Not fit for purpose: BBC backgrounder on second Intifada

On Friday September 27th 2013 violent demonstrations (unreported by the BBC, as was a rocket attack that same night) took place in several locations in Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and Judea & Samaria as Palestinians marked the 13th anniversary of the beginning of the second intifada. Several Israelis were injured

A BBC audience member searching for information regarding the second Intifada on the corporation’s website would – among other items – come across an article titled “2000: Second intifada” which forms part of the BBC’s “Israel Timeline”.

2000 second intifada

That article is dated May 6th 2008, meaning that for almost five and a half years users of the BBC’s website have been mistakenly informed that:

“By 2000, a second intifada was being openly fought and Israel re-occupied the West Bank.”

The second Intifada commenced on September 27th 2000 with a roadside bomb attack on a convoy of civilians, escorted by IDF soldiers, en route to Netzarim. Sgt. David Biri, aged 19, was killed in that attack and another soldier was injured when they got out of their vehicle to check on the civilians – including a baby – after the first IED exploded.

Hence, for the first nine months of the year 2000, a second intifada was not “being openly fought”, contrary to the statement made in this article. Likewise, the suggestion that “Israel re-occupied the West Bank” in the year 2000 – as any reasonable reader would understand this sentence – is clearly inaccurate.

Only at the end of March and beginning of April 2002 – eighteen months after the beginning of the second Intifada – did Israeli forces enter the six Palestinian Authority-controlled towns of Ramallah (29/3/2002), Tulkarem, Qalqilya (1/4/2002), Bethlehem (2/4/2002), Jenin and Schem (3/4/2002) in Operation Defensive Shield. The BBC’s suggestion that “Israel re-occupied the West Bank” is also inaccurate in light of the fact that no Israeli forces were present in other towns such as Jericho and Hebron.

In the year and a half prior to that operation, hundreds of Israelis had been killed and injured by Palestinian terrorists, with the month of March 2002 alone seeing the deaths of over a hundred Israelis, including thirty people killed in the Park Hotel attack on March 27th.Terrorist Attack against the Park Hotel in Netanya (2002)

Not only does this BBC backgrounder fail to reflect the campaign of terror which lead to Israeli forces having to enter PA controlled areas, but it also fails to make any mention of the foreign donor funded Palestinian Authority’s encouragement, organization and financing of that terror war. The article also makes no attempt to inform readers that as an initial result of Operation Defensive Shield, suicide bombings fell by 46%.

Clearly, this BBC backgrounder contributes nothing to audience understanding of the second intifada and the fact that it has remained online for over five years whilst promoting such major inaccuracies indicates that the BBC’s system of checks and balances is sorely lacking.


More from Hadar Sela
BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – February 2017
The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during February 2017 shows that...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *