Unrelated ‘related reading’ shoehorned into BBC report on Palestinian affairs

On December 15th a report by David Gritten headlined ‘Nizar Banat: Palestinian activist’s family asks ICC to probe death’ was published on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page.

“The family of a Palestinian activist who died in the custody of Palestinian security forces has submitted a case to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Nizar Banat, an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority (PA), was beaten on the head and body during a raid in June 2021 in the occupied West Bank.

His family urged the ICC to prosecute those responsible, saying they had lost confidence in the PA’s judiciary.

It is the first time a Palestinian has referred their leadership to the court.”

Despite the fact that the report clearly pertains to Palestinian affairs, it is nevertheless tagged ‘Israel and the Palestinians’, with the sole possible explanation for that being found in the 508-word report’s final paragraph:

“The ICC prosecutor opened a formal investigation into alleged war crimes in the occupied territories last year, following a request from the Palestinians. Israel, which rejects the ICC’s jurisdiction, said it would not co-operate.”

While links to two related previous BBC reports from July and September 2021 are offered in the body of the article, below it – under the heading ‘More on this story’ – readers find links to three BBC reports (discussed here, here and here) which are not directly related to the story of Nizar Banat’s death.

Between June and September 2021 the BBC News website published six items relating to Banat’s death and the subsequent protests. The story was also covered on BBC radio stations, including in a 50-minute edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘The Real Story’ aired in early July 2021.

As documented at the time, one of the three contributors to that programme claimed that Banat’s death had been coordinated with Israel.

El Kurd: “It’s not the first time that the Palestinian Authority has coordinated with the Israeli occupation forces to assassinate political activists, people who are dissidents, people who reject the Palestinian Authority’s role. You know this happens a lot of the time. And the Palestinian Authority, it’s not only like not going to admit to its own crime but […] it’s playing its role. Its role at this point in time is to perpetuate itself and to ensure security for its Israeli counterparts. […] he lived in an area where the Palestinian Authority cannot function without Israeli approval. Like their security forces cannot enter into that area in Hebron without Israeli approval. So it was clearly a premeditated and coordinated assassination as has happened many times and is the role that the Palestinian Authority plays.”

A Times of Israel report from October 2022 (which notes the release of detainees accused of killing Banat in May 2022; a topic the BBC News website did not find newsworthy at the time) includes the following:

“Ghassan Banat and Ghandi Rubi, the Banat family’s lawyer, said that legal proceedings since Banat’s death have disproven previous reports of Israel giving the PA forces prior permission to penetrate into its jurisdiction, perhaps as a quid pro quo. The spokesperson for COGAT also dismissed the allegations.

Rubi noted that H2 is a “wide area,” and said the PA security forces entered in plainclothes while traveling in a stolen vehicle with Israeli plates.”

The BBC World Service radio programme promoting the claim that Israel was involved in Banat’s death is however still available online.

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1 Comment

  1. says: Neil C

    It was shoehorned in because there was no other way of making Israel look bad and could possibly detract audience attention away from the real issue the corrupt Palestinian leadership. #defundthebbc

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