BBC rejects complaint about framing of IDF investigation

Readers may recall that in a report published on the BBC News website on October 1st (discussed here) the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman claimed that: [emphasis added]

“Meanwhile, the IDF’s competence or willingness to investigate itself over fatal incidents has been increasingly subject to question this year.

After the killing in Jenin of the Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Israeli officials gave misleading statements to the media, before a final internal probe falsely suggested a soldier probably mistakenly shot her because he was being fired at by militants from her location at the time.”

CAMERA UK submitted a complaint to the BBC regarding those claims. We pointed out that Israeli officials did not give “misleading statements to the media” but rather that they issued statements based on the information available at the time, prior to a professional investigation into the incident. We enquired as to the basis of Bateman’s assertion that the IDF investigation “falsely suggested” that Abu Akleh may have been accidentally hit by IDF gunfire aimed at armed terrorists.

The BBC’s response to that complaint indicates in no uncertain terms that – like the persons and bodies it has chosen to quote and promote since literally just hours after the incident took place – the corporation dismisses the findings of the IDF’s professional investigation and prefers to believe the version of events put forward by Abu Akleh’s employer, among others:

“Thank you for getting in touch about our article Palestinian deaths toll in West Bank hits 100 this year.

Tom Bateman’s point is that the final internal Israeli military probe into the killing concluded that the soldier mistakenly shot Shireen Abu Akleh while under fire from militants.  This version of events had already been demonstrated to be false before the publication – not just by numerous eye witnesses, but crucially video footage of the moments before her death shows no firefight taking place, and people walking casually in the road where the shooting occurred seconds later.

Immediately after Ms Abu Akleh was killed, numerous Israeli officials, off and on the record, issued statements saying it was “likely” that she had been killed by Palestinian militants firing indiscriminately. They even distributed social media footage of Palestinian gunmen shooting in order to reinforce that claim, even though the shooting depicted was filmed several hundred metres away in a different part of Jenin camp.

The next day the Israeli government issued a statement complaining that accusations that an Israeli soldier had been responsible for the death were “misleading and irresponsible” because they came “without concrete evidence.”    

Just one day later, Israel’s military conceded the possibility that the journalist may have been killed by one of its own soldiers.” [emphasis added]

Readers may recall that the BBC had promoted a similar claim in September in its reporting on the results of the IDF investigation:

“However, video evidence from the moment Abu Aqla was shot does not back the claim of militant gunfire in the spot that journalists and bystanders had gathered.”

The fact that the cited video footage – and most of the eyewitness accounts – was supplied by Al Jazeera staff obviously does not worry the BBC, despite the fact that – as it reported at the time – that often discredited and blatantly partisan Qatari state funded media outlet was very quick to jump to conclusions:

“Al Jazeera said Israeli troops “deliberately” shot her.” […]

A statement from Al Jazeera said: “In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli Occupation Forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine, Shireen Abu Aqla, targeting her with live fire early this morning… while conducting her journalistic duty.”

In an age in which anyone can assume the title of ‘journalist’ (or ‘human rights activist’) in order to promote their political agenda, it is extremely disturbing to see the BBC unquestioningly line up behind a version of events that it has not independently verified, particularly when that account comes from a blatantly partisan party which accepted an award from a terrorist organisation for its ‘journalism’.

But as we see, the BBC prefers to close ranks with fellow ‘journalists’, regardless of their reputation or integrity, even when that means intentionally smearing the findings of an official professional investigation.  

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  1. says: Neil C

    Heads they win, tails the real investigators lose, yet another glaring example of the anti-Israel agenda of the BBC and their illegal practice of using biased ‘witnesses’ to verify their propaganda ridden reporting, contrary to the requirements of their royal charter. #defundthebbc

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