In January 2007 the BBC News website published a backgrounder titled “Analysis: Palestinian suicide attacks“. Over a decade later that item (apparently prompted by a terror attack in Eilat on the same day) is still available online and that means that audiences still encounter BBC content which tells them that:
“Israel has accused the Palestinian Authority of funding some suicide attacks and rewarding the families of attackers. Evidence for this has been sketchy.” [emphasis added]
In order to make that latter statement, the anonymous writer of this backgrounder had to ignore a wealth of evidence that had at the time already been in the public domain for several years including documentation of PA funding of terrorism seized during the second Intifada.
Evidence of the Palestinian Authority’s financial rewards to the families of terrorists was also abundant by the time those words were written and payments to terrorists in Israeli prisons and their families were enshrined in PA legislation more than two years before that 2007 backgrounder was published.
As regular readers are no doubt aware, that practice has continued throughout the last decade and salaries for convicted terrorists, benefits for released prisoners and payments to the families of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks have become part of the PA’s annual budget.
However, rather than carrying out any serious reporting aimed at informing audiences of the facts surrounding this issue, the BBC has, with very few exceptions, chosen to ignore it and on occasion has even amplified the Palestinian Authority’s PR messaging.
“He [Netanyahu] was referring to a Palestinian Martyrs’ fund. It pays pensions to people it regards as victims of the occupation, including the families of individuals who have been killed attacking Israelis. There is also a fund to support Palestinians who have been imprisoned by Israel. The Palestinians have compared the payments to the salaries Israel pays to soldiers.” [emphasis added] Jeremy Bowen, BBC News website, May 23rd 2017.
The BBC’s guidance on online content states that:
“However long ago our online content was first published, if it’s still available, editorial complaints may legitimately be made regarding it.”
Obviously then the inaccurate and misleading claim that there is only “sketchy” evidence of Palestinian Authority financing of and rewards for terror in that 2007 backgrounder needs to be corrected in order to avoid the waste of public resources on justified complaints. Clearly too BBC audiences’ understanding of the the background to the frequently recurring topic of Palestinian terrorism would benefit from some accurate, impartial and comprehensive coverage of this much neglected issue.