Orla Guerin tells BBC audiences Al Aqsa Mosque ‘sacred to Jews’

Viewers of BBC television news programmes on the evening of October 9th saw a report by Orla Guerin – usually the corporation’s correspondent in Cairo. The report was also posted on the BBC News website under the title “Fears of ‘third intifada’ in Middle East“.Guerin filmed 9 10

Whilst Israel is of course in the Middle East, it is not the Middle East. That overly dramatic and exaggerated style – characteristic of Guerin’s reporting – continues in the introduction to the report, with audiences receiving clear early signposting telling them which side they should view as the underdog, violent rioters portrayed as “protesters” and Ramallah – under PA rule for two decades – presented as “occupied”.

“Venting their anger on the streets today in the Israeli occupied West Bank. In Ramallah; soldiers doing battle against protesters with slingshots. It’s a familiar scene but is another generation about to replay the bloodshed of the past?” [emphasis added]

Guerin continues:

“Well the confrontation here is escalating. There are Palestinian stone-throwers on this side, Israeli security forces on the other. Rubber bullets have been used and there have been injuries [sic] taken away. The fear is that clashes like this could spread. Some here already calling this the third Intifada – or uprising. Israeli security officials are playing that down but the police are on alert, especially in Jerusalem’s Old City. It’s home to the Al Aqsa Mosque; sacred to Muslims and Jews. Tensions over the shrine have fuelled the latest unrest and unleashed a new danger for Israelis: stabbing attacks.” [emphasis added]

Either veteran reporter Orla Guerin is astoundingly under-informed or – like her colleague Nawal Assad – she has elected to deliberately amplify popular propaganda according to which “Palestinian Muslims consider all that compound [Temple Mount] to be the Al Aqsa Mosque”. Either way, a correction of the inaccuracy promoted by Guerin is clearly necessary. 

Guerin likewise misleads audiences with the inaccurate claim that stabbing attacks on Israelis are “new”. Perhaps if the BBC had reported more than just 0.81% of the terror attacks which took place in the first eight months of this year, its correspondents would be aware of the fact that sixteen stabbing attacks took place between January and August 2015.

Guerin’s report continues with portrayal of one of the fatal attacks in the current wave of terror as a “lone wolf knife attack”:

“This amateur video was filmed in the Old City last Saturday. The distant screams are from an Israeli woman whose husband had just been killed in a lone wolf knife attack. We met Adele Bennett in hospital, recovering from thirteen stab wounds. Her young son, Natan, being treated alongside her. She says Palestinian bystanders ignored her desperate cries.”

Audiences are not told that the two year-old is being treated because he too was wounded in the same terror attack. 

Voiceover: “I searched for some humanity. I begged for help. I told them please take the children. I was met with stares of hatred. They threw things at me, spat in my face and shouted at me to die.”

Guerin continues with unchallenged amplification of falsehoods concerning an incident in which a boy was accidentally killed during violent rioting near Bethlehem:

“A short distance away in Bethlehem a Palestinian mother mourns her son. Abdel Rahman Abdullah who was thirteen was killed on Monday by Israeli troops. His mother, Delal, being comforted by neighbours, denies there were clashes at the time. She says a sniper shot her son through the heart. She wants another uprising.

Voiceover: I hope there will be a third Intifada so we can have freedom. The injustice must stop. We are tired and our children are tired. Every day someone gets killed. At night my daughter is calling for her brother.”

Guerin refrains from clarifying to audiences that Bethlehem has been under sole Palestinian Authority control since 1995 and she next fails to provide audiences with adequate context concerning the violent rioting at the border fence near Nahal Oz by some 200 Gaza Strip residents affiliated – according to Arab media outlets – with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“But there were more new dead in Gaza today where six Palestinians were killed in clashes.”

Guerin’s closing remarks steer audiences towards the inaccurate view that the current wave of terror is the result of frustration resulting from the failure of the political process.

“The unrest is spreading – carried forward by those tired of waiting for a Palestinian state. Israel’s president says both sides are sitting on a volcano.”

Neither the Palestinian Islamic Jihad nor Hamas – which has spent months trying to augment its terror activities in PA ruled areas – are interested in a negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Guerin’s framing of the background to this latest wave of terror (of course never named as such by the BBC) is therefore as misleading to audiences as her amplification of propaganda and falsehoods and her portrayals of violent rioters as underdog “protesters” and terrorists inspired by serial incitement as “lone wolves”. 


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