The Israeli offensive against civilians in Gaza continues as four young boys of the same family are killed as they played football on the beach by gunfire from Israeli warships.
Just after four o’clock in the afternoon the Israeli warships carrying out a blockade of Gaza opened fire on the beach where boys regularly play football and other games. Conditions were sunny and clear.
The group of seven cousins were hit by a shell from the warship. Three of them managed to get to a local hotel where their injuries were treated by staff and journalists staying at the hotel. Of the four other cousins, one was dead at the scene and the other three died soon after arriving at hospital.
One witness, Ahmed Abu, told the Independent “The kids were playing football on the beach. They were all… under the age of 15.”
All the victims were sons of fishermen. Ismael Mohammed Bakr, nine, Zakaria Ahed Bakr and Ahed Atif Bakr, both 10, and Mohammed Ramiz Bakr, were the dead. There was grief and rage with an uncle, Abdel Kareem Bakr, accusing the Israeli forces of “cold blooded massacre”.
“It’s a shame they didn’t identify them as just kids with all the advanced technology they had been using,” he said. “I don’t know what justification they will use for what they did, but our boys are now gone.”
Mohammed Fares, a 33-year-old waiter at al-Deira Hotel, watched what happened from the terrace.
“We often see boys playing on the beach, this is quite common. Suddenly there was an explosion and I could see a group of them fall. Some people working in cafes on the beach came out to help,” he said. “As they trying to look after the kids there was another explosion, it must have been aimed at them.
“Three of the kids started running towards us and we dragged them up on to the terrace where the journalists and others gave them medical help. Of course the ones left on the beach were much more badly hurt and they died. It is very, very sad.”
Late in the afternoon, as the sun was setting, 32-year-old Dia Bakr was on the beach where four of his younger cousins had died. “We are a large family and we spend a lot of time together. I taught some of them football on this beach, we used to even have picnics here when there was peace. No one thought they would be in any danger here, in daytime, at a place where they had played all their lives. There are so many hotels here. People staying here can see what’s going on. We thought they would be safe because they were just children of fishermen. We thought they were safe because they were children. Surely whoever did the firing could see that?”
Israel has so far been responsible for 213 deaths and 1,200 injuries since it started its latest offensive nine days ago – the victims are mostly civilians, including children.
In addition to the dead and injured, more than 100,000 people have been displaced as Israel ordered them to evacuate their homes before mounting an attack which destroyed their homes and what little local services they had.
This kind of barbarism is no mistake. Israel has some of the best war technology in the world – much of it supplied by the United States government – so the number of civilians killed and injured can reasonably be presumed to be a very deliberate tactic.
One would think that diabolical atrocities of this kind would be high on the list of any news editor. However, the BBC doesn’t seem to think it is worthy of being front page news, preferring to hide the few paragraphs about the attack away. Every major independent news provider has covered this story on their front pages – as well as others which clearly show how this conflict is affecting the civilian population in Gaza and the atrocities of the Israeli government.
But we shouldn’t be surprised. The BBC in particular fails to cover stories involving Israel in a fair and balanced way. Their reporting bias was the subject of a major demonstration outside the BBC in London.
Five thousand protesters who are concerned by the BBC’s “anti-Palestinian bias” chanted “BBC shame on you”. Of course, if your only news source is the BBC you would not have heard of the protest.
The BBC has been accused of being pro-government in its coverage of national and international news, often showing significant bias in reporting and failing to present news stories in their wider context.
Television license fee income for the BBC was £3.6562 billion in 2012–13. According the BBC’s Charter, they are supposed to exist to “serve the public interest” and “remain independent in all matters concerning the content of its output”. This seems to be side-tracked in reality, with constant appointments of senior management who are sympathetic to whichever government is in power.
Until the situation with the BBC is resolved, the majority of the British public (who use the BBC as their main source of news) will remain unaware of the context of BBC news reporting, and of the atrocities that are supported by our current government.
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