BBC repeats use of loaded punctuation in reporting terror attacks on Israelis

An article dated December 3rd and appearing in the Middle East section of the BBC News website under the title “Palestinian killed in West Bank” carries the following headline: “Palestinian ‘with axe’ killed by Israeli forces in West Bank”. 

axe story

The article relates to an incident which took place on December 3rd 2012 on Route 57 and claims that members of the Israeli Security Services were involved in a chase after a Palestinian man named Hatem Shadid.

“Reports say the man had been driving a car between the settlements of Shavei Shomron and Einav, raising the suspicions of the security personnel.

They began chasing him and his car collided with their own vehicle, which then overturned. The man is then said to have come towards them with the axe.”

No other news agency appears to be carrying that version of the story. Reuters described Shadid as having “rammed” the ISS vehicle. 

“The witnesses said that after the vehicles collided, Shadid approached the Israelis, who were already injured from the crash, hitting one in the head and the other in the shoulder with an object that he was carrying.

One of the Israelis then shot him dead, both sides said.”

The Huffington Post – using an AP item – quotes an eye witness:

“Palestinian truck driver Rafik Salem says the Palestinian car hit the jeep at high speed Monday before veering into an olive grove. He says an ax-wielding man emerged from the grove and attacked the Israelis.”

Ynet states that:

“The man’s car crashed head on into an army vehicle transporting a Shin Bet officer and other security personnel near the Palestinian village of Deir Sharaf in the West Bank. The jeep overturned upon impact, lightly injuring the passengers. The assailant then exited his car and stormed towards the troops with an ax while yelling “Allah Akbar,” managing to hurt two of the soldiers before being shot dead by the Shin Bet officer.”

The Jerusalem Post , quoting the Spokesman for the Israeli Police Force, describes the incident thus:

“The Shin Bet [Israeli Security Service] was carrying out security activity along the road when the Palestinian vehicle swerved from its lane and crashed head-on into them. 

The Palestinian driver then lunged at the security personnel with an axe while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” He injured two Israelis in the attack. A Shin Bet officer shot and killed the attacker.”

Another outstanding feature of this BBC article is the interesting use (yet again) of punctuation in the headline. Why exactly were those inverted commas inserted to surround the words ‘with axe’? The clear implication is that the BBC is not prepared to take reports that the man was wielding an axe as verified, thereby suggesting that perhaps this was not a terror attack.

So here, especially for the Editor of the BBC News website, is a picture of the axe used by Hatem Shabib. The image can be seen here at 08:59. 


Will the unnecessary punctuation now be removed? 

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