BBC News website alters description of Palestinian terrorist

The October 3rd BBC News website report on the terror attack at Lions Gate – which created considerable controversy with its original headline “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two” – continued to be amended in the two days following its publication and on the evening of October 4th a footnote was added to the article.

Pigua Lions Gate footnote

Earlier on the same day, the article’s headline was changed for the fourth time to read “Israelis killed in Jerusalem, Palestinians banned from Old City” and the report was updated with news of an additional incident in which fifteen year-old Moshe Malka was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist from Issawiya.Palestinians banned art 1

“In the second incident, a Palestinian teenager stabbed an Israeli teenager on a street in West Jerusalem in the early hours of Sunday. The attacker was also shot dead by police, similar to the earlier incident on Sunday.”

Similar wording was seen in a subsequent report which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on October 5th under the headline “Jerusalem Old City ban on Palestinians after killings“.

“In the second incident, a Palestinian teenager stabbed an Israeli teenager on a street in West Jerusalem in the early hours of Sunday. The attacker was also shot dead by police.”

Technically, the BBC’s identical description of both the nineteen year-old terrorist Fadi Alun and his fifteen year-old victim as teenagers may be considered accurate but notably, the terrorist who perpetrated the earlier attack at Lions Gate is described in different terms in both articles, despite also being 19 years old. The first report reads:

The Palestinian man – named as Mohammad Halabi, a 19-year-old law student from a village near Ramallah in the West Bank – attacked Mr Bennett, his wife, their two-year-old son and baby daughter who were on their way to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement.” [emphasis added]Palestinians banned art 2

The second report reads:

A Palestinian man attacked Aharon Benitah, 21, his wife, their two-year-old son and baby daughter who were on their way to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement.” [emphasis added]

Even more remarkable is the fact that the description of Fadi Alun in the first report was changed. Three earlier versions of the report read:

“In the second incident, the Palestinian man stabbed the teenager on a street in West Jerusalem in the early hours of Sunday. The attacker was also shot dead by police, similar to the earlier incident on Sunday [sic – the earlier incident took place on Saturday evening].” [emphasis added]

However, the words “the Palestinian man” were replaced with “a Palestinian teenager” in version 7 of the report.

No less notable is the fact that despite having had to change two inaccurate headlines to earlier versions of the first report, the BBC chose to inaccurately advise readers that Palestinians had been “banned from Old City” in its later headline when in fact – as the second article showed – the temporary arrangements were distinctly more nuanced

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