BBC apologises after saying IDF is 'targeting' doctors inside Gaza hospital

Board of Deputies attacks broadcaster for 'staggering lack of care' in reporting IDF operation


The BBC has provoked fury for “appalling” reporting after a presenter falsely claimed the IDF was hunting down doctors inside Gaza’s main hospital, Al Shifa.

It came amid a week of errors, omissions and false assertions by BBC journalists.

On Monday, Today presenter Mishal Hussain wrongly claimed Israeli President Isaac Herzog had said there were “no innocent civilians” in Gaza.

The same evening on the BBC News at Ten, a report by journalist Orla Guerin featured an image of premature babies “fighting for life” without incubators inside Al Shifa. Repeated claims have been made that Israel has prevented hospitals in Gaza from functioning by blocking fuel supplies.

However, Guerin’s report failed mention that the IDF had offered fuel to the hospital to power the incubators, which was subsequently rejected.

On Wednesday morning, quoting a Reuters report, a BBC newsreader said the IDF was “targeting medical teams as well as Arabic speakers” during its operation inside Al Shifa.

In fact, the IDF had said they had “included medical teams and Arabic speakers” in the operation.

The Board of Deputies said about the report: “We are absolutely appalled. At best, this shows a staggering lack of care when reporting on a highly volatile situation, which can have a knock-on effect all over the world, including in Britain, where antisemitic attacks have risen by more than 500 per cent since October 7.

“Incidents like this make a mockery of the BBC’s oft-stated dedication to professionalism and impartiality.”

Hadar Sela, co-editor of media watchdog Camera UK, told the JC: “The fact that the presenter and the rest of the production team did not question the claim that Israel was targeting medical staff and Arabic speakers speaks volumes about the ‘received wisdoms’ at play.”

Lord Carlile, former independent reviewer of counter terror legislation, said “What worries me is what happens next? I think their research is surprisingly thin on some of these issues [being reported].”

The IDF began its operation against Hamas in Al-Shifa hospital on Tuesday.

It has provided evidence to show that the terror group uses the hospital as a base, including footage of Hamas fighters firing shoulder-launched rockets from outside the hospital entrance. The IDF has delivered fuel, incubators, baby food and medical supplies to the hospital ahead of and during the operation.

On Monday, Today presenter Hussain claimed Israeli President Herzog had said there were “no innocent civilians” in Gaza during an interview with Armed Forces Minister James Heappey.

Speaking during the programme, she said: “Have you followed the way many Israelis in official positions are talking about Palestinians? [For example], when the Israeli president says when there are no innocent civilians in Gaza.”

However, a transcript from the October 13 press conference to which Hussain had been referring shows that Herzog had said: “It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not being aware […] They could have risen up, they could have fought against the evil regime which took over Gaza. They could have done but we are at war, we are at war. We’re defending our home.”

As well as failing to say that Israeli forces had offered fuel to keep Al-Shifa hospital running during her News at Ten report, Guerin omitted to say that a Hamas terror cell had opened fire from the hospital.

Camera UK said: “With Orla Guerin located in Jerusalem, her report on Shifa hospital was obviously based on second-hand information from dubious sources including ‘health ministry officials’ who belong to the same terrorist organisation that instigated the current war and an anonymous ‘eyewitness’.”

The BBC said about its News Channel reported on Al Shifa: “This was incorrect and misquoted a Reuters report. We apologise for this error which fell below our usual editorial standards. The correct version of events was broadcast minutes later.”

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