BBC framing of Palestinian terror and violence continues to fail audiences

Early on the afternoon of November 29th the BBC News website published a report by David Gritten which, after several amendments, currently appears under the headline ‘Five Palestinian men killed in West Bank violence’.

As indicated by the subheading to the report, that inadequate headline does not reflect the fact that the BBC is clearly aware that all five of those “Palestinian men” were involved in violent activity at the time of their deaths, including one who carried out a terror attack.

The first of those “clashes” took place in Beit Ummar late on November 28th when Israeli troops were attacked by rioters after their vehicles broke down.

“Israeli troops whose military vehicles broke down near the West Bank city of Hebron late Monday clashed with a group of Palestinians and required support from forces to safely withdraw from the area, the Israel Defense Forces said. […]

The IDF said the two jeeps, on a routine patrol, got stuck in the city due to “technical malfunctions.”

Palestinians opened fire, and others threw stones and explosive devices at the soldiers, who responded with live fire and other riot dispersal means, the military said.”

The description of that incident found in the BBC report’s includes superfluous punctuation around the word rioters and erases the shooting at Israeli forces: [emphasis in bold added]

“Mufeed Ikhlil, a 44-year-old father of six, was shot in the head by Israeli troops during overnight clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians in Beit Ummar, about 10km north of Hebron, the Palestinian health ministry said. He died in hospital.

Eight other Palestinians were shot and injured, according to the ministry.

The IDF said two army jeeps got stuck in Beit Ummar due to “technical malfunctions” during a patrol.

The troops in the vehicles were attacked by Palestinian “rioters” who “hurled rocks and improvised explosive devices at the soldiers”, it added.”

The second incident took place early on the morning of November 29th in Kafr Ein.

“The Israel Defense Forces said clashes had erupted in the town during a routine military operation.

“A violent riot developed with the participation of several suspects who threw cinderblocks and Molotov cocktails at IDF forces,” the military said in a statement.

The IDF said troops returned fire at the suspects, and said it was aware of reports of two Palestinians being killed in the incident.”

The BBC’s portrayal of that incident ignores the political affiliations of the people described as “students”:

“Jawad Rimawi, 22, and Thafer Rimawi, 21, who were students at Birzeit University, were killed early on Tuesday about 16km (10 miles) north-west of Ramallah.

Palestinian sources said the brothers had visited a relative in the village of Beit Rima as Israeli forces carried out an operation in the area.

As the forces withdrew, confrontations broke out with dozens of young Palestinians, who threw stones and petrol bombs, the sources added.

The Palestinian health ministry said the brothers were shot and taken to a local hospital, where they died.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that a “riot was instigated by a number of suspects” during a “routine” overnight activity.

“The suspects hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails toward the soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means and live fire,” it added.”

The third incident was a vehicular attack near Kochav Ya’akov.

“An Israeli soldier was seriously wounded Tuesday in a car-ramming attack in the West Bank, the military and medics said.

Surveillance camera footage of the attack near the settlement of Migron, just north of Jerusalem, showed a black crossover SUV making a turn after spotting the soldier walking from a parking lot to a sidewalk. The vehicle rammed into the woman on the sidewalk, before driving over a small garden area, and onto a highway, fleeing the scene. […]

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it treated the woman, approximately 20 years of age, and took her to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek with a serious head injury. The hospital said her condition was stable.

The attacker was shot by officers after a brief chase, police said. He was also taken to Shaare Zedek, where medical officials declared him dead.

Police officials said officers found a knife in his car.”

The BBC’s reporting of that attack does not clarify that the soldier is a woman and does not describe the incident as terrorism:

“Later on Tuesday, the IDF said a man rammed one of its soldiers with a vehicle near Kokhav Yaakov, a Jewish settlement about 2km south-east of Ramallah.

“Israel police forces in the area pursued the assailant and neutralised him,” it added.

Israel’s ambulance service said the 20-year-old soldier was in a serious condition at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

The hospital confirmed that the driver was killed. Israeli media identified him as Rani Abu Ali, a 45-year-old man from Beitunia.

CCTV footage apparently from the incident show an SUV turning around in a car park and then accelerating directly towards a soldier walking on a pavement.”

The fourth incident took place in al Mughayyir.

“The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said the man was shot by Israeli forces in the village of al-Mughayyir, near Ramallah.

He was identified by Palestinian media as Raed Ghazi Naasan, a member of the Palestinian Authority security services.

The Israel Defense Forces said Palestinians had hurled stones at soldiers who arrived in the town to notify residents of illegal construction. Some parts of al-Mughayyir are considered Area C, where Israel maintains civilian control.

