BBC News continues to avoid the background to Palestinian fatalities

On the afternoon of December 12th the BBC News Twitter account promoted a report published on the BBC News website:

That link lead to a report by Raffi Berg which was originally titled “Palestinian girl shot dead on roof of West Bank home”. Several hours later the headline was changed to “Israel says likely killed Palestinian girl in error”.

The incident to which the article relates took place the night before in Jenin when Israeli forces carrying out an operation to arrest wanted terrorists were attacked by Palestinian terrorist militias.

“Armed clashes erupted after undercover Border Police officers entered Jenin and arrested three suspects, with Palestinian terrorists firing at the officers and throwing explosives at them. The officers, along with IDF soldiers, returned fire, hitting a number of the terrorists.

The Israeli forces seized an M-16 firearm used by the terrorists to fire at them. No Israeli personnel were injured.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Jenin Brigade announced that it was part of the clashes with the Israeli forces in the city.”

During the exchanges of fire, a sixteen-year-old girl who had been standing on a rooftop in the vicinity was shot. The IDF immediately launched an investigation and preliminary findings were made public several hours later.

“The IDF, citing an initial probe of the shooting, said a Border Police sniper fired at Palestinian gunmen who were shooting at soldiers from rooftops during the raid.

“Following a preliminary investigation, it was found that there is indeed a high probability that the girl who was killed was hit by an accidental shot fired at armed men on a roof in the area, from which shots were fired at the forces,” the IDF said in a statement Monday afternoon.

“It appears the girl who was killed had been on the roof of one of the houses near the gunmen,” the military said.

The IDF dismissed claims that the teen was shot on purpose as “unfounded and baseless.””

The opening lines of the BBC’s report on that incident promote an unevidenced allegation made by a Palestinian Authority official with a broader agenda.

“Israel says its forces appear to have unintentionally killed a 16-year-old Palestinian girl amid a gun battle with militants in the occupied West Bank.

The body of Jana Zakarneh was found on the roof of her house in Jenin after the firefight on Sunday night.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accused Israel of killing the teenager “in cold blood”.”

The report later notes the preliminary findings of the IDF investigation, with the addition of superfluous punctuation:

“An IDF statement later on Monday said according to initial findings, Zakarneh had been near gunmen who had opened fire on troops and thrown explosives and Molotov cocktails at them from roofs in the area.

The soldiers responded with live fire towards the suspects, it said.

“The IDF and its commanders regret any harm to uninvolved civilians, including those who are in a combat environment and in close proximity to armed terrorists during exchanges of fire.” it added.

It said 18 wanted people, including three “suspected of terrorist activity”, were arrested in the operation.”

While this report by Berg is notably more balanced and less polemical than some of the BBC’s previous reporting on fatal incidents in Judea & Samaria, it nevertheless provides yet another example of the background information essential for full understanding of the story being presented in an unhelpful manner, as has now become standard practice in BBC reporting.

“Jana Zakarneh’s death is the latest in a spiralling toll of Palestinian fatalities this year. In the West Bank, more than 150 – civilians, militant gunmen and armed attackers – have been killed, nearly all by Israeli forces.

The IDF has been carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank as part of an operation against militants which began in March after a wave of attacks in Israel by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs left 17 Israelis and two Ukrainians dead.

The spree of killings was the deadliest Israel had seen since 2015, leaving the country in shock.

The IDF has said that a total of 31 Israelis have been killed in attacks this year.”

Once again the BBC refrains from adequately clarifying that (as recently acknowledged by a Fatah official) a high proportion of the Palestinians killed this year were terrorists and/or people engaged in violent rioting against Israeli forces whereas the majority of the Israelis killed over the same period of time were civilians.

As in previous reporting, this latest article once again made no effort to provide readers with an explanation of the factors behind the rise in the number of terror attacks this year such as the Palestinian Authority’s loss of control over parts of the territory, the participation of members of the PA security forces in terrorism and violence or foreign funding and weapons supplies for terrorist organisations.

Significantly, the BBC has to date made no effort whatsoever to inform its audiences that Israel’s counter-terrorism operations in Judea & Samaria in recent months have foiled around 500 potential terror attacks according to military officials.

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