Omissions in BBC report on Jalame counter-terrorism operation

On the afternoon of June 22nd the BBC News website published a report by David Gritten concerning a counter-terrorism operation which took place the previous evening.

Both the headline – “Rare Israeli drone strike kills Palestinian militants in West Bank” – and the report’s opening paragraph refer to “militants” even though five paragraphs later, it is clear that the BBC knows full well that all three were members of terrorist organisations.

“Three Palestinian militants have been killed in a rare Israeli drone strike in the occupied West Bank, amid escalating violence in the territory. […]

Palestinian news agency Wafa identified them as Mohammed Bashar Uweis, 28, Suhayb Adnan al-Ghoul, 27, and Ashraf Murad Saadi, 17, and said they were all from the city of Jenin.

The militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) said Ghoul and Saadi were its fighters, while Uweis was from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the armed wing of the Fatah movement.”

The reference to “escalating violence” in that first paragraph of course airbrushes the fact that it is the rise in the number of terror attacks by Palestinian groups which lies behind that.

Readers are told that:

“The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its soldiers identified a vehicle carrying gunmen who had carried out a shooting at a checkpoint near Jalama, a town about 3.5km (2 miles) north of Jenin.

“The terrorist cell [had] carried out a number of shooting attacks toward communities in Judea and Samaria lately,” it added, using the biblical term that Israel uses to refer to the West Bank.”

Gritten does not inform readers that among the previous attacks carried out by the same cell was a shooting attack on the community of Gan Ner.

Judea and Samaria is of course the name of the area and not only a “biblical term that Israel uses”. It was also used, for example, by the UN in its 1947 proposed partition plan (“The boundary of the hill country of Samaria and Judea starts on the Jordan River…”). The BBC, however, continues to compromise its impartiality by exclusively employing the terminology promoted by Jordan following the illegal invasion and occupation of that area by its British-backed and led forces in 1948. It is perhaps not merely a coincidence that, even today, the national broadcaster of the only country to recognise Jordan’s illegal annexation of that territory in 1950 continues to employ the politically motivated term ‘West Bank’.

Another notable aspect of this report is the decision to offer readers a link to “Video footage posted on social media” which leads to the Twitter account of a Hamas-affiliated news agency.

Gritten tells his readers that:

“The drone strike came hours after a Palestinian man was shot dead during a rampage by hundreds of Israeli settlers who torched homes and cars in the town of Turmusaya, about 50km to the south.

The Palestinian health ministry said the man was shot dead by Israeli forces “while confronting the settlers”. Israel’s paramilitary border police said its forces were securing firefighters when residents “rioted” and troops fired at a man who shot at them.”

He does not however clarify that the “Palestinian man” concerned was claimed by the Hamas terror group as a member in a brief statement calling him a “hero martyr”.

Gritten closes his report with yet more promotion of Hamas talking points:

“The attack on Turmusaya followed the funeral in a nearby settlement a 17-year-old boy who was among four Israelis shot dead by two Palestinian gunmen from Hamas at a petrol station and restaurant on Tuesday.

Hamas, in turn, said that shooting was a response to an Israeli military raid in Jenin on Monday during which seven Palestinians were killed.

It saw the IDF’s first use of an Apache attack helicopter in the West Bank in years. The helicopter fired missiles at militants who had targeted troop carriers with explosives, wounding seven soldiers.”

Notably, Gritten once again fails to clarify that at least four of the “seven Palestinians” killed in Jenin on June 19th were members of terrorist organisations who were attacking Israeli soldiers at the time.

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