BBC News fails to report arrests of Israeli rioters

Back in April we noted that a BBC News website report by Lucy Williamson on the topic of violent rioting by Israelis in Huwara two months earlier promoted extensive quotes from the executive director of the political NGO ‘Yesh Din’ but failed to inform readers that some of those who rioted in Huwara on February 26th had been placed in administrative detention and two people had been indicted in connection with a later incident in the same town.


Since then visitors to the BBC News website have found references in multiple articles to what the BBC refers to using the broad term “settler violence” and on June 21st the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman reported on incidents following the terror attack in Eli in which four Israelis were murdered in an article headlined “Palestinian killed as Israeli settlers attack town after deadly shooting”.

It is of course entirely appropriate for the BBC to report on such acts of violence which have been described as nationalist terrorism by the heads of Israel’s security branches and condemned by the minister of defence and the president. However, it is equally appropriate for BBC audiences to be informed what the Israeli authorities are doing about the issue, yet visitors to the BBC News website have not seen any follow-up coverage of subsequent arrests connected to those incidents.

On June 28th four Israelis were placed in administrative detention:

“Defense Minister Yoav Gallant signed administrative detention orders on Wednesday to hold four Jewish extremists involved in recent attacks against Palestinians without charges, in line with recommendations from the Shin Bet security service.

The four are currently imprisoned, the Defense Ministry confirmed. Administrative detention enables them to be held in custody without charges for renewable six-month periods, practically indefinitely.”

On July 10th the detention of a fifth suspect was reported:

“Aviah Aryeh, 20, of the Bruchin settlement in the northern West Bank, allegedly participated in a settler riot in the nearby Palestinian village of Luban a-Sharqiya, during which he attacked civilians and vandalized property, the Haaretz daily reported. Aryeh was arrested on Sunday and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant signed a four-month administrative order following a recommendation from the Shin Bet security service.”

On July 17th three more suspects were arrested:

“Three more settler youths suspected of involvement in last month’s settler rampages in Palestinian towns were placed under administrative detention, according to the right-wing legal aid group Honenu. […]

Army Radio says Defense Minister Yoav Gallant signed off on administrative detention orders for the three youths, bringing the total held for the attacks to eight.”

The failure to report any of those arrests and detentions obviously means that BBC audiences are not being provided with information needed in order to “engage fully” with this story and is particularly remarkable in light of the BBC’s repeated uncritical amplification of claims from political NGOs and Palestinian interviewees.

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