Terror in Tel Aviv: scare quotes at the BBC.

Here is the BBC’s report on the terrorist bombing of a number 142 Dan bus in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday lunchtime, November 21st:

A deliberate terrorist attack is termed a ‘Bomb blast’ – in ‘well, that’s what they’re telling us’ inverted commas.  

The article continues:

“There has been an explosion on a bus in Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv, police say, amid continuing exchanges between Israel and militants in Gaza.

There are at least 10 injuries in what police called a “terrorist attack”.”

Further down, the liberal sprinkling of scare quotes continues:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Ofir Gendelman said on his Twitter account that the explosion was caused by a bomb and that it was “terrorist attack”.

Emergency services say five of the wounded in the bus explosion are in a serious or moderate condition.

An Israeli who witnessed the explosion told Army Radio the bus was “completely charred”.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said the blast occurred on the corner of Shaul Hamelech and Henrietta Szold.

It said the injured were being taken to Ichilov hospital and that roadblocks had been set up in the area to search for a suspected bomber.

The attack took place on the eighth day of exchanges between Israel and militants in Gaza.

Some 139 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed.

Celebratory gunfire reportedly rang out in Gaza City when local radio relayed news of the bus attack.”

Before we are tempted to attribute the generous use of so much unnecessary punctuation to BBC caution until the picture is fully clear, we should perhaps compare and contrast with its reporting of the strike on the antennae of two office blocks in Gaza City earlier this week. 

What the above report does not include is reports on Twitter by its correspondents on the ground in Gaza that Hamas immediately took responsibility for the attack. 

The BBC’s Paul Danahar appeared to be trying to suggest that the target of the attack was of a military nature, which makes an interesting contrast to some of his tweets earlier in the week. 

(By the way, here is a recent event in Gaza which the plethora of BBC reporters on the ground there appears to have decided not to report, apart from a brief 29 words in this item.)


The BBC now has footage of the aftermath of the attack up on its website – also broadcast on BBC News.

Note the wording of the report’s synopsis as it appears on the website: [emphasis added]

“At least 10 people have been injured in an explosion on a bus in Israel’s commercial capital, Tel Aviv, in what one Israeli official described as a “terrorist attack”. “




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