BBC News reports an “attack on a car”

On the afternoon of August 21st the BBC News website published a report by David Gritten about a fatal terror attack which had taken place on the morning of the same day near the Beit Hagai junction.

The headline, photo caption and opening paragraph of that report all tell readers of an “attack on a car” even though the targets of that terror attack were obviously people rather than the vehicle in which they were travelling.

Headline: ‘Israeli woman shot dead in attack on car in southern West Bank

Photo caption: “The car was hit by gunfire from a passing vehicle was [sic] it drove along a highway”

Opening paragraph: “An Israeli woman has been killed and a man seriously wounded in a suspected Palestinian shooting attack on a car near Hebron in the occupied West Bank.”

Despite telling readers that “Two dozen bullets were reportedly fired from a passing vehicle” the BBC’s report predictably does not describe the incident as terrorism. The sole mention of the word terror comes in a quote added to the report some four and a half hours after its initial publication.

“Later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the scene and said Israel was “in the midst of a terror attack” that was “encouraged, guided, funded by Iran and its satellite states”.”

Readers were given no further information on the topic of Iran’s contributions to the current wave of terrorism: a topic repeatedly avoided by BBC journalists.

Using a “said to be” qualification which was known to be unnecessary by the time the report was published, Gritten tells his readers that:

“The woman has been named as Batsheva Nigri. A girl who was also in the car, said to be her daughter, was unharmed. […]

The first three versions of the report stated:

Ms Nigri was a mother of three and nursery teacher who lived in Beit Hagai, according to Israeli media.

She and her six-year-old daughter had hitched a ride to their home from the man driving the car, reports said.”

Ms Nigri’s daughter – Shirel – is twelve years old rather than six. That error was corrected in a fourth version of the report published over 24 hours after its initial appearance and a footnote was added. While the child was not physically injured during the attack, it is highly unlikely that she was “unharmed” after seeing her mother shot to death.

Gritten considered it appropriate to provide amplification for a statement from a terrorist organisation designated by the UK. 

“The Palestinian militant group Hamas praised the attack, calling it a “natural response” to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.”

The later versions of the report do not inform BBC audiences that Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack or that Hamas later also took credit for murdering the unarmed nursery teacher and trying to kill two additional civilians.

In the later part of his report Gritten promotes redundant equivalence between Palestinian terror attacks on civilians and casualties during counter-terrorism operations.

“Meanwhile, the Palestinian health ministry said six Palestinians were shot and wounded by Israeli forces in the village of Beita, in the northern West Bank. One person who was hit in the head was in a critical condition in hospital, it added.

A video circulated online appeared to show a man being shot in the back of the head while he runs away from Israeli troops.”

Gritten did not bother to clarify that the incident is under investigation or that during the IDF counter-terrorism activity in Beita, Palestinians instigated a riot.

“A Border Police spokesman told The Times of Israel that while officers had operated in Beita to detain a wanted Palestinian man, a “violent riot developed.”

During the riot, which “greatly endangered the lives of the troops,” Palestinians hurled cinderblocks and stones at the Yamas officers, the spokesman said.”

He continues:

“It comes amid another spike in violence in the West Bank.

On Saturday, an Israeli man and his son were shot dead by a suspected Palestinian gunman at a car wash near the northern village of Huwara.

On Friday, Israeli forces shot a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in the head in occupied East Jerusalem, leaving him seriously wounded. Police alleged he had tried to throw a petrol bomb during a raid in the Silwan area.

Elsewhere that day, video showed an apparently unarmed Palestinian man said to suffer from mental health problems being shot in the leg by Israeli troops during a protest near Israel’s separation barrier in Qalqilya.”

The August 18th incident in Silwan was described by Ha’aretz as follows:

“Two Palestinians were shot by Israeli police officers in two separate incidents on Friday night in East Jerusalem and are in serious condition.

According to police, the two tried to attack officers before being shot. They were taken to receive medical treatment.

In the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, a 15-year-old was shot after trying to throw a firebomb at border police officers who were operating in the neighborhood, police say.”

The incident in Qalqilya – which is also under investigation – was reported by the Times of Israel:

“The Israel Defense Forces said the incident occurred on Friday afternoon amid a riot in the West Bank barrier area, during which several suspects attempted to damage the fence, hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at forces, and set tires on fire.

The military said forces used riot dispersal means and live fire in the air to disperse the suspects from the security barrier.”

Gritten’s assertion that the wounded man was “said to suffer from mental health problems” appears to be based on claims from Palestinian sources.

In the final paragraph of his report, Gritten tells readers that:

“There have been dozens of Israeli army raids into Palestinian cities this year as well as violence by Israeli settlers targeting Palestinian homes and Palestinian attacks on Israelis.”

As has been the case in previous BBC reporting, Gritten fails to clarify that it is those Palestinian attacks that the BBC refuses to name as terror that make the IDF counter-terrorism operations that he describes as “raids” necessary.

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  1. says: Sid

    Gritten seems to scan English language newspaper web sites in Israel only – yet had he looked at he would have found this item published at 11:25 BST giving full details, but only in the afternoon did BBC publish details at 4pm BST and only on its Mid East page.
    Such is the blatant hypocrisy of BBC to hid this away from its readers and 5 hours after the event was reported in detail in Israel!

  2. says: Sid

    Also strange that Reuters at the same time as BBC published details put out a report – see
    and also AFP at about the same time

    Something is going on that is a deliberate attempt to play down the cold blooded murder of Jews – just like the 1930/40’s in Europe. Was there collaboration between the BBC, Reuters and AFP?

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