BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – September 2015 & Q3 2015

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during September 2015 (Hebrew – here) shows that throughout the month a total of 223 incidents took place: 151 in Judea & Samaria, 68 in Jerusalem and four incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip.

The agency recorded 199 attacks with petrol bombs, four shooting attacks, one stoning attack and 15 attacks using explosive devices. One Israeli civilian was killed and two wounded in the stoning attack in Jerusalem on September 13th and another Israeli civilian was wounded in a shooting attack on her vehicle on September 9th.  

Of the four incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip, two received a total of nineteen words of coverage on the BBC News website in an article on another topic, one was not reported at all and one was mentioned – also in an article on a different subject – but the fifteen words of coverage were later deleted.

The fatal incident which took place in Jerusalem on September 13th was reported three days later, notably with no mention of the identity of the perpetrators of the attack. The September 9th incident received no BBC News coverage. An article which appeared on September 18th made brief references to two additional incidents in passive language which failed to clarify to readers who was responsible for the attacks.

“In East Jerusalem, police said three border guards were injured by a fire bomb thrown at their vehicle”

“Also in East Jerusalem, a bus was attacked with stones and set ablaze” [all emphasis added]

The death, on September 7th, of a third victim of the arson attack in Duma which took place at the end of July was reported on the BBC News website.

In conclusion, the vast majority of the attacks which took place during September were once again ignored by the BBC and those which were reported did not receive dedicated coverage but brief mentions in articles concerning other topics. Hence, BBC audiences were not aware of the trend of rising terrorism which preceded the surge in fatal attacks beginning at the start of October 2015.

Table terror Sept 15

Throughout the first three quarters of 2015 BBC News reported just 1.08% of the terror attacks which actually took place. Its record on coverage of Israeli fatalities stands at 25% whilst 100% of Palestinian fatalities have been reported.

In some recent articles appearing on the BBC News website since mid-October, audiences have seen the following graph, indicating that BBC News can locate and report information relating to terror attacks against Israelis when it finds it appropriate to do so.

graph stabbing attacks BBC

However, the provision of that information ten months into the year is symptomatic of the approach voiced by Jerusalem Bureau correspondent Kevin Connolly earlier in the month.

“I mean we were just going back through our own news archive here. It’s far from scientific but we would say that more than twenty Palestinians have died in political violence on the West Bank this year, at least a half a dozen Israelis. Often there’s a level of tension that bubbles away somewhere below the level, frankly, that you need to make global headlines.” [emphasis added]

Unfortunately for its audiences, as the BBC’s record shows, that approach means that as far as terrorism against Israelis is concerned, they cannot necessarily “expect the BBC to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world” as its public purpose remit obliges.

And of course one cannot but wonder if 1,206 terror attacks on British citizens in a period of nine months would be similarly considered a “level of tension” unworthy of “global headlines”. 

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism – August 2015

BBC News coverage of terrorism – July 2015

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – June 2015 & Q2 2015




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