BBC reporting on Jericho counter-terrorism operation

On the afternoon of February 6th a report headlined ‘Palestinian gunmen killed in Israeli raid in Jericho’ was published on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page.

The original version of that report by Yolande Knell and Raffi Berg opened by telling readers that:

“Several Palestinian militants have been killed in an Israeli army raid near Jericho in the occupied West Bank, Israeli and Palestinian sources say.

The death toll is believed to be five, though it has not been confirmed if all the fatalities were gunmen.”

In paragraph five readers were told that:

“The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Sunday night’s operation aimed to arrest a “Hamas terrorist cell” which it said was behind a gun attack a week earlier on a restaurant near a Jewish settlement close to Jericho. No-one was injured in that attack.”

In paragraph ten readers discovered that the inverted commas in that fifth paragraph were superfluous:

“Hamas said its fighters were among the dead.”

Although Israeli journalists had reported that those killed were Hamas terrorists several hours before the BBC’s report appeared, it took another four hours for the report to be amended to provide a more accurate version of events which nevertheless promotes the myth of separate ‘wings’ to the Hamas terrorist organisation:

“Five Palestinian militants have been killed in an Israeli army raid near Jericho in the occupied West Bank.

The armed wing of the Islamist movement Hamas said all those killed were its members.”

The same myth of separate ‘wings’ to a terror organisation proscribed in full by the British government  is again promoted in paragraph ten:

“Hamas’ armed wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said those killed were its fighters.”

Despite that amendment, the latest version of the BBC report continues to promote superfluous punctuation:

“The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Sunday night’s operation aimed to arrest a “Hamas terrorist cell” which it said was behind a gun attack a week earlier on a restaurant near a Jewish settlement close to Jericho. No-one was injured in that attack.”

Another example of the use of superfluous punctuation that is the product of selectively applied BBC editorial guidelines on “use of language” is found in a description of an earlier counter-terrorism operation:

“Israeli-Palestinian tensions have spiralled since an IDF raid against militants in the West Bank city of Jenin 10 days ago left 10 Palestinians, including two civilians, dead. Israeli security services said a “terror squad” had been planning an imminent attack.”

Additional portrayal of the shooting attack at a restaurant at Almog Junction on January 28th that by chance did not result in any injuries or fatalities – and which the BBC News website did not report at the time – reads:

“…security camera footage showed a gunman and an accomplice entering the restaurant near Vered Yeriho settlement, where about 30 people were sitting.

Military sources said the man, armed with an assault rifle, fired one shot in the air before his weapon jammed and the pair left the scene in a car with an Israeli licence plate.”

BBC audiences are informed that:

“Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is less prominent in the West Bank. Palestinian towns and villages there are mostly governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is dominated by Hamas’ secular rival, Fatah.

The raid, coupled with activity by a Hamas cell, is unusual in Jericho, which has a relatively high concentration of Fatah-loyal PA security forces.”

Knell and Berg refrained from discussing why the PA security forces in Jericho had not themselves arrested that Hamas terror cell (or others from different factions) as they are obliged to do under the terms of the Oslo Accords. Neither did they take the opportunity to make up for the serial omissions in BBC reporting to date on the topic of Hamas’ long-running efforts to escalate violence in PA governed areas, which include incitement, recruitment, terror financing and the supply of weapons.

In line with long-standing BBC editorial policy, Knell and Berg employ the lazy practice of failing to adequately clarify that the majority of the Palestinians killed in 2022 and in January 2023 were terrorists or males engaged in violent rioting against Israeli forces at the time.

“At least 37 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank so far this year, including militants and civilians, as the military continues operations there.

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.”

Moreover, BBC journalists continue to promote false equivalence between counter-terrorism operations and terror attacks by failing to clarify that the former are the outcome of the latter and the majority of the Israelis killed over the same periods of time were civilians:

“Meanwhile, a series of attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs targeting Israelis, as well as militant gunfire at troops during arrest raids, killed more than 30 people including civilians, police and soldiers.”

Interestingly, one aspect of the counter-terrorism operation in Jericho that the BBC did not report is the fact that it was carried out by the mixed-gender ‘Lions of the Valley’ light infantry battalion and a significant proportion of the soldiers involved were women.

Related Articles:

BBC FRAMING CONTINUES TO BLUR UNDERSTANDING OF TERROR

BBC NEWS CONTINUES TO PRESENT A PARTIAL PICTURE OF TERROR IN JENIN

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1 Comment

  1. says: Sid+Levine

    Reported on BBC Radio 4 Today News at 2:06:35 minutes into program 8:06:35
    “Mention of Israeli army going into “refugee camps” near Jericho to remove “Armed Fighters” that

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