A suspect hurling a Molotov cocktail at troops was shot at, the IDF said, adding that “hits were identified.””

The BBC’s description of that incident links to official Palestinian Authority media but fails to clarify that the attacker throwing a petrol bomb was a member of the PA security forces:

“On Tuesday evening, another Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes in al-Mughayyir, a village about 16km north-east of Ramallah, Palestinian health officials said.

The official Wafa news agency cited a local Palestinian activist as saying that troops opened fire when a group of young men attempted to block their entry to the village, hitting one of them with a live round and several others with rubber-coated bullets.

Raed Ghazi Naassan was wounded in the chest and died in hospital, Wafa said.

The IDF said Palestinians threw stones at soldiers who were serving demolition orders for illegal buildings in the village, lightly injuring one soldier.

The troops fired at a suspect who hurled a petrol bomb at them and “hits were identified”, it added.”

That omission is particularly significant seeing as the BBC has for months avoided the topic of  the growing number of members of the Palestinian Authority security forces who have taken part in armed clashes with the IDF or terror attacks.

Quoted comment in the BBC’s report comes only from the Palestinian Authority (dominated by Fatah, which put out a mourning poster for the five deceased) and from a terrorist organisation:

“West Bank-based Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called the three killings an “ugly crime”, while the spokesman of President Mahmoud Abbas warned that “the daily killing of Palestinians is a declaration of war”.

A spokesman for the militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said Israel’s “escalation of its crimes and terrorism will be met with an escalation of resistance”.”

In the report’s final two paragraphs BBC audiences are informed for the first time of the second fatality (three days earlier) resulting from the terror attacks in Jerusalem on November 23rd. Unlike the article’s portrayal of the five Palestinians killed while engaged in violent rioting and terrorism, the victim is not named and readers are not told how many children he had.

“Tuesday’s incidents come five days after co-ordinated bomb attacks at bus stops on the outskirts of Jerusalem killed a 15-year-old Israeli-Canadian boy and a 50-year-old Israeli man. Thirteen other people were wounded.

So far, no group has claimed it was behind the twin bombings, which were praised by Palestinian militants.”

The BBC’s chosen framing in paragraphs five and six of this report conforms to long evident editorial policy:

“The UN has warned that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “again reaching a boiling point” after an escalation violence in the West Bank and Israel.

Israeli forces are carrying out search-and-arrest raids almost every night in the West Bank, where at least 140 Palestinians have been killed this year, most by Israeli fire. More than 30 Israelis have also been killed amid a spate of gun and knife attacks by Palestinians.” [emphasis added]

Once again the BBC fails to provide any explanation of the factors behind the rise in the number of terror attacks and promotes false equivalence by refraining from clarifying that the “search-and-arrest raids” are actually counter-terrorism operations in response to attacks and planned attacks. No effort is made to inform readers that the “140 Palestinians” killed includes a high proportion of terrorists and/or people attacking Israeli forces, whereas the majority of the Israelis and foreign nationals killed since March were civilians.

Clearly audiences cannot “engage fully” as “informed citizens” while the BBC continues to frame this subject matter in such an inadequate manner.

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4 Comments

  1. says: Sid+Levine

    As usual the BBC continues to act as the English mouthpiece for the PA/PLO/Fatah/ PFLP – it cannot accept that Jewish lives are at risk in Israel soly because it cannot remove its blinkers.
    It is time HM Government stopped funding the BBC whilst it shows such extreme racism.
    One only has to listen to the Today programme to understand that the BBC current affairs editors and production teams have distorted ideas of what is newsworthy and ride roughshod over conventional wisdom of honesty, ethics and morals

  2. says: Neil C

    In other words the BBC are happy to tell the general public a bunch of lies, distort the truth and put their own pro-Islamic slant on every aspect of the news

  3. says: Pamela Levene

    The “two-state solution”.
    Ironically, what most people don’t seem to get is that the Palestinian leadership don’t want a Palestinian State. Look how many times Israel has held talks, offered them a State, only to have it blown up in our faces … literally.

    If the Palestinians had a State, then Israel would be within its rights to retaliate when the missiles, bombs, incendiary devices and terror tunnels were used to attack Israel’s innocent citizens.

    Then the Palestinians couldn’t use the “poor us … just freedom fighters not terrorists” excuse! And their “State” would have to be held responsible for the war crimes that at present they commit with impunity whilst the world media remains silent.
    Or even … with no doubt well-meaning but naive people swallowing the lies… defends their atrocities!

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