“Israeli soldiers destroyed an explosives workshop in Nablus, the military said early Tuesday, in an extensive raid on the West Bank city that sparked intense clashes, leaving five people dead, including the leader of a terror group, and over 20 injured, according to Palestinian health officials.
Blasts and gunshots rang out for over an hour in Nablus after a large convoy of Israel Defense Forces vehicles entered the West Bank city before 1 a.m. Tuesday. Nablus has been the focus of weeks of operations targeting the Lion’s Den terror group, responsible for a string of attacks on military positions, settlements and other targets.”
As we have repeatedly documented on these pages, the BBC has done very little to inform its audiences about the Lion’s Den terrorist group which emerged in Nablus in recent months and which has claimed responsibility for killing an Israeli soldier on October 11th as well as additional attacks.
Against that backdrop of chronic omission, listeners to the early edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newsday’ on October 25th heard an item (from 07:44 here) described as follows in its synopsis:
“The Palestinian health ministry says at least three Palestinians have been killed and nearly 20 others injured in a raid by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank.”
Tlhabi: “To the Middle East now. At least four Palestinians have been killed and nearly 20 others injured early on Tuesday in a raid by Israeli forces in the city of Nablus in occupied West Bank. [recording gunfire] Heavy gunfire was seen and heard in several videos shared on social media in what’s been the heaviest armed clashes for years in Nablus. We’re joined now by journalist Younis Tirawi. […] Tell us what’s the latest, what’s been happening.”
Tirawi: […] Well the latest is that the Israeli forces had launched a pre-emptive attack against a militant group that is known in Nablus as the Lion’s Den. The Lion’s Den has for several weeks now been threatening the Israeli security establishments of approaching security incidents. So the Israelis didn’t wait that long to take what happened into their own hands. So today they raided the city of Nablus and killed four Palestinians but also it’s worth to mention that they killed another Palestinian in Ramallah. So, yes, that’s a bit of background about what’s happening now in Nablus.”
Notably both Tlhabi and Tirawi repeatedly portrayed the people killed merely as “Palestinians”. In fact, the words terrorist and terror are completely absent from this entire four-minute item about a counter-terrorism operation against a terrorist group. Neither Tlhabi not Tirawi made any mention of the attacks previously carried out by the Lion’s Den, meaning that listeners were unable to understand that Tirawi’s claim of “a pre-emptive attack” was false.
The Jerusalem Post described the incident “in Ramallah” to which Tirawi referred as follows:
“A sixth Palestinian identified as 20-year-old Qusai Tamimi, was shot in the chest by troops in Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, after clashes broke out in protest of the raid on Nablus. According to the military, he was shot after throwing an explosive device toward troops.”
Tlhabi continued, employing the unhelpful BBC habit of describing events in Israel and Palestinian controlled areas as “the Middle East” while once again airbrushing attacks by the Lion’s Den from the picture:
Tlhabi: “Mmm…so yeah…so why now? Why this raid by the Israeli soldiers and even the Lion’s Den themselves: why putting themselves in the line of fire? Because a lot of the violence in the Middle East we know is kind of cyclical. There’ll be an event that kind of triggers it and is a catalyst for ongoing clashes.”
Tirawi: “OK so what started this wave, it didn’t start right now. It started back in February when the Israeli undercover forces killed three Palestinians in the heart of Area A, which is full control of the Palestinian Authority.”
The incident to which Tirawi referred was reported by the BBC at the time as follows:
“Three Palestinian men accused by Israel of carrying out a spate of attacks have been shot dead in an Israeli operation in the occupied West Bank.
The military wing of the Palestinian Fatah faction confirmed that the dead men were its members…”
Tlhabi however made no effort to inform listeners that the “three Palestinians” were members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist organisation and Tirawi continued uninterrupted:
Tirawi: “In the occupied territories it’s known that the people that are murdered by the Israeli forces become lighthouses. Lighthouses encourages Palestinians to take their own revenge in their own hands and that’s what happened with the Lion’s Den. The thing is that the Lion’s Den has been retaliating for, for example, in last August when they killed Ibrahim al Nabulsi; a very known popular Palestinian who was wild famous in TikTok.”
Once again Tlhabi failed to intervene in order to clarify to listeners that al Nabulsi was a terrorist responsible for attacks against both soldiers and civilians rather than a mere social media user. She subsequently also failed to clarify to her audience that the recent closure on Nablus was imposed after the terror attack in which Staff Sgt Ido Baruch was killed.
Tirawi: “So what happened is that they began to retaliate for the attacks happening. We have to understand that this is not a moment of operation that happened at the same…the same time. But this actually has been coming for around two weeks now when the closure of Nablus started where Israeli forces restricted movement for the biggest economic hub in the northern West Bank for two weeks. And let me tell you something; I think they did the same thing that they did in Gaza back in August. They waited a couple of days. They actually wanted to do…to…to launch a pre-emptive attack so they just launched it for something precious. And today it was a commander and spokesman of the Lion’s Den, Wadi al Houh.”
If the ‘Newsday’ production team bothered to peruse Tirawi’s Twitter account before inviting him on the programme, they would have noticed Tweets mourning the terrorist Wadi al Houh and others from the Lion’s Den group which – one would have thought – should have brought them to the conclusion that he was not the most impartial and objective sole contributor to put on air an hour and a half later.
Tlhabi: “Hmm. So what is likely to happen then? You’ve given us the history and the background but will this particular event then aggravate the situation further? Can it get any worse?”
Tirawi: “Indeed. That’s what’s going to happen I think in my personal opinion. Because the Lion’s Den occurred or become a militant group because someone was killed. And the same thing what happen in Jenin and the same thing happened last week in Ramallah when someone from Dir Jarir village was killed during gunfire exchange. Violence – targeted assassinations – committed by Israeli forces only leads to more violence. I think, in my personal opinion, that we’re going through not an intifada per se but I think a mini-intifada and an uprising that I don’t think would end in the seeing future.”
The incident “last week in Ramallah” to which Tirawi referred is apparently this one:
Tlhabi closed the item at that point.
Tlhabi: “Journalist Younis Tirawi, thank you very much for giving us that update there.”
Contrary to Tlhabi’s claim, Tirawi clearly did not provide listeners to this item with “the history and the background” to the story. Instead, BBC audiences around the world heard four minutes of blatant whitewashing of terrorism and distortion of counter-terrorism operations which contributed absolutely nothing to their understanding of this specific story or the wider picture.