Airbrushing terror: the BBC on Abu Jihad

On November 1st an article appeared in the Middle East section of the BBC News website concerning the declassification of an Israeli newspaper report about the 1988 assassination of Fatah founder Khalil al Wazir – aka Abu Jihad. 

Entitled “Abu Jihad killing: Israeli censor releases commando’s account“, the article goes into considerable detail regarding the assassination itself, but makes scant reference to its context. 

“Abu Jihad – whose real name was Khalil al-Wazir – founded the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) with Yasser Arafat and was blamed for a string of deadly attacks on Israelis.” [emphasis added]

The ‘related stories’ and ‘More on This Story’ promoted on the same web page amount to one article entitled “Long history of Israel’s ‘covert killing'”. No information whatsoever is provided about Khalil al Wazir’s involvement in terror. 

Unlike the BBC, the Palestinian Authority is quite certain about al Wazir’s connections to terror attacks in which hundreds of Israelis were killed and injured. In fact, as recently as April 2012 the PA organized a week-long celebration of the man and his terror attacks, including the naming of sporting events in his honour, TV broadcasts of footage of him planning a terror operation and the presentation of 125 Israelis killed in attacks he planned as an ‘achievement’. 

“Abu Jihad was killed by the Israeli Mossad in Tunisia on April 16, 1988… and was crowned the Prince of the Martyrs of Palestine… Among the military operations planned by Abu Jihad: the explosion at the Zohar reservoir in 1955; the operation to blow up the Israeli National Water Carrier in 1965; the operation at the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv, which killed 10 Israelis, in 1975; the blowing up of a truck bomb in Jerusalem in 1975; the killing of Albert Levi, the senior sapper, and his assistant, in Nablus in 1976; the Dalal Mughrabi operation (i.e., bus hijacking), in which more than 37 Israelis were killed, in 1978; the shelling of the Eilat Port in 1979; the Katyusha fire on the northern settlements [in Israel] in 1981…” [WAFA and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 16, 2012]


Abu Jihad: “After we strike the [Israeli] headquarters, Allah willing, we will close off the streets [of Tel Aviv]. On one street, for example, we will hold 500 people [hostage]. 500 people at once. Can anyone bargain over them? No one, without exception, is allowed to go there unless he sets up the fuse and the explosives. At any moment, he can blow up everyone. Blow up their building, or the whole thing, no matter how many people are there. Our dagger will be a poisoned dagger in our enemy’s heart, and we will take down as many as possible. We want to land on enemy territory (Israel) and to be like a single fortress. When we get there, Allah willing, we will begin to fire, to fire on our enemy. We will dig in his throat and heart with the massacres that we spoke about. We want to turn the Tel Aviv day black. We want to turn the Tel Aviv day into destruction, Allah willing. We will turn the Tel Aviv day so it will be remembered in the history of Tel Aviv as black Saturday, black Sunday. Tel Aviv will be closed that whole day with blood and destruction.”

קובץ:PikiWiki Israel 10326 savoy hotel terror attack memorial in tel aviv.jpg
Savoy Hotel terror attack memorial, Tel Aviv
File:Coastal Road massacre statue.jpg
Coastal Road Massacre memorial, near Gilot Interchange.

The failure by the BBC to provide any information whatsoever about the terror attacks perpetrated by al Wazir renders the article disturbingly lacking in context, imbalanced and inaccurate. 

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