BBC WS radio tries to explain the ‘Lions’ Den’ – part one

Back in October of last year we observed that the BBC had done very little to inform its audiences about the Lion’s Den terrorist group which had emerged in Nablus a couple of months earlier and which had claimed responsibility for killing an Israeli soldier on October 11th as well as additional attacks.

That remained the case in the months that followed. However, following the counter-terrorism operation in Nablus on February 22nd in which at least six members of that group were killed, BBC World Service radio suddenly developed an interest in that terror squad.

An item [from 30:06 here] about that operation which was aired on the February 23rd afternoon edition of the ‘Newshour’ programme included an interview with an AP journalist which was also promoted separately on social media.

The interview was introduced by presenter James Coomarasamy [from 33:23 here] as follows:

Coomarasamy: “Well, for a bit more background on the situation in Nablus I’ve been speaking to Isabel DeBre, the Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press.”

Isabel DeBre began by claiming that Nablus “has really been the focus of Israeli arrest raids for the past year” and went on to give her account of the timeline of events. [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

DeBre: “So this really started ramping up last Spring after there were a series of Palestinian attacks actually within Israel that killed over 19 people. And after that Israel started really escalating these arrest raids. And that only spurred more violence honestly on the ground in Nablus, more hatred, and started really getting a lot of young Palestinian men who wanted to take arms against Israeli soldiers that were incurring their towns and wanted to, you know, to find some sort of resistance, inspired them to increase, you know, their militarisation and increase their activities.”

In other words, according to DeBre the sole factor behind the emergence of a new terror squad in Nablus was Israel’s efforts to curb lethal Palestinian terrorism. She continued:

DeBre: “So ultimately what happened was there was a group that emerged over the past year called the Lions’ Den which is a group of just young Palestinians…ehm…who were drawn to take up arms against Israel and get their hands on M16’s that were smuggled. They don’t even have much of an ideology. It’s not like they’re Islamic Jihad or Hamas in the same necessary way but they are violent and they did commit a series of shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlements and these were the guys that the Israeli military said it went after and that’s why they raided Nablus yesterday.”

Listeners were given no information about the sources of those smuggled weapons and the funding for their purchase.

Coomarasamy: “So this group, Lions’ Den, are not affiliated to those well known and well established militant groups?”

DeBre: “That’s correct. They call themselves independent of established factions. You know, they’re more secular, they not necessarily…they don’t believe in the same things that Hamas believes. They just truly want to resist the occupation and they have no faith in the peace process. It’s basically just a bunch of really disillusioned guys that have turned to violence. There are experts however that say they are funded by Islamic Jihad and Hamas but they don’t necessarily claim affiliations.”

Listeners were not informed that Nablus has been under Palestinian Authority control since December 1995. Neither were they told that the Lions’ Den includes members or former members of existing factions, as reported by Khaled Abu Toameh in September of last year:

“This is the first organized armed group that consists of gunmen belonging to a number of Palestinian factions – including Fatah, Hamas, IJ and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”

For example, of the six members of the Lions’ Den killed in Nablus on February 22nd, two also belonged to the PIJ and one to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.  

Coomarsamy showed no interest in providing his listeners with a deeper exploration of the topic of Hamas and PIJ funding for the Lions’ Den and Hamas’ broader efforts to ferment terrorism and violence in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem.

In response to a question from Coomarasamy about how the Palestinian Authority is “dealing with this organisation”, DeBre stated that “it’s been really difficult…because if they crack down too hard they’re only going to deepen their unpopularity…”. She went on to add:

DeBre: “…but really there’s not much that it [the PA] can do because Israel, you know, just keeps storming into these cities to make these arrest raids.”

Neither DeBre nor Coomarasamy bothered to clarify to listeners that if the Palestinian Authority fulfilled its obligations under the Oslo Accords to “act systematically against all expressions of violence and terror”, Israel would not have to carry out counter-terrorism operations in places in which the PA is responsible for security.

Clearly BBC World Service radio’s presentation of the Lions’ Den as “just a bunch of really disillusioned guys that have turned to violence” failed to provide its worldwide listeners with an accurate and in depth picture of that terrorist organisation and its role in the rising violence.

Moreover, the same World Service programme aired another item the next day on the same topic which will be discussed in part two of this post.

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  1. says: Sid+Levine

    Since BBC World Service is funded by UK FCO, this would appear to be the policy of HM Goverment Foreign Office – distort the truth in FAVOUR of the terrorists and condemn self defence by Israel.
    Clearly, Tim Davis – head of BBC must be called into account

  2. says: tiki

    When will the BBC start to inform their viewers/listeners that the only time the ‘occupied palestinian territories” were really occupied was from 1948-1967.

    1948, after the Brits were kicked out of their Colonial Occupation of Palestine (1918-1948) and the Jews could finally, after 2000 years of forced exile, begin to rebuild their 4000 year old historical land…5 Arab countries invaded them in a war of aggression, with the goal of ‘burning the country & it’s Jewish citizens down. The provinces Judea & Samaria & the eastern part of Jerusalem (the birthplace of Judaism) were lost to the Jordanians.

    The Jews were thrown out, the area made Jew free, no visit to Jewish Holy places on the Temple mount, Wailing Wall, Joseph Tomb & Jewish graves were turned into latrines for Jordanian soldiers. ……..**and the eternal Arab refugee was born, later turned into the palestinian refugee, elevated into the “palestinian people” for political purpose by Arafat & Russia.

    1967, after again a war of aggression started by the Jordanians, with the same goal, Jordan lost the occupied Jewish lands which than went back to their proper owners….the Jews.

    Needles to say that in these 19 years of Jordanian occupation, no ancient palestinian dynasty was restored & no historic palestine rebuild.

    It seems that it takes only 19 years of foreign occupation to rewrite history, legalize war crimes by making the so called palestinians the original owners of 4000 year Jewish lands.

    Putin understood this message & went for it. He knows that it will take only 19 years of occupation to legalize his war crimes & occupation of foreign lands.

  3. says: Malone Cooper

    Sure, all this terrorist group is doing is ‘resisting the occupation’. Had their leadership not rejected every offer for the Palestinians to no longer be ‘occupied’, to have their own state, there WOULD be no ‘occupation’. But then what would they do for the rest of their lives when they’ve been so indoctrinated to hate and kill Jews.

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