BBC’s Bowen makes inaccurate claim in Lebanon withdrawal Tweets

On the evening of May 23rd the BBC’s Middle East editor took to Twitter – as he has often done in the past – to write a thread about an incident which occurred on that date in the year 2000.

Bowen wrote: [emphasis added]

“20 years ago today the Israeli army killed my friend and BBC colleague Abed Takkoush in South Lebanon. They fired a tank shell into his car from their side of the border wire. They claimed we were terrorists. Abed left a wife and 3 teenage sons

I’d decided to stop to do a piece to camera. I got out of the car with cameraman Malek Kanaan. Abed stayed in the car on a phone call to his son. A minute or two later a Merkava tank crew about a kilometre away fired at the car.

It was the middle of a bright sunny day, with perfect visibility. They were close enough to see us clearly with the sophisticated optics in a Merkava tank. Yet they claimed we were terrorists.

Israel was pulling out of a long occupation of Lebanon because Hezbollah had made it too costly for them, by killing Israeli soldiers. They were on high alert but we were miles behind their retreating forces. We were journalists doing our jobs.

Abed should be celebrating the end of Ramadan with his family. They suffered a grievous loss. Israel has every right to defend itself. But we were no threat, civilians covering the story, moving openly in bright sunlight. It took many hours before Abed’s body could be recovered.”

Did the Israeli army really claim that Bowen and his crew “were terrorists”? Of course not.

Looking into south Lebanon from the Menara area

As we have documented here in the past, early on the morning of Tuesday May 23rd 2000 – the day before the completion of the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon – a tank crew stationed on the border fence near Kibbutz Menara received an intelligence alert concerning the likelihood of terrorists firing anti-tank missiles at IDF tanks and armoured vehicles. Later in the day, the crew spotted a Lebanese vehicle transporting men in civilian clothing and suspected that these were Hizballah terrorists carrying equipment for firing an anti-tank missile. The tank crew was given permission to fire at the suspected terrorists. 

Later it emerged that the men were actually a BBC film crew headed by Jeremy Bowen and that driver Abed Takkoush had been killed. The IDF investigated the incident and issued an apology. Understandably, that tragic incident appears to be still very much at the forefront of Bowen’s mind, although he clearly still does not accept that it was possible to mistake three men travelling in a war zone in a car with Lebanese plates, and carrying camera equipment, for Hizballah terrorists dressed – as was very often the case – in civilian clothing. 

Bowen’s account of the trauma he experienced 20 years ago must of course be considered within the framework of the position of Middle East editor which he chose to accept a few years later. That role makes him the gatekeeper of all “accurate and impartial” BBC reporting from the Middle East.

Yet as we see, in his fairly frequent accounts of that day in May 2000 Bowen continues to promote inaccurate allegations.

Related Articles:

JEREMY BOWEN: “THE ISRAELIS WOULD HAVE KILLED ME TOO”

JEREMY BOWEN’S PINK SHIRT

CONTEXT-FREE TWITTER MESSAGING FROM BBC’S JEREMY BOWEN

JEREMY BOWEN’S ANNUAL REMINDER OF WHY BBC COVERAGE OF ISRAEL IS AS IT IS

BBC’S BOWEN TELLS HIS ANNUAL LEBANON STORY ON RADIO 4

THE BBC ME EDITOR’S RESPONSE TO CRITICISM OF HIS RECENT REPORTING

BBC RADIO 4 LISTENERS HEAR A CONTEXT-FREE STORY FROM JEREMY BOWEN

 

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2 Comments

  • Bowen is a bitter and twisted old man who has never admitted the truth that his own gross stupidity killed his camera man. It is however a bad lapse of judgement by the BBC to elevate such a person with so much hatred and prejudice into such a position where he can brainwash his reporters and control the M.E. news output to slant it against Israel in support of terrorist regimes, whose constitutions demand the destruction of Israel. If the Director General of the BBC is not able to see the damage this man has done to the reputation of the BBC then he too should join the dole queue alongside Bowen who is a disgrace to his so called profession.

  • He is absolutely right and not bitter. Israel call everyone that is against their policy terrorist . They are freedom fighter and fighting the occupation forces . the land stolen and it is not belong to them. they need to leave to border of 1967.

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