A counter-terrorism operation that took place in Nablus (Schem) early on the morning of May 4th was the topic of a report which appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page later in the day.
The original version of that report titled “Israel says it killed Palestinian gunmen who shot dead British-Israelis” was credited to David Gritten and it opened by describing Hamas terrorists who murdered three female civilians as “militants”: [emphasis added]
“Israeli security forces say they have killed two Palestinian militants accused of shooting dead a British-Israeli woman and her two daughters in the occupied West Bank last month.
A third militant who allegedly aided the pair was also killed during the raid in the city of Nablus.”
Later on in the report readers found uncritical amplification of a PA official’s portrayal of a counter-terrorism operation against members of an internationally designated terrorist organisation as “crimes”:
“Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh condemned deadly raid in Nablus and said he held the Israeli government responsible for “these crimes against Palestinian people“, according to the Wafa news agency.”
Several hours later that report was amended and the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman was also credited. Among the additions to the report was signposting of the victims of the Hamas terror attack on April 7th as ‘settlers’:
“Their family moved to Israel from the UK nine years ago and lived in the West Bank settlement of Efrat.”
In a subsequent version of the report, that paragraph was modified to read:
“The family lived in the settlement of Efrat, in the occupied West Bank.”
Readers find uncritical amplification of Palestinian claims, with no evidence to suggest that the BBC had independently verified them:
“Paramedics said four people were taken to hospital, two with bullet wounds to the legs, and that dozens more suffered from tear gas inhalation. The Palestinian health ministry said those affected included pupils in a nearby school.
Fawaz Bitar, a paramedic with the Palestinian Red Crescent, told the BBC that crews in clearly marked vests could not reach the site of the damaged building for an hour and a half because Israeli troops targeted them with tear gas and rubber bullets.”
The background to the story provided in the later versions of the report includes promotion of language used by terrorist organisations.
“Many Palestinians see the emergent armed groups in Nablus and Jenin as one of only effective forms of resistance to Israel’s military occupation, now in its 56th year.”
The report also promotes the talking points of unnamed “human rights groups” and briefly mentions a topic on which BBC audiences have not seen any in depth reporting: the PA’s failure to meet its security obligations under the terms of the Oslo Accords in parts of the territory it administers.
“The Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), seen by many ordinary Palestinians as weak and ineffective, has lost security control to the groups in much of the northern West Bank. US-backed attempts to strengthen the PA’s grip appear so far to have failed, while human rights groups criticise Israel for repeatedly using excessive force in civilian areas targeting militants.”
The later versions of the report go on to mention a stabbing attack that took place on May 4th:
“In a separate incident on Thursday just to the south of Nablus, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian woman after she allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier in the town of Hawara. The IDF said the soldier suffered minor injuries.”
The reason for that qualification is unclear: the woman stabbed the soldier in his shoulder.
The later versions of the report close with the BBC’s now standard unhelpful portrayal of casualties:
“Since the start of this year, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Eighteen Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have been killed in attacks by Palestinians.”
As ever, the BBC fails to inform its audiences that the majority of the Palestinians killed since the beginning of 2023 (January and February here, March here) were members of terrorist organisations and/or males involved in violent activity at the time.
Of the twelve Palestinians killed during April (see here, here, here and here), six were carrying out terror attacks at the time. At least six had links to terrorist organisations and three were members of the Palestinian Authority security forces.
That information is freely available in the public domain. It is hence unclear why – as it has been doing for well over a year – the BBC continues to promote generalised statements about the numbers of Palestinians killed which actively hinder audience understanding of the issue.