Reviewing BBC News website reporting on the Eli terror attack

On the evening of June 20th the BBC News website published a report concerning a fatal terror attack which had taken place several hours earlier at a service station just outside the town of Eli.

The first three versions of that report were headlined “Four Israelis shot dead near West Bank settlement” with no mention of the identity of the perpetrators, despite the fact that in the text of the third version and in a tweet put out by a locally based reporter it is clear that the BBC was aware of the fact that the terrorists were Palestinians:

“Four others were wounded, one of them seriously, when two Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a petrol station and restaurant on a highway outside Eli.” [emphasis added]

Some four and a half hours after the report’s initial appearance its headline was amended to read “Four Israelis killed by Palestinian gunmen near West Bank settlement”.

In line with the selectively applied BBC editorial policy, the only mentions of terrorism in the various versions of that report come in the form of quotes attributed to Israeli officials and politicians.

“Defence Minister Yoav Gallant described the shooting as a terrorist attack.” (Version 3)

“Israel’s military said the assailants were “Hamas-affiliated terrorists”. […] Israel’s prime minister said “all options are open” in response to what he called the “shocking and abhorrent terrorist attack”…” [Version 4]

“Israel’s prime minister said “all options are open” in response to what he called the “shocking and abhorrent terrorist attack”…” [Version 5]

From the third version onwards the reports are credited to David Gritten and all promote linkage between that terror attack in Eli and incidents which took place the previous day, with the latter two versions amplifying messaging from Hamas but without clarifying that it stopped short of taking responsibility for the attack even though it did claim the perpetrators as members:

“This shooting comes a day after six Palestinians, including a teenage boy, were killed and more than 90 wounded in a raid by Israeli forces in the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Several Israeli soldiers were also wounded.

Overnight, another Palestinian man was killed by Israeli army fire near Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank.” [Version 3]

“Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem described the shooting as a “response to the crimes of the occupation [Israel] in Jenin refugee camp yesterday”.

Six Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy, were killed and more than 90 wounded during a raid into the camp by Israeli forces on Monday morning. Several Israeli soldiers were also wounded during the incursion.

Overnight, another Palestinian man was killed by Israeli army fire near Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank.” [Version 4]

“A spokesman for Hamas, Hazem Qassem, described the shooting as a “response to the crimes of the occupation [Israel] in Jenin refugee camp yesterday”.

Seven Palestinians were killed – including a 15-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl named Sadil Ghassan Turkman, who died of her wounds on Wednesday morning – and more than 90 wounded during a raid into the camp by Israeli forces. Several Israeli soldiers were also wounded during the incursion.” [Version 5]

Readers of all those three versions of the report – which was last updated the day after its initial publication – were not informed that at least four of the Palestinians killed during attacks on Israeli troops carrying out an arrest operation in Jenin on June 19th were members of terrorist organisations. Neither did the BBC bother to clarify that the “Palestinian man…killed by Israeli army fire near Bethlehem” on the evening of June 19th was throwing a petrol bomb at the time.

The three later versions of the report also include the following:

“Since the start of the year, more than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The figures include militants as well as civilians.”

That deliberately vague yet now standard BBC presentation of Palestinian casualties in 2023 continues to impede audience understanding of the fact that the vast majority of those killed were members of terrorist groups and/or males engaged in violence at the time.

Related Articles:

PALESTINIAN CASUALTIES IN 2023 – THE FACTS

OMISSIONS IN BBC REPORT ON JENIN COUNTER-TERRORISM OPERATION

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