BBC News website framing of terrorism in Balata, Hebron and Jenin

On the evening of November 17th the BBC News website published a report headlined ‘Israel says it will allow two trucks of fuel a day into Gaza’ which was written by Ali Abbas Ahmadi – a relatively new member of the BBC’s staff who previously worked for the Qatari media outlet ‘The New Arab’, founded by former Balad MK Azmi Bishara who fled Israel in 2007 after having been charged with treason.

All versions of that report include the following claim: [emphasis added]

“Before the latest war Israel provided the majority of Gaza’s electricity, and some was produced by the enclave’s sole power plant which is no longer functioning.”

In fact, prior to the war initiated by Hamas on October 7th, Israel provided half of the electricity to the Gaza Strip.

“During times of peace, 50% of the electricity in Gaza is provided by Israel through ten points of entry, amounting to approximately 120MW per day. Israel provides electricity at no cost to Gaza. Although technically, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is responsible for paying for the electricity supply to Gaza, it instead accumulates the debt until it is periodically forgiven and erased. Current electricity debt stands at 2 billion NIS (approximately 500 million USD).

The other half of Gaza’s electricity is generated independently. Gaza has one diesel-fueled power plant that produces around 65MW, providing 25% of Gaza’s supply. The rest of the electricity is generated through a wide array of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and private diesel generators in residential areas, government buildings, and hospitals. During the day, around 25% of Gaza’s electricity is generated through PV panels, representing one of the world’s highest shares. This was made possible through multiple funding projects led by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and other intergovernmental organizations in the past decade. At night, private diesel generators replace the PV panels.”

Numerous amendments were made to that report after its initial publication, including the addition of the following on the morning of November 18th: [emphasis added]

“Meanwhile, the Red Crescent said at least five Palestinians were killed in an Israeli air strike on a building in the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus.

The Israeli army said it was checking on the reports.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Israel to take “urgent” action to “de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, including by confronting rising levels of settler extremist violence”.

The strike happened a day after Israeli military said it killed at least seven militants in two separate confrontations in the West Bank.”

Over the next six hours the report was amended a further three times but no information was added regarding those incidents.

According to Fatah, the “five Palestinians” killed on November 18th in Balata were members of its Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terrorist group. As reported by the Times of Israel, the IDF described them as planning imminent terror attacks.

“…forces and aircraft struck a hideout apartment in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. […]

The Palestinian Red Crescent said five Palestinians were killed. Haaretz reported that four of those killed were affiliated with Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, citing “hospital testimonies.”

Those killed included Muhammad Zahad, described by the Israeli security services as a “senior terrorist” in Nablus who was involved in a number of shooting attacks, including an April attack in which two Israelis were injured in Jerusalem.

The statement said Zahad formed and armed a terror cell of youths, which he deployed to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.”

That April shooting attack was not reported by the BBC News website at the time. 

One of the reasons why it would have been helpful to BBC audiences to have been made aware of Zahad’s involvement in the April attack is because the teenage perpetrator he sent to carry out that terror attack is apparently among those set to be released in the coming days as part of the deal to release some of the Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip.

During the same operation in Balata, IDF forces also discovered and neutralised an explosives laboratory.

In other words, the circumstances behind the events in Balata on November 18th were significantly different from the BBC’s unhelpful portrayal of an unexplained “Israeli air strike” on an unidentified “building” in a “refugee camp” in which “five Palestinians” were killed.

As for what the BBC describes as “confrontations” the previous day, in one of those incidents two terrorists carried out a shooting attack at a junction near Hebron:

“The military said Palestinians opened fire on Israeli forces Friday morning from a vehicle at an intersection near the southern West Bank city of Hebron where Israeli forces were operating.

Reservists of the 8106th Battalion returned fire, killing the gunman and the driver, the IDF said, adding that no soldiers were hurt.”

The second incident took place in Jenin:

“Also overnight, troops clashed with gunmen during a raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin and the adjacent refugee camp, capturing weapons and chasing terror operatives attempting to hide in a hospital.

The operation in the Jenin camp was […] aimed at uncovering explosive devices belonging to local terror groups. The IDF said a drone struck a group of gunmen shooting at the forces amid the raid. Other Palestinians hurling explosives were shot at during clashes.

The army said troops killed at least five Palestinian gunmen and captured six assault rifles in the Jenin camp.”

Three of the terrorists killed in that incident were claimed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including one of the commanders of the Jenin Battalion.

As we see, the BBC’s framing of those incidents fails to adequately inform readers of the actions of terrorists operating in Judea & Samaria. Moreover, the reference to the US Secretary of State inserted into that portrayal of three separate incidents leaves readers with the erroneous impression that Israel alone is responsible for “tensions in the West Bank” while whitewashing Palestinian terrorism – and not least that perpetrated by terrorists affiliated with the Fatah party which dominates the Palestinian Authority.

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1 Comment

  1. says: Grimey

    Twas Ever Thus – The IPC (aka BBC) always distorts every incident to the Palestinians’ favour – in its open policy of supporting Iran to remove Israel from the map. Will the time ever come when it takes on a Jew or Israeli to its Middle Eastern staff ? Ha ha.
    Note – personally I never watch the Iran Propaganda Corporation’s biased rubbish and lies – I turn to France24 for all my news.

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