Previously we looked at a BBC News website report which mentioned an incident near Jit on the morning of March 12th in which three Palestinian terrorists from the Lions’ Den group attacked Israeli soldiers and were shot dead:
That incident was also reported on BBC domestic and international radio stations – likewise without any mention whatsoever of the terrorist affiliations of the perpetrators, despite the fact that the information was already in the public domain.
In a news bulletin aired just after 1 p.m. UK time in the March 12th edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘The World This Weekend’ (from 03:57 here) listeners were told that: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]
Newsreader: “Israeli forces have shot dead three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. There’s been surging violence in the region in recent months. From Jerusalem, our Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman.”
Bateman: “The three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces at a junction in a town adjacent to a Jewish settlement. The Israeli military says gunmen had shot at an army outpost and its forces had returned fire. Pictures show a car possibly used by the Palestinians after apparently being searched. The army says it seized M16 rifles and arrested a fourth militant. Deadly violence is continuing to mount. Nine Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in raids in the space of three days last week while a Hamas gunman targeted Israelis in central Tel Aviv on Thursday wounding three, one of them critically.”
As we see, Tom Bateman made no effort to inform Radio 4 listeners that the “three Palestinians” were claimed by the Lions’ Den terror group which stated that they had been trying to ambush the Israeli soldiers.
His claim that “nine Palestinians” were killed during the week of March 5th to 11th likewise airbrushes the terror affiliations of those individuals: three members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad killed in Jaba on March 9th and six terrorists from Hamas, the PIJ and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades killed in Jenin on March 7th.
While the BBC News website did not publish any reporting about the Hamas terror attack in Tel Aviv on March 9th, as we see once again its Middle East correspondent was fully aware of that incident.
The incident in Jit was also featured in an item aired on BBC World Service radio’s ‘Newsday’ on March 13th (from 37:42 here). Presenter Rob Young introduced that nearly four-minute-long item as follows:
Young: “Three armed Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces on Sunday when they opened fire on Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank. This is the latest in what has been a marked surge in violence between Palestinians and Israelis in recent months.”
Once again BBC audiences around the world were not informed that the three were members of the Lions’ Den terror group.
Ignoring BBC editorial guidelines concerning contributors’ affiliations, Young then brought in his sole interviewee without providing listeners with any information concerning the highly relevant issue of the record of both the NGO concerned and the specific interviewee pertaining to Israel.
Young: “On the line is Omar Shakir who’s from Human Rights Watch in the Jordanian capital Amman. Welcome to the programme Omar. What do you know about this latest incident in the West Bank?”
Shakir had nothing to tell listeners about that incident that had not already appeared in the media during the previous 24 hours. He did however employ the predictable tactic of blaming Israel for Palestinian terror.
Shakir: “This latest incident, as you described, appears to be a firefight between armed Palestinian groups which have been organising in the last year in response to an escalation in Israeli military raids following attacks by Palestinians inside Israel about a year ago.”
As ever, BBC audiences heard nothing on the relevant topic of how those groups “have been organising”, including the smuggling of weapons into areas ostensibly under Palestinian Authority control and Hamas’ practical and financial roles in the establishment, arming and direction of new and existing terror groups.
Shakir went on to mention “unprecedented levels of violence including killings of Palestinians, the highest numbers we’ve seen in years” but listeners heard nothing at all about the numbers of Israelis murdered in Palestinian terror attacks during the same period of time. He continued:
Shakir: “The Israeli government has been using unlawful force against Palestinians for decades. Human Rights Watch has documented killings of bystanders, of protesters, ah…you know, of civilians that are in the wrong place at the wrong time back, you know, really decades. And so what we’re seeing now is the difference in degree but not a difference in kind. And so, you know, while the Israeli government claims that this is about Palestinian violence – and there has been an uptick in Palestinian violence – the reality is that there’s a daily structural violence and repression that takes place against Palestinians…”
Young then asked whether Israeli troops are “able to fire back” if fired upon such as in the previous day’s incident in Jit to which Shakir replied by quickly changing the subject:
Shakir: “Absolutely. I mean if there’s an imminent threat to life…ah…that’s…that’s a situation under international human rights law where forces can use force. But even in recent days we’ve seen firing into crowds of civilians, we’ve seen Israeli forces fire on people as they’re running away from the scene unarmed. I mean this is the reality of the vast majority of Palestinians killed.”
Shakir’s opaque reference to incidents in “recent days” may include the one in Nablus on February 22nd in which at least six members of terrorist organisations were killed during a counter-terrorism operation. His claim that “the vast majority of Palestinians killed” were in “crowds of civilians” or “running away from the scene unarmed” is of course entirely inaccurate but Young not only failed to challenge that disinformation, allowing him to continue:
Shakir: “So yes, lethal force can be used in these narrow circumstances and yesterday’s event may well have been [sic] one of those but that’s by no means the majority of cases where Palestinians are being killed and this is based on years of Human Rights Watch research on the ground.”
Young then added his own comment:
Young: “Yeah in the past week we saw three Palestinians killed during an Israeli military raid on a west Bank village, Jaba, and also a Palestinian gunman opened fire in a busy part of Tel Aviv, wounding three people before he was killed.”
Listeners were not informed that the “three Palestinians” killed in Jaba were all members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or that the Tel Aviv terrorist was a member of Hamas.
Young closed the item with questions about “the prospects…that this cycle of violence [sic] can be calmed down” which Shakir used as a cue to continue to deflect listener attentions from the issue of Palestinian terrorism.
Shakir: “The Israeli government has been quite clear about its intent to continue onwards even during Ramadan with home demolitions, you know, with its building of settlements and other oppressive policies so unfortunately I think unless we see a real change of policy, which doesn’t seem to be coming either from Israel or from the international community, more of the same is likely to continue.”
The BBC has more than enough experience of interviews with Omar Shakir and other Human Rights Watch employees to know that listeners were not going to get fact-based accurate and impartial analysis of the topic of this nearly four-minute item from that inadequately introduced source.
In recent weeks reports appearing on the BBC News website have repeatedly airbrushed terrorist organisations from the picture provided to BBC audiences (see ‘related articles’ below) and failed to clarify that the vast majority of Palestinians killed during 2022 and 2023 were terrorists or males engaged in violent activity at the time.
As we see, BBC domestic and international radio has embraced the same editorial line.