On the afternoon of August 22nd the BBC News website published an article by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman under the headline “Palestinian militant, 17, killed during Israeli West Bank raid”.
The report opens with a five-paragraph account of that headline’s subject matter: the death of Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighter Othman Abu Kharj during a counter-terrorism operation earlier the same day.
Bateman also mentions recent incidents in Beita, Silwan and Qalqilya – all of which had already been reported the previous day by his colleague David Gritten – as well as the latest terror attacks in Huwara and at Beit Hagai junction, which of course are not described as such.
Later in the report readers are told that:
“Meanwhile, Hamas praised Monday’s attack near Hebron, calling it a “natural response” to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and linked it to “threats” on the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The militant group Islamic Jihad said it sent a warning “that what is coming will be more severe and harsh”.”
Bateman does not provide his readers with any explanation of those alleged “threats” and their connection to Palestinian incitement and rioting.
As was also the case in Gritten’s report from a day earlier, Bateman chose to note a statement from Israel’s prime minister:
“Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, pledged to “settle the score with the murderers and those who send them, near and far”. He ultimately blamed the killings on Iran, which backs Islamic Jihad and the largest Palestinian militant group, Hamas.”
Bateman’s portrayal of the background to topic of his article is particularly notable.
“The West Bank is in the grip of the worst violence in two decades amid the absence of any political solution to the conflict, while Israel’s military occupation is now into its 57th year.
Israel has the most ultranationalist government in its history in which politicians now routinely call for more strident military operations and further Israeli settlement expansion.
Meanwhile, internecine divisions have seen Palestinian political rivalries deepen and its official leadership lose control of key West Bank cities to militant groups.”
The framing of the rise in violence that began over two years ago as being the outcome of “the absence of any political solution to the conflict” is of course by no means novel in BBC reporting. However, in order to promote that narrative BBC journalists have to avoid the inconvenient fact that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Islamic Jihad – two of the main proponents of the current violence in Judea & Samaria – are remotely interested in any “political solution” because their openly-stated aim is to wipe Israel off the map. Interestingly, those parties do not earn the description “ultranationalist” from Bateman.
Towards the end of the article readers are told that:
“In July, the army carried out its biggest military assault in years on Jenin refugee camp, in which 12 Palestinians, including militants and children, were killed.”
Bateman’s chosen phrasing fails to clarify that ten of the twelve Palestinians killed during that counter-terror operation were claimed by terror groups, including at least three “children”.
Bateman closes his report with the following statement:
“At least 219 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and 31 Israelis have been killed this year.”
Bateman refrains from clarifying to his readers that the majority of the Palestinians killed this year were affiliated with terrorist organisations, that a significant proportion were killed while carrying out terror attacks or shortly afterwards and that the majority of Israelis murdered in Palestinian terror attacks were civilians.