BBC sidelining of a crucial aspect of stories it regularly reports

The surge in Palestinian terrorism emanating from PA controlled areas in Judea & Samaria – and of course the consequent Israeli counter-terror operations – has been one of the main topics covered on the BBC News website so far this year.

Another topic which has been repeatedly reported – albeit to a lesser extent – is that of crime in Israel’s Arab sector.

Those two topics have one common factor: weapons smuggling from surrounding countries. However, as has been documented here on several occasions, that issue has received very little attention from BBC journalists in either context.

Last month we noted that a report by Tom Bateman and David Gritten titled ‘Israeli Arabs demand action over spike in murders linked to organised crime’ failed to address the issue of the sources of the illegal weapons used to commit those murders.

“A further component to the story – which the BBC has serially under-reported over the past two years – relates to illegal weapons. As noted by the INSS in 2021:

“The number of illegal weapons possessed by gangs and criminal organizations, as well as ordinary civilians for the purpose of self-defense, has increased. Tens of thousands of weapons in Arab communities are estimated stolen from IDF bases or smuggled from Palestinian Authority areas.”

In addition, weapons are smuggled into Israel from surrounding countries but that topic has received very little BBC coverage to date. For example, a recent case in which four Israeli Arab citizens were arrested for smuggling weapons supplied by Hizballah into Israel for criminal purposes was not reported at all by the BBC.”

As we noted in relation to BBC News website coverage of a major counter-terrorism operation in Jenin in early July:

“None of those seven articles provides an explanation of the outside factors that have contributed to the rise in terrorism emanating from Jenin and elsewhere such as external financing and weapons supply.” 

The last time (and one of the only times) that the BBC News website produced any reporting on the topic of weapons smuggling was in April:

BBC NEWS SKIPS THE BACKGROUND TO JORDAN GUN SMUGGLING STORY

NO BBC FOLLOW-UP ON JORDAN MP GUN SMUGGLING STORY

Stories ignored by the BBC News website in the past two weeks alone include the following:

On August 27th it was revealed that an attempt to smuggle explosives for terror purposes had been thwarted in July.

“The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday cleared for publication that security forces foiled an attempt to smuggle Iranian-made explosives into Israel from Jordan last month.

The smuggling attempt was thwarted by troops of the IDF’s 417th Regional Brigade and members of the Matilan Border Police counterterrorism unit on July 24 in the Jordan Valley just south of the Sea of Galilee, near the Ashdot Ya’akov kibbutz. […]

Authorities believed the explosives were being spirited in for use by terror groups in the West Bank. The Shin Bet security agency was still investigating how the Iranian-made explosives reached the Israel-Jordan border.”

On September 4th Israeli seized a consignment of explosives smuggled from the Gaza Strip.  

“Israeli authorities on Monday foiled an attempt by Palestinians to smuggle several kilograms of explosive material from the Gaza Strip to terror operatives in the West Bank, the Defense Ministry said.

According to the ministry, security guards at the Kerem Shalom Crossing found the “high-quality” explosive material hidden in a shipment of clothes being exported from the Gaza Strip to Israel.

It said that, according to initial assessments, the explosives were intended to be used for terror activity in the West Bank.”

Exports from the Gaza Strip were subsequently suspended.

On September 5th the arrests and indictments of two Arab Israelis recruited by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were announced.

“Two Arab Israeli men were charged on Tuesday for attempting to smuggle explosive devices and firearms into the West Bank on behalf of the Islamic Jihad terror group, the Shin Bet security agency revealed.

According to the Shin Bet, on August 3, Samer Farid Ghanem Kanuh and Osama Nassim Ghazi Kharouf, both Israeli citizens, were arrested while attempting to smuggle four bombs — which appeared similar to the American directional anti-personnel Claymore mine — and four handguns over the Jordanian border. A third unnamed Palestinian suspect from Tulkarem was also detained with the pair, the Shin Bet said. […]

The agency said the pair were recruited by Islamic Jihad operatives in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, to smuggle the explosives and firearms from Jordan.

In their interrogation, it emerged that the pair were also involved in transferring weapons and funds to terror operatives in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near Tulkarem, the Shin Bet said, adding that they provided interrogators with details of planned attacks by Nur Shams-based terror groups.”

None of those three recent stories has appeared in the BBC’s online content – which the corporation describes as being a “permanent public record” that is “in the public interest” – with the result that BBC audiences have yet again been denied important background information which would enhance their understanding of topics regularly reported on the BBC News website.

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