BBC portrayal of Pisgat Ze’ev terror attack focuses on politicised geography

BBC News website reporting of the terror attacks which took place in Israel on October 12th appeared in an article currently headlined “Jerusalem attacks: Israelis wounded in fresh stabbings” which was updated and retitled throughout the day as news of more attacks broke.Pisgat Zeev attacks report

Among the four attacks which took place on that day in Jerusalem was one in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighbourhood.

“A 13-year-old Jewish boy from Pisgat Ze’ev is in critical condition Monday after being stabbed nearly a dozen times by two teenage Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood, marking the third terrorist attack in the capital in six hours.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the attack took place at approximately 3 p.m., when a 13-year-old Palestinian and a 17-year-old Palestinian armed with knives attacked the Jewish boy while he was riding his bicycle.

“Both terrorists stabbed the boy many times all over his body before a driver neutralized the 13-year-old terrorist by ramming his car into him,” said Rosenfeld. “The other assailant then stabbed a 24-year-old Jewish man nearby before being shot dead by police.””

According to media reports, the victims of the attack are still in critical condition.

Initial BBC News reporting on the incident read as follows:

“Police said two youths were stabbed by two assailants in the Pisgat Zeev district, one of whom was shot dead and the other shot and wounded. […]

Two Israelis aged 16 and 20 were seriously injured in the attack in Pisgat Zeev, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said.”

In the next version of the report, the description of the location of the attack was changed.

“Police said two youths were stabbed by two assailants – one of whom was shot dead and the other wounded – in a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. […]

Two Israelis aged 16 and 20 were seriously injured in the attack in the settlement of Pisgat Zeev, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said.”

The version after that corrected the age of the younger victim.

“Police said two youths were stabbed by two teenaged assailants – one of whom was shot dead and the other wounded – in a settlement in East Jerusalem. […]

Two Israelis aged 13 and 20 were attacked in the Jewish settlement of Pisgat Zeev, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

She identified the two assailants as 13- and 17-year-old Palestinians from nearby Beit Hanina.

According to police, the pair stabbed the 20-year-old, seriously wounding him, before attacking the 13-year-old boy, who was riding a bicycle, critically wounding him.”

The final version of the report was again amended and now reads as follows:

“Two youths were stabbed earlier at a settlement in East Jerusalem, leaving one of the victims, a 13-year-old boy, in a critical condition. […]

One of the Palestinian attackers of the two youths in the Pisgat Zeev settlement was shot and killed by police. His 13-year-old accomplice was shot and seriously injured.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri identified the two assailants as 13- and 17-year-old Palestinians from nearby Beit Hanina.”

There is of course nothing novel about the BBC’s description of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Pisgat Ze’ev as a “settlement in East Jerusalem”; audiences have seen that politically motivated narrative amplified many times before, together with the standard BBC mantra “settlements are considered illegal under international law”.

But it is nevertheless remarkable that a BBC priority in its reporting on a heinous terror attack (of course not named as such) on a young boy riding his bike was to ensure that readers understood that the location of the attack is a place where – according to the BBC’s adopted narrative – Israelis really should not be.

Equally remarkable – though predictable given the corporation’s record to date – is the fact that the reckless use of this attack for the promotion of falsehoods and incitement by a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority was completely ignored by the BBC. 

Forty two words of BBC News coverage for terror attack which injured four

On the evening of October 11th a terror attack took place near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel in northern Israel.

“Four Israelis were wounded Sunday evening in a knife attack on Route 65 at the entrance to the kibbutz of Gan Shmuel, near the northern city of Hadera. One of the four, a 19-year-old female soldier, is in serious condition. […]

The Shin Bet identified the suspect as Alaa Raed Ahmad Ziwad of Umm al-Fahm, originally from the village of Silat al-Harithiya [near Jenin], who received Israeli citizenship through his father’s family unification.

According to Army Radio, the attacker first ran over the 19-year-old woman, before getting out of the car and stabbing her and the three other victims. […]

“When we arrived at the scene we saw, in the trench beside the highway, an unconscious 19-year-old woman with multiple wounds. We gave her lifesaving first-aid treatment including CPR, bandages and fluids and rushed her to the hospital,” Magen David Adom paramedics Khaled Mura’i and Yehuda Haim said.”

The female soldier is still in critical condition.

“The female soldier, whose name has not been released for publication, was moved overnight to Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv, known for its neurological department and neurosurgery ward, after suffering stab wounds to the head and upper torso in the terror attack.”

There was no stand-alone reporting on that incident on the BBC News website. However, an amendment made to an existing article titled “Palestinians killed in Israel Gaza air strike” told readers:

“And later four Israelis were injured in the latest stabbing attack as tensions continued to escalate.”

Later on in the report, readers were provided with the following forty-two word description of the attack.

“Later in the day, an Israeli Arab drove his car at a group of people near the northern Israeli town of Hadera, then stabbed four of them, police said.

One, a 19-year-old female soldier, is said to be seriously injured.”Gan Shmuel attack

A caption to one of the photographs illustrating the article states:

“The latest stabbing attack against Israelis happened close to a kibbutz in northern Israel”

Apparently BBC editors believe that the phrase “drove his car at a group of people” is an accurate and adequate description of the terrorist’s attempt to kill a young woman by first deliberately running her over and then getting out of his car to further inflict multiple stab wounds.   

BBC’s Guerin portrays wave of terror in Israel as ‘DIY unrest’

h/t @SussexFriends

Viewers of BBC television news on October 11th saw yet another report from Orla Guerin on the topic of the current wave of terrorism in Israel. A similar but shorter version of that report also appeared on the BBC News website on the same day under the title “Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza“, with its synopsis promoting equivalence between Israeli victims of terrorism and Palestinians mostly killed whilst carrying out terror attacks or engaging in violent rioting.Guerin filmed 11 10

“Escalating violence has claimed the lives of four Israelis and 23 Palestinians in a two week period.”

That same equivalence was seen in news presenter Mishal Husain’s introduction to Guerin’s report.

Mishal Husain: “A Palestinian woman and her two year-old daughter have been killed in an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip following Palestinian rocket attacks. Escalating violence over the last fortnight has claimed the lives of four Israelis and at least twenty Palestinians. Our Middle East correspondent Orla Guerin sent this report.

Orla Guerin: “Dawn in Gaza. A new day of conflict. This was what was left after an Israeli airstrike flattened a house. A pregnant mother died here with her two year-old daughter. Israel says it was targeting weapons facilities after militants fired two rockets.”

Guerin provides no source or evidence of independent verification for her claim that “an Israeli airstrike flattened the house”. The BBC’s Rushdi Abualouf who – unlike Guerin – is located in the Gaza Strip, had already Tweeted a different version of events and according to other media outlets, the house collapsed due to what appears to be a secondary explosion.  

“Gaza officials said a woman, 30, and her two-year-old daughter were killed when an explosion from a targeted Hamas site caused the collapse of a nearby home. Three others, including a 15-year-old youth, were wounded, according to Reuters.

The collapsed building was located in the Zeitoun neighborhood in the northern Strip, the Walla news site reported.” [emphasis added]

Predictably, Orla Guerin shows no interest in helping viewers understand why a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility was located in a residential area.

Given that three years ago the BBC inaccurately reported an explosion in a house in the same neighbourhood  in which a woman and small child were killed as having been caused by an Israeli airstrike, one might have expected more caution and fact checking to be in evidence before Orla Guerin promoted her version of this event.

Guerin then goes on to give the following description of an incident which took place near Ma’ale Adumim on the morning of October 11th.

“And in the West Bank Israeli police say they stopped an attacker on the road to Jerusalem. When the Palestinