At around 16:30 on the afternoon of February 18th a terror attack took place in a busy supermarket.
“Two 14-year-old Palestinians carried out a stabbing attack Thursday afternoon in the Sha’ar Binyamin Industrial Zone north of Jerusalem. 21-year-old Sergeant Tuvia Yanai Weissman was killed and a 36-year-old Israeli man was moderately wounded.
The two Palestinian youths entered a Rami Levi supermarket and stabbed two Israelis. Shoppers there pushed the terrorists back with wagons. A citizen at the scene then shot them, seriously wounding them and preventing a more serious attack.
Weismann, a resident of Ma’ale Mikhmas in the Binyamin region of the West Bank, was married and was the father of a 4-month-old baby. He was a soldier in the 50th Battalion of the Nahal Brigade. When he was murdered he was wearing civilian clothes. He leaves behind his parents and three brothers.”
The first report on that incident appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page nearly six hours after it took place. A significant proportion of the report – titled “Israeli man stabbed to death in West Bank supermarket” – is made up of the template inserts found in recent months in any BBC News website report concerning terror attacks, with the first of those standard statements including superfluous qualification of the circumstances in which terrorists were killed.
“Since October, 30 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.
More than 160 Palestinians – mostly attackers, Israel says – have been killed in the recent unrest.” [emphasis added]
The second standard statement promotes PLO messaging whilst continuing to avoid any serious coverage of the issue of the incitement and glorification of terrorism coming from official Palestinian sources which underpins the current wave of terror attacks.
“The recent rise in violence is blamed by Palestinians on the continued occupation by Israel of the West Bank and the failure of the Middle East peace process.
Israel accuses Palestinian leaders and Islamist groups of inciting the violence.”
As usual, the words terror or terrorist are not employed at all in this report, which includes a link – under the heading “what is driving the violence?” – to a problematic backgrounder dating from last October.
The sections of the article dealing with the incident which is its subject matter did not initially identify the victim despite the fact that the information was available at the time of publication. The report was later amended to include the victim’s name – but no additional personalising details were provided.
“The victim has been identified as 21-year-old soldier Tuvia Weissman, who was off duty at the moment of the attack, the Israeli army said.”
In the first version of the report the location of the attack was described as follows:
“An Israeli man has been stabbed to death by two Palestinian teenagers in the occupied West Bank, officials say. […]
The attack happened at a supermarket at an Israeli-controlled industrial zone near Ramallah frequented by settlers.”
In fact the Rami Levy supermarket is also frequented by Palestinian shoppers and – like many other businesses in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial zone and additional similar locations in Area C – has a mixed Palestinian and Israeli work force. Whilst BBC audiences were not provided with any insight into the daily coexistence which is the rule at the location of the attack, the later version of the report was amended to acknowledge the fact that not only “settlers” shop there.
“It happened at an Israeli-controlled industrial zone market near Ramallah used by settlers and Palestinians.”
Over the last five months the BBC News website has settled into a method of reporting terror attacks against Israelis which is now entirely predictable. Articles invariably include the template inserts noted above and descriptions of the locations of attacks frequently include politicised terminology. Some reports – though by no means all – include the names of the Israeli victims but the absence of personalising and humanising details is glaringly apparent – especially when compared to BBC reporting on the victims of terror in other locations around the world.