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Contrary to the BBC’s Report, Testimonies Confirm That Israel Carried Out Executions in Gaza

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
17th January 2024
Contrary to the BBC’s Report, Testimonies Confirm That Israel Carried Out Executions in Gaza
Testimonies confirm that Israel carried out executions in the Gaza (Getty)

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) issued an apology for publishing a report on the Israeli army executing Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. The apology was exclusively released on the “Deadline” website on January 9 and was subsequently reported by newspapers and media outlets, most notably The Times of Israel and Fox News.

Misbar checked the archive of the BBC’s responses page to editorial and technical issues and found that the British network had already published a statement of apology on January 5, for a report published on BBC Radio. The statement stated, “In overnight output we ran a story about Hamas accusing the Israeli army of carrying out summary executions in the Gaza strip. This was a Hamas statement, but although the accusations were attributed and our story contained a response from the Israeli military saying they were unaware of the incident and that Hamas was a terrorist organisation that did not value truth, we had not made sufficient effort to seek corroborating evidence to justify reporting the Hamas claim. We apologise for this mistake."

BBC apologizes for its report on Israeli army's alleged execution of Palestinian civilians
BBC apologizes for its report on Israeli army's alleged execution of Palestinian civilians

Investigating the news the BBC deemed incorrect and unverified, Misbar traced the news source back to the France-Presse Agency. The agency reported that the government information office in Gaza had gathered testimonies proving the execution of 137 Palestinians in Gaza and the northern governorates. The office called for international teams to investigate the occupation’s crimes and field executions.

However, is there any evidence substantiating the claim of Israeli forces engaging in the execution operations of civilians in the Gaza Strip since October 7?

Scenes and Testimonies Confirm That Israel Carried Out Executions in the Gaza Strip

Video clips, published by Palestinian journalists and citizens from Gaza, along with live testimonies from eyewitnesses, document that the occupation forces deliberately and directly fired bullets at unarmed civilians without reason or justification. Moreover, human rights organizations have also documented several cases of direct field executions.

Misbar had previously released a detailed investigation on November 15, 2023, regarding the field execution of 74-year-old Palestinian Bashir Hajji, a resident of Al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City, by occupation soldiers. This incident occurred when he attempted to cross into southern Gaza on Salah Al-Din Street. It unfolded after Israeli social media accounts circulated a photo of him alive with occupation soldiers, claiming they were assisting an elderly Palestinian during his displacement to the south of the Gaza Strip. Before a photo of the elderly Hajji killed on the side of the road went viral, it came from the family of the Palestinian elderly man, who confirmed that the occupation army had executed him, after taking the initial photo while he was still alive.

the field execution of 74-year-old Palestinian Bashir Hajji
A picture of the elderly Palestinian Bashir Haji, who was executed by the occupation army

On December 16, 2023, journalist Mahmoud Al-Sabbah published scenes showing Israel carrying out executions in northern Gaza. These scenes depicted the bodies of eight people from the Khalil family, including a father, his wife, and their children, who were executed in one of the classrooms in Shadia Abu Ghazaleh school shelter in Al-Falujah neighborhood in northern Gaza.

Al Jazeera reported on December 20, 2023, testimonies from several residents of Gaza City, describing the Israeli army's execution of members of their families during the fleeing of Al-Rimal neighborhood. One testimony stated: "The martyrs told the occupation forces that they were civilians, and they did not show any resistance before the soldiers killed them in cold blood." Another witness mentioned that Israeli forces broke into a residential building, "killed the youth and men, and took the women to an unknown destination."

Misbar checked the lists of victims on that date and found that 18 citizens from the Anan, Al-Ghalaini, Al-Ashi, and Al-Sharafa families were martyred in Anan building on Al-Jalaa Street.

Misbar also found a statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on December 21, 2023, mentioning receiving information about the killing of 11 Palestinian civilians by Israeli soldiers after storming a house in Al-Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City. The Commission called on Israel to investigate reports about the Israeli army carrying out field executions in the Gaza Strip.

The Human Rights Commission calls for an investigation into reports of civilian executions in Gaza
The Human Rights Commission calls for an investigation into reports of civilian executions in Gaza

A video press report published by Al Jazeera on December 24 showed scenes of martyrs in the streets of Tal Al-Zaatar area after the occupation forces withdrew. Al Jazeera correspondent Anas Al-Sharif quoted an eyewitness living near Al Awda Hospital, stating that the occupation forces executed pregnant women heading to Al Awda Hospital to give birth, after which the occupation army ran them over with bulldozers and tanks, according to his testimony.

Misbar found a video published by Al Jazeera on December 25, 2023, featuring an interview by its correspondent with an eyewitness from Al-Khalidi family. In the interview, it was revealed that the occupation forces carried out executions against four members of his family, namely his father, grandfather, grandmother, and uncle, in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood.

Journalists: The Israeli Withdrawal From Northern Gaza Revealed Executions Against Civilians

The occupation forces that penetrated deep into Gaza City, Jabalia refugee camp, Al-Shati camp, Beit Lahia, and Beit Hanoun withdrew in early 2024, and with the return of freedom of movement of residents and journalists in those areas, and the return of communication networks that had been cut off for days, news reports and testimonies mentioned executions carried out by the occupation soldiers against isolated and unarmed civilians in the streets and alleys of the city.

