A post by CAMERA Arabic.
BBC Arabic’s recent profile piece – “What you must know about the Islamic Jihad movement”, November 13th – introduces the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to the website’s readers but omits and distorts a number of important details from its history and downplays its designation as a terrorist organisation.
[all translations, emphases and in-bracket remarks are by CAMERA Arabic]
“Ever since it was founded, the movement [i.e. PIJ] declared it was responsible to several bombings which had targeted Israel, starting from the eighties. The best known one is an attack in Beit Lid which caused the death of 22 Israeli soldiers in 1995.
The movement has also committed attacks in Tel Aviv, including launches of the “Fajr” and “al-Quds” missiles.
[…] The United States views the movement as a terrorist ‘organisation’, and its leaders have been listed over the years on the “most wanted” board of the American intelligence services.”
Omitted and distorted facts:
1) The Beit Lid 1995 attack killed 22 people – 21 soldiers and one civilian.
2) The Beit Lid attack is the only PIJ attack mentioned by name in the entire article. Regardless of how “well known” it is (it was the first double suicide bombing attack in Israel’s history and is the PIJ-orchestrated attack with the highest number of casualties to date), ignoring other attacks committed by the organisation creates the erroneous impression that the PIJ targets soldiers rather than civilians.
In fact, over the years PIJ terrorists have deliberately and consistently attacked civilians, more often than not choosing them over soldiers and police officers as easy targets. Since its establishment in the early 1980s, PIJ terrorists killed or assisted others in killing around 300 Israelis, more than 210 of whom were civilians. Around two-thirds of PIJ-orchestrated attacks killed only civilians. Similarly, more than half of the deadly attacks that PIJ committed jointly with other organisations (Fatah/Hamas) claimed only civilian lives. Nevertheless, the PIJ celebrates the attackers who belong to its ranks, as well as their heinous deeds (links in Arabic).
3) The attacks carried out by PIJ terrorists in Tel Aviv that are mentioned in the profile claimed the lives of at least 16 civilians – yet the BBC Arabic website chose not to inform its readers of that fact despite having cited an example a PIJ attack that it inaccurately claimed had killed only soldiers.
4) Along with the United States and Israel, the following countries consider PIJ a terrorist organisation: the EU, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the BBC’s own home country the United Kingdom. BBC Arabic however mentioned only the US and Israel.
Additionally, this article breaches the BBC Academy’s style guide regarding the use of the word “Palestine” by twice referring to the West Bank and Gaza Strip using that terminology.