Stephen Games

How BBC’s Orla Guerin reports from Gaza

On Tuesday August 5, 2014, the BBC’s flagship “News at Ten” broadcast a report by Orla Guerin from Gaza. The text of that item (©BBC) follows. Readers will note with alarm the thrust of the item, the crucial questions that went unasked, and the questionable replies and values that went unchallenged.

(Studio host) In Gaza, a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas appears to be holding. Israeli ground forces have pulled back and thousands of displaced Palestinians have begun to leave UN shelters. But the human cost of the four-week conflict is clear: 67 Israelis killed, 63 of them soldiers, and 1,800 Palestinian lives lost, most of them civilians. Our correspondent Orla Guerin reports now on how Hamas is viewed in Gaza at the end of nearly a month of fighting.
(Video of Gazan rocket being launched on sandy soil) (Guerin) Hamas showing off their home-made rockets.
Video of a second rocket, similar) This one aimed at Tel Aviv.
Video of third rocket, similar This new video features empty terrain.
Video of rocket being launched, against blue sky But they also fire rockets
Video of three rockets, similar from within civilian areas.
Video of camouflaged Palestinian fighters holding guns with telescopic sights Their propaganda footage shows fighters armed for an attack
Close up (CU) of same but they remain largely out of sight, some
Long shot (LS), as before literally
Cut to video of Israeli soldier seen in cross-hairs of telescopic sight
Cut to still of handsome young man with two small children, sitting by the sea Mohamed Sheban was one of their local commanders in Gaza.
CU of Sheban He was a sniper and naval commando.
Still of Sheban in desert, holding rifle, finger on trigger Israel killed him in an airstrike last month.
Cut to video of Guerin surrounded by 25 people, including seven children, apparently members of Sheban’s family His proud father, Abu Ahmed, was a commander
Medium shot (MS) of Guerin over Ahmed’s shoulder before him, and told me he’s ready to
CU of good-looking boy, about 12, smiling nervously sacrifice his other sons.
Low shot of younger boy, Ahmed patting boy’s head, other adults behind He denies that Hamas is targeting Israeli civilians.
CU of Ahmed, speaking Arabic (Translator with attractive, light, innocent voice OOS) Civilians are safe. We target soldiers and military bases.
MS of Guerin over Ahmed’s shoulder (Guerin to Ahmed) I’ve seen kindergardens
CU of Ahmed from side and houses in Israel that have been hit by Hamas rockets. You are
MS of Guerin over Ahmed’s shoulder targeting civilians.
CU of Ahmed, speaking Arabic. Aston: “Abu Ahmed, Former Commander, Hamas Military Wing” (Translator OOS) We can’t control where our rockets land. That is a matter of fate. They have sirens and shelters. We have nowhere to be safe.
Cut to video CU of destroyed building (Guerin) People here are counting the cost of four
Guerin comes into shot from behind burnt tree weeks of bombardment.
Camera pans as Guerin walks over rubble In some places bodies are still being dug out of the rubble. Israel has been aiming to weaken Hamas militarily and to persuade Palestinians to turn against them. Have they succeeded or has all of this death and destruction cemented support for Hamas?
Video of market, with MS of pretty girl calling out to the crowds to buy In Gaza’s main food market,
Video of stall laden with plums, and boy pushing barrow bustling after the ceasefire began,
Reverse shot of market we found only support for the militants.
MS of unidentified man in his 20s, speaking English (no information on whether he was involved with Hamas or being monitored by Hamas guides) We are so proud of the Palestinian resistance that defends us so I, I, I am, I am positive that Hamas protects us from Israeli occupation.
Cut to video of smoke rising above seaport (Guerin) But there was no
Amateur video, from unidentified source—dated July 16—of three boys running along beach protection for these young boys trying to outrun Israeli missiles.
Amateur video jerks up, and sound of blast, then tries to refocus
Cut to unidentified amateur video of Hamas rescue crew, carrying stretcher, filmed by one camerman man in blue flak jacket and white helmet, over background sound of worried people They had been playing football on the beach.
Another cameraman comes into shot—thus at least three cameramen on the scene
Cut to WS of poor Palestinian family of seven, at home, on two sofas, over Guerin’s shoulder Three weeks on, this bereaved family have newly embraced
MS of family, with two boys in foreground Hamas. The Backas lost
MS of boy sitting on man’s lap 11-year-old Mohamed. They say he was the light of the house.
CU of pretty young girl Little Mara keeps saying she wants to join him, in heaven.
MS of man and woman and two small chidren on sofa. Woman speaks Arabic “I never supported Hamas a day in my life,” Mohamed’s mother Salwa tells me. “My family had problems with them. They killed my nephew. But after what happened I support them. God protect them.”
Cut to video of Palestinian fishing boat on rough sea Fishermen were back on the water today, grasping at normal
LS of eight fishing boats on the sea, Gaza City in background life. Palestinians are living and dying under Israel’s
Video of three fishing boats military occupation. Many now see Hamas
Video of man running along beach carrying oar as their only hope of escape. Orla Guerin, BBC News, Gaza.
About the Author
Stephen Games is a designer, publisher and award-winning architectural journalist, formerly with the Guardian, BBC and Independent. He was until Spring 2018 a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, habitually questioning its unwillingness to raise difficult questions about Israel, and was a board member of his synagogue with responsibility for building maintenance and repair. In his spare time he is involved in editing volumes of the Tanach and is a much-liked barmitzvah teacher with an original approach, having posted several videos to YouTube on the cantillation of haftarot and the Purim Megillah.
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