Listeners who tuned into BBC Radio 5 live’s ‘World Cup Breakfast’ programme on June 16th for coverage of the football also got to hear presenter Nicky Campbell’s promotion of a comparison between convicted terrorists and illegal infiltrators into Israel and three Israeli teenagers kidnapped on June 12th.
The item (available for a short period of time here from around 01:47:53) was also promoted in part on the BBC News website under the title “‘Maximum effort’ in search for kidnapped Israeli teens“.
In his introduction of the item, Campbell neglects to clarify to listeners Hamas’ designation as a terrorist organisation:
“Israeli troops have arrested the speaker of the Palestinian Parliament Aziz Dweik as they investigate the kidnapping of three Israeli students in the West Bank. Ah…Aziz Dweik is a member of the militant group Hamas which denies seizing the students and says Israel’s claims that it has are silly.”
Campbell’s co-presenter Rachel Burden continues the item, with the BBC’s pronunciation unit apparently not having been available at that early hour in order to help with correct pronunciation of some of the names mentioned.
“Naftali Frenkel and Gil-ad Sha’ar, both sixteen, disappeared from the West Bank along with nineteen year-old Eyal Yifrach last Thursday. The Foreign Secretary William Hague has condemned the abductions. Naftali Frenkel’s mother Racheli is hoping for their safe return.”
The item then cuts to a recording of Racheli Frenkel speaking, after which Nicky Campbell continues by introducing the spokesman for Israel’s Prime Minister’s office, Mark Regev.
NC: “Why have you arrested the Speaker of the Parliament?”
Mark Regev: “He’s one of the most senior Hamas operatives in the West Bank and as such, the assumption is that he has knowledge of where these three boys are. Ultimately, we’re conducting at this moment obviously a very large police and security operation to try to locate these three kidnapped boys. That’s our obligation: to try to find them.
NC: “Can you tell us anything more about that Palestinian report of a man being killed by Israeli soldiers – reports from Ramallah?”
MR: “I know that as our people went in to look for places of…suspicious places where these boys might be being hidden, there were some places of violence where our troops were attacked, but we’re not trying to hurt anyone. We’re just trying to get our three teenagers back home.”
Campbell then goes on to quote some unsourced numbers, critically failing to inform audiences that most of the people to whom he refers are convicted terrorists.
NC: “Well, at the end of April 2014 – many would point this out – 5,021 Palestinian security detainees and prisoners were held in Israeli prisons – 373 of them from the Gaza Strip. An additional 1,333 Palestinians were held in Israeli Prison Service facilities for being in Israel illegally. You know, the Palestinians would say perhaps these people were in the West Bank illegally. But those figures; there are those that would argue that gives this some perspective.”
MR: “I beg to disagree. When someone has been convicted and tried through a due process of law, you can’t compare that with a terrorist coming up to a bus stop in the West Bank and kidnapping three youngsters. It’s just no comparison; morally, legally, it just doesn’t compare. We have a situation where there’s a huge operation for these three young men – or boys, I should say – that we’re looking for. We’re very concerned about their lives, we’re very concerned what is happening to them now and what could happen to them in a short time and so of course we’re making a maximum effort to try to find them. Now this is a terrorist kidnapping and I don’t think it can be compared with anything else.”
The item ends at that point. Campbell’s attempt to compare the kidnapped Israeli teenagers with convicted terrorists, his claim that the issue of those terrorists convicted by a due process of law “gives…some perspective” to the topic of three youths kidnapped whilst travelling home from school, his odious implication that the teens were in fact to blame for their own abduction because they “were in the West Bank illegally” and that their being forcefully held by parties unknown is comparable to the detention of Palestinian illegal infiltrators into Israel, clearly calls into question the impartiality of this item.