BBC News continues to avoid the topic of Palestinian child soldiers

On July 10th the BBC News website published a report by Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman in which, based on an unverified video and accounts from interested parties, he asserted that a sixteen-year-old, who was killed during the recent counter-terrorism operation in Jenin and later claimed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as “one of the PIJ movement’s Jihad warriors”, was unarmed at the time.

As we noted:

“Over the past nine months Tom Bateman has on several occasions promoted the topic of ‘child casualties’ in his reporting on Israeli counter-terrorism operations:

BBC’S TOM BATEMAN PROMOTES THE NARRATIVE OF DESIGNATED NGOS

LOOKING BEHIND BBC REPORTING ON THE DEATHS OF PALESTINIAN TEENS

Additional BBC reports published in that time period have similarly focused audience attentions on the topic of minors killed during rioting or counter-terrorism activities and operations – for example:

BBC’S BATEMAN PROMOTES PFLP LINKED NGO YET AGAIN

BBC NEWS CONTINUES TO AVOID THE BACKGROUND TO PALESTINIAN FATALITIES

OMISSIONS IN BBC REPORT ON JENIN COUNTER-TERRORISM OPERATION

However, as also noted in our discussion of Bateman’s July 10th report:

“…BBC audiences have yet to see any serious reporting from Bateman or any other BBC journalist on the issue of the exploitation of minors by terrorist organisations.”

While Bateman chose to put the spotlight on one sixteen-year-old – Abd al-Rahman Hassan Hardan Sa’abneh – two additional minors claimed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were killed during the same operation as well as one claimed by Hamas:

Seventeen-year-old Ali al-Ghoul was shot while attacking an IDF bulldozer with a pipe bomb. The Jenin Battalion later put out a video showing al Ghoul and other minors making IEDs. Seventeen-year-old Majdi Ararawi was described by the Jenin Battalion as “one of the fighters of the engineering unit of the Al-Quds Brigades – Jenin Brigade” and sixteen-year-old Nur-al-Din Marshoud was described as “one of the fighters of the Islamic Jihad Movement”.

The practice of recruiting minors to terrorist organisations is of course by no means new but the BBC has over the years serially ignored the topic of the summer camps run by proscribed Palestinian groups.

In 2017 the BBC produced a special feature about “the grooming, then the recruitment and training to create a new army of child jihadists, who might grow into adult militants” in which it was able to inform BBC audiences that “[r]ecruiting child soldiers is a war crime”. That feature however was not about Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad but rather concerned ISIS:

A BBC TERROR INDOCTRINATION FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS LONGSTANDING OMISSION

In 2019 and in 2022 the BBC produced content relating to child soldiers in Liberia. In 2020 it reported on child soldiers in South Sudan and in 2022 in Yemen.

Although there is plenty of documentation in the public domain concerning the recruitment of Palestinian children and adolescents for rioting and terrorism, the BBC consistently avoids that very serious issue. The corporation’s worldwide audiences therefore know nothing about Ali al-Ghoul’s recruitment to Hamas as a teenager or how he and other youths have been exploited by terrorist organisations for the production and planting of explosive devices. 

Apparently such widespread abuses by Palestinian terrorist organisations are not considered newsworthy by the BBC.

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