On the evening of January 19th a report by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman was published on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page under the headline ‘Palestinian teacher shot while giving first aid to militant’.
That report relates to an incident which took place in Jenin during a counter-terrorism operation earlier the same day, in which two Palestinians – one of whom was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist – were killed.
Bateman’s report opens:
“Israeli forces shot dead a 57-year-old Palestinian teacher who went to give first aid to a fatally wounded militant, according to paramedics and the man’s family.
Jawad Bouaqneh, a father of six, was killed outside his family home in Jenin refugee camp.
It came during a night of Israeli army raids in the occupied West Bank.
His death raises the number of Palestinians killed this month to 17, including civilians and militants.”
Notably, this is the first BBC News website report since the beginning of the month relating to any of those seventeen Palestinians killed and so BBC audiences have no idea how many of them were civilians and how many were terrorists and/or engaged in violence at the time of their deaths.
That, however, comes as no surprise: throughout 2022 the BBC regularly promoted statements concerning the number of Palestinians killed which failed to clarify that the vast majority were involved in terrorism or violence at the time. This latest report includes a similarly unhelpful portrayal:
“Last year in the West Bank more than 150 Palestinians were killed, nearly all by Israeli forces. The dead included unarmed civilians, militant gunmen and armed attackers.”
Much of Bateman’s reporting on security issues in the later months of 2022 – some of which is repromoted as ‘more on this story’ at the bottom of this latest report (see ‘related articles’ below) – focused audience attentions on the exceptional cases which did not involve “militant gunmen and armed attackers”.
While Bateman’s claim that the seventeen Palestinians killed in January 2023 includes “civilians and militants” is not inaccurate, it certainly does not provide BBC audiences with the complete picture.
January 1st: Muhammad Samer Hushiya (21) and Fouad Mahmoud Ahmed ‘Abed (17) – Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades & Hamas.
January 3rd: Adam Issam Shaker Iyad (15) – PFLP
January 5th: Amer Abu Zeitoun (16) – AAMB
January 11th: Ahmed Amer Abu Juneid (21) – AAMB
“During the activity, suspects hurled stones and cinder blocks from rooftops at the forces in a way that endangered the lives of the troops, who responded with riot dispersal means and live fire,” the IDF said, adding that one suspect was hit.
January 12th: Habib Muhammad Abd al-Rahman Kamil (25) and Abd al-Hadi Fakhri Nizal (19) – Palestinian Islamic Jihad
January 14th: Yazen Samer al-Jabari (19) – AAMB
“Two members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were killed after they opened fire at Israeli forces in the northern West Bank on Saturday morning, the military and the terror group said.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops operating near the village of Jaba’, south of Jenin, came under fire from a passing vehicle. The IDF said troops returned fire at the car and identified several suspects being hit.
In a statement, the PIJ said members of a local wing based in Jaba’ had opened fire at the Israeli forces in the area.”
January 15th: Ahmed Hassan Abu al-Jalil Kahala (45). See here.
“According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops identified a suspicious vehicle near the settlement that allegedly refused to stop for a routine inspection.
“Following the identification of this suspicious activity, the soldiers used riot dispersal means in order to detain one of the suspects in the vehicle,” the IDF said in a statement.
The army said a “violent confrontation” began, during which the suspect attempted to grab a soldier’s gun. “The soldiers used live fire toward the suspect,” the IDF said, adding that he was hit.”
See also here for later developments.
January 19th: Adham Jabareen, 28 – PIJ – and Jawad Bawaqta, 57.
To summarise, at least eleven of the seventeen Palestinians killed since the beginning of the month were linked to terrorist organisations and one was a member of the PA security forces. Four of those killed were carrying out shooting or stabbing attacks not related to counter-terrorism operations (none of which were reported by the BBC). The vast majority of the others were engaged in some form of violence at the time of their deaths such as rioting, throwing cinder blocks or attempting to snatch a soldier’s gun.
Notably, however, this first BBC report of the month (and the year) on the topic of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces once again does not make any attempt to provide a clear picture of the topic as a whole and instead focuses audience attentions on an exceptional incident resulting in the death of a teacher.
The BBC’s public purposes oblige it to provide “accurate and impartial news…so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues”. Selective coverage of Palestinian casualties clearly does not meet that obligation.