Rafah have already returned via Keren Shalom:
Palestinians, returning from the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, cross through the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and Egypt, on their way to Gaza Strip Monday, Dec. 31, 2007. Another group of Palestinian pilgrims, include some members of the militant Hamas group, have rejected Egypt's demands that they enter Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Aouja border crossing. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

If some of the pilgrims who went through Egypt are returning to their homes through Keren Shalom, then that makes the motives of the others a bit suspect. (The other set of pilgrims who went through the West Bank and Jordan returned through the Erez crossing.) One would think that this little fact should be mentioned.

The BBC might also want to verify or refute Debka's report that Hamas hajj pilgrims met with Ahmadinejad in Mecca and he gave them $50 million, and that they got an additional $100 million from the Muslim Brotherhood. Is Debka any more or less reliable than the anonymous "reports" the BBC mentions above? There is no way to know - the Beeb doesn't reveal who is behind those reports.

In early December, Israel allowed some 2,200 Palestinian pilgrims to leave Gaza through the Rafah border-post.
This is simply a lie - Israel protested Egypt's opening of Rafah, and the BBC did report that.