Misbar found a video clip published by journalist Mahmoud Sabbah on January 2, 2024, showing traces of executions on the walls of a house in which a number of its residents were liquidated, including eight people from the Al-Khalidi family, and three from the Al-Kilani family, including a young child, a crippled woman, and a pregnant woman in Abu Iskandar area in the northern Gaza Strip.

On January 2, Al-Arabi TV published exclusive footage documenting the Israeli occupation carrying out a field execution by snipers against civilians, including a man and his daughter, in Al-Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

A video clip published by the Middle East Eye website on January 8 showed the moment a Palestinian woman was shot by an Israeli sniper while moving with a group of displaced people in Gaza City on November 12, 2023. It was widely circulated on social media.

A video clip published by the Middle East Eye showed the moment a Palestinian woman was shot by an Israeli sniper
A video clip published by the Middle East Eye showed the moment a Palestinian woman was shot by an Israeli sniper

Upon investigation, Misbar found that the victim was a woman named Hala Khreis. In her family’s testimony to Al Jazeera on January 10, 2024, Hala’s sister confirmed that the Israeli army deliberately shot her, when she was at the forefront of a convoy of displaced people who had received sudden field instructions from the Israeli army to leave, contradicting the nature of coordination with the Red Cross regarding the movement of displacement and its paths.

Misbar found that the victim was a woman named Hala Khreis
Misbar found that the victim was a woman named Hala Khreis

Misbar also found testimony from a Palestinian in Gaza, revealing that the Israeli army executed his father, his brother, and dozens of displaced people after releasing them and granting them safety after hours of detention. Hamdallah Abu Al-Omrin said, in his testimony to The Anadolu Agency on January 9, 2024, that the Israeli army, during its incursion into Al-Rimal neighborhood in central Gaza City, broke into the Holy Family School, which was sheltering hundreds of displaced people, and executed dozens of displaced people “deliberately on the field,” including his brother and his father.

He reported that the army forces "gathered the children and men in the schoolyard and forced them to take off their clothes in the open and sit on the ground in a very cold temperature." He added, "After blindfolding them, the Israeli soldiers began beating the men, dragging them, and cursing them in a humiliating manner, leaving them almost naked in the open until the next morning. Then they released them and allowed them to leave. After they walked for about twenty meters from the schoolyard, the army executed this group and the others, including my brother, by shooting from a quadcopter drone."

On January 10, journalist Mahmoud Abu Salmiya published an interview with an elderly eyewitness from Al-Najjar family, whose son was executed by occupation soldiers with a direct bullet in the neck inside her house and in front of her eyes, during the invasion of the Al-Qasasib neighborhood in Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

Misbar found a previous testimony by a Palestinian named Sami Al-Najjar to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper, on December 27, 2023, confirming the execution of his brother, Munir Al-Najjar (41 years old), on December 10, 2023. This occurred after occupation forces broke into his house in Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, and opened fire directly at him while he was with his elderly 74-year-old mother.

The Euro-Mediterranean Observatory documented testimonies about the Israeli army’s execution of dozens of elderly people in the Gaza Strip. It stated on December 21, 2023, that it documented the execution of dozens of elderly Palestinians by Israeli army forces in direct shootings without any justification and confirmed that it had received shocking testimonies about physical liquidations and field executions to which they were subjected. Dozens of elderly people over the age of 60, including direct shootings by soldiers after they were asked to leave their homes.

The Observatory reported that in some cases, executions took place moments after their release, after hours or days of arbitrary detention. The Euro-Med confirmed that these cases are nothing but an example of the executions and physical liquidations to which dozens of elderly people were subjected, in areas witnessing incursions by Israeli forces.

The BBC Has Apologized Before During Its Gaza War Coverage

Misbar found that this is not the first time that the BBC has admitted errors in its reporting on the Gaza war. On November 15, 2023, the BBC apologized for reporting that Israeli forces targeted medics during a raid on Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.

The report stated, "While BBC News covered initial reports that Israeli forces had entered the main hospital in Gaza, we said that 'medical teams and Arab speakers' were within targeting. This is incorrect and was misquoted from the Reuters report." The report added at the time, "We should have said that the IDF forces included medical teams and Arabic speakers in this operation. We apologize for this error, which was below our usual editorial standards. The correct version of events was broadcast minutes later, and we apologized for the mistake live on air later that day."

In a prior incident, the British Broadcasting Corporation apologized on October 17, 2023, for its reporter's speculation about who was responsible for the explosion at “Ahli Arab Hospital” in Gaza City in October 2023. The statement said, "We have reviewed our coverage of the direct consequences of the explosion at the National Baptist Hospital, Al-Arabi in Gaza City. The program repeatedly stated that it had not yet been confirmed who was behind the explosion, but it explained that, during his experience as a correspondent in Gaza, he had never seen explosions of this size resulting from a rocket launched from the Strip. It was a mistake to speculate in this way about the possible causes. We apologize for that."

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