BBC News website coverage of two days of terrorism

On the afternoon of February 26th two Israeli brothers – Hallel Yaniv, 21 and Yagel Yaniv, 19 from Har Bracha – were shot dead in their car in a shooting attack in the town of Huwara, south of Nablus.

Later that evening scores of Israeli citizens descended on Huwara and carried out a vigilante rampage that included numerous cases of arson. One Palestinian man was shot dead in unclear circumstances.

The following day, February 27th, terrorists carried out three drive-by shooting attacks on Route 90 in the Jordan Rift Valley, one of which resulted in the murder of Elan Ganeles, an Israeli-American visiting Israel to attend a wedding.

How did the BBC News website cover those three incidents?

The website did not produce any stand-alone reporting on the terror attack in Huwara in which the two brothers were killed. The first mention of those murders came in a report by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell about the same day’s Aqaba summit which was published on the evening of February 26th under the title ‘Israel and Palestinians pledge to reduce violence’.

“As the talks took place, a Palestinian gunman shot dead two Israelis in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli military said it was pursuing the gunman and reinforcing troop numbers in the West Bank, deploying two additional battalions. It confirmed that one of those killed in the village of Hawara, near Nablus, was a soldier.

Israel’s government described the killings in Hawara as “a Palestinian terror attack”.”

In fact, as reported by the Times of Israel, neither of the two brothers “was a soldier” at the time of their murders:

“Shmuel Yaniv said that Hallel had just finished his army service in the Navy as the deputy commander of a missile boat, and younger brother Yagel was hoping to join a top elite unit when he started his military service.”

The original version of Knell’s report stated:

“Local media say the victims were brothers in their twenties who live in Har Bracha, a settlement 8km (5 miles) away.

Graphic footage from the scene showed the victims’ car riddled with bullets and Israeli medics treating the casualties in the immediate aftermath.”

However that information was subsequently removed from the article.

On February 27th the BBC News website published a report by David Gritten headlined ‘Settlers rampage in West Bank villages after Israelis killed’ in which readers were told that:

“Israeli settlers have attacked Palestinian villages in the northern occupied West Bank, after two settlers were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman. […]

It followed the killings of the two Israelis – brothers from a nearby settlement – along a highway.

The Israeli military said it was continuing to search for the Palestinian who shot Hillel Yaniv, 22, and Yagel Yaniv, 20, and that it had moved in hundreds of extra troops.”

And:

“Settlers had called for a march to Hawara in order to “seek revenge” for the deadly attack on Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, who lived in the settlement of Har Bracha, which is 1.2 miles south of Nablus.

The brothers were driving through Hawara when a Palestinian man rammed their car and then shot them both several times.

Their mother, Esty, said: “Words can’t describe this disaster. Instead of bringing children to the wedding canopy, we need to bury them.”

She also appealed for unity among Israelis and stressed that “responsibility to guarantee security rests solely with the army”.”

The synopsis to a filmed report with no commentary that appeared in the ‘updates’ section of the website’s ‘Middle East’ page on February 27th under the title ‘West Bank town set alight by settlers after Israelis killed’ tells BBC audiences that:

“Israeli settlers have attacked Palestinian villages in the northern occupied West Bank, after two settlers were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman.”

Early on February 28th Israel time the BBC News website published a report by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman headlined ‘Hawara West Bank: ‘What happened was horrific and barbaric’’ in which the sole mention of the first terror attack reads as follows:

“On Sunday the Palestinian town was subjected to one of the worst cases of mass Israeli settler violence in years, hours after two settlers were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman.”

A caption to one of the photographs illustrating the article reads: “Israeli soldiers carry the coffin during the funeral of two Israeli brothers, Hillel and Yagel Yaniv”.

An additional report which appeared on the BBC News website early on February 28th Israel time – credited to George Wright and headlined ‘Israeli-American killed in West Bank as unrest intensifies’ – states:

“…two settlers, from a nearby village, were shot dead by a Palestinian on Sunday.”

And:

“Settlers had called for a march to Hawara in order to “seek revenge” for the deadly attack on Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, who lived in the settlement of Har Bracha, which is 1.2 miles south of Nablus.

The brothers were driving through Hawara when a Palestinian man rammed their car and then shot them both several times.”

That report by Wright also covers the third incident in which Elan Ganeles was murdered:

“An Israeli American has been shot and killed in the occupied West Bank as retaliatory unrest intensifies.

Elan Ganeles, 26, was killed in an attack on vehicles on a highway near the city of Jericho.” [emphasis added]

BBC News website coverage of the three incidents of terrorism on February 26th and February 27th can be summed up as follows:

  • The first terror attack in which Hillel and Yagel Yaniv were murdered did not receive any stand-alone coverage but was mentioned to one extent or another in five reports about other topics.
  • The terror attacks carried out by Israelis in Huwara were the topic of three dedicated BBC news website reports – two written and one filmed – and were also covered in the two additional reports on other topics by Yolande Knell and George Wright. The filmed report was also embedded into the articles by Gritten, Bateman and Wright.
  • The third terror attack in which Elan Ganeles was murdered was the subject of one BBC report.

The reports by Knell, Gritten and Wright include versions of the following statement:

“Since the start of this year, more than 60 Palestinians – militants and civilians – have been killed by Israeli forces. On the Israeli side, 14 people have been killed in attacks – all civilians, except for a paramilitary police officer.”

While it is good to see the BBC at long last taking the trouble to clarify that the overwhelming majority (92.8%) of Israelis murdered in terror attacks since the beginning of 2023 were civilians, the corporation’s now standard phrasing continues to fail to inform BBC audiences that the proportion of uninvolved civilians among the Palestinians killed in 2023 is around 9% at most. Some 60% of the Palestinians killed had affiliations to at least one terrorist organisation and three were members of the PA security forces. Some 21.5% of the Palestinians killed were carrying out terror attacks at the time while the vast majority of the rest were involved in violent rioting or exchanges of fire with Israeli forces carrying out counter-terror operations.

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4 Comments

  1. says: Neil C

    I blame the lack of accurate reporting of Palestinian terrorist incidents on tourists and Israeli citizens by the BBC as the trigger for this kund of retaliation by civilians legally living in Judea and Samaria. The BBC’s one sided pro-Palestinian reporting to the rest of the world needs to be addressed and rectified at the highest levels within the BBC whose management share the collective responsibility for perpetuating this conflict. #defundthebbc #journalismisdead

  2. says: Sid+Levine

    Neil is correct. However, the real blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the UK Jewish communal organizations that have permitted this reporting over 40 years without challenging the BBC and have buried their heads in the sand!

    Recently, these communal organizations are so keen not to show “offence” to the susceptibilities of the Muslims in the UK that they together with the UK “Jewish” media have started to attack the elected government of Israel rather than the BBC!

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