Anyone who bothered to read right to the end of the article titled “Israel seals off Hebron after surge of attacks” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on July 1st will have come across the following portrayal of an incident which took place on that day.
“Elsewhere in the West Bank a Palestinian man died during clashes at the Qalandiya checkpoint, near Ramallah, where Muslims were trying to cross to Jerusalem for prayers.
Local hospital officials say he had a heart attack brought on by inhaling tear gas.”
That account does not clarify to audiences that what the BBC describes as “clashes” was actually violent rioting by a mob of Palestinians without entry permits who tried to breach the checkpoint by force. While Palestinian sources have indeed claimed that the man’s death was related to the use of tear gas during attempts to bring the violent rioting under control, in contrast to the impression given in this report, the connection has not been definitively established.
“A Palestinian man died Friday at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank, between Ramallah and Jerusalem, as some security forces faced off against some 1,000 Palestinians rioting at the site.
The protests erupted when dozens of Palestinians tried to break through the checkpoint in order to attend the final Friday prayers of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the flashpoint Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Channel 2 reported. Security forces at the site used riot dispersal measures, which Palestinian sources said included tear gas.
According to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, the man in his 40s choked as a result of the use of tear gas, and was taken to hospital in Ramallah, where he was pronounced dead.
An Israeli military source said, however, that the man’s death was caused by a heart attack, not from inhaling tear gas, the Walla news website reported.
Three police officers were lightly injured in the violence, Walla said. The crossing was closed temporarily due to the riots.”
The article also included reporting on the terror attack which took place on Route 60 on the same day – as ever without any mention of the word terror.
“It comes after an Israeli man was killed and his wife and two children wounded after their car was fired on near the Jewish settlement of Otniel.
It was the second fatal attack on an Israeli in the West Bank in two days. […]
The victims of Friday’s attack were members of the same family. Local media named the dead man as 48-year-old Michael “Miki” Mark, a father-of-10.
He was killed when the car crashed after the attack. His wife and two children were taken to hospital for treatment.
Israeli forces were still searching for a Palestinian gunman.”
Readers of the report were told that:
“In the wake of the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israel to deduct from tax it collects on behalf of the PA the equivalent amount which the PA pays each month to Palestinian militants jailed in Israel.
“Israel believes that the encouragement of terrorism by the PA leadership – in incitement and in payments to terrorists and their families – constitutes incentive for murder,” the prime minister’s office said.”
As has been documented here on numerous occasions in the past, the BBC has long ignored the subject of the salaries paid to convicted terrorists and the financial benefits awarded to the families of deceased terrorists by the Palestinian Authority and/or the PLO, despite the relevance of that topic to general audience understanding of the background to the conflict and notwithstanding the particular relevance of the issue to British tax-payers. Most readers of this article would therefore lack understanding of the context to the Israeli government’s action and statement described above.
As we see, for the second time in one day, visitors to the BBC News website came face to face with a topic that the BBC has serially excluded from its framing for years. Obviously (if the BBC really does seek to meet its obligations to its funding public) one of the tasks at the top of the list for whoever replaces Kevin Connolly at the corporation’s Jerusalem bureau should be to try to compensate for those years of neglect by providing audiences with the information of which they have been deprived on the inter-related topics of Palestinian Authority incitement, glorification of terrorism and funding of convicted and deceased terrorists.