Eighth BBC article on search for kidnapped teens ignores attack on Ramallah police

June 22nd saw the publication of the BBC News website’s eighth article on the subject of the ongoing search for three Israeli teenagers kidnapped on June 12th under the title “Israeli troops kill Palestinian in West Bank clashes“.kidnapping art 8

In common with most previous BBC reports on the topic, this one too presents the kidnapping in ambiguous terms.

“The three teenagers disappeared while hitchhiking home”

“They [Palestinian officials] say the troops – who were searching for three Israeli teenagers believed seized in the West Bank last week – fired on stone-throwing crowds.” […]

“Israel accuses Hamas militants of seizing the teenagers, who went missing on 12 June. The Israeli search has been accompanied by a crackdown on Palestinians linked to the group. […]

“Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar, who are both 16, and 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach went missing at a junction near the city of Hebron as they hitchhiked their way home. Naftali Frenkel holds US-Israeli citizenship.” [emphasis added]

As has been previously pointed out here, Alon Shvut junction where the kidnapping took place is 27 kms from Hebron: hardly “near”. Only right at the end of the article are readers informed that:map Alon Shvut

“Earlier this week, the Israeli police revealed that one of the students had alerted them by phone, minutes after being kidnapped.”

The article reports on the deaths of two Palestinians.

“Israeli soldiers have shot dead a Palestinian man in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian officials say. […]

The man shot in Nablus was named by the Palestinian security officials and medics as 26-year-old Ahmad Fahnawi.

Israeli officials said he had approached soldiers in a “threatening manner”. His family said he had been undergoing treatment for mental illness.”

Regarding the incident in Ramallah, the report states:

“Another Palestinian was reportedly killed in separate clashes in Ramallah. Israel says it is checking the reports.” […]

“Palestinian medics were also quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that a 30-year-old Palestinian man was shot dead overnight in Ramallah in a separate incident.

No more details of the clashes were immediately known.”

Notably, the report does not inform readers that violent rioting was also directed at the Palestinian police force in Ramallah on the same night – including an attack on a police station – and that the possibility that the man may have been killed by Palestinian forces is being investigated, according to the Israeli media.

The report amplifies Palestinian Authority propaganda, but yet again fails to inform readers of expressions of support for the kidnappings by Palestinian officials and public alike.

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of using the teenagers’ disappearance as “a pretext to impose tough punishment against our people and besiege them”.”

Inaccurately describing the concurrent terrorist missile fire against civilians in communities in southern Israel as a “separate” issue, the report states:

“In a separate development, Israeli fighter jets hit several targets in the southern Gaza Strip late on Saturday, following rocket fire into southern Israel, officials say.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it would “not tolerate attempts to harm Israeli citizens or IDF soldiers, and will act against anyone who operates terror against Israel”.

There were no reports of any casualties.”

Readers are not adequately informed of the fact that throughout Saturday three missiles fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in Israeli territory or that on the morning of June 22nd a man from the Gaza Strip carrying a grenade managed to infiltrate into the Eshkol region.

Likewise, once again no mention is made in this report of the vast numbers of weapons and arms caches discovered by security forces during their search for the three abducted youths.

As this report and its predecessors show, BBC News has adopted a template for reporting on this search and rescue operation. The kidnappings themselves are reported in ambiguous terms, Palestinian public and official lauding of the act is erased from every report, along with the seizure of weapons caches. Missile fire from the Gaza Strip is afforded a cursory ‘last-first’ mention only when Israel responds and the notion of “punishment” of Palestinian civilians is promoted. None of the BBC News website’s reports so far has ventured out of the boundaries of that editorial template.  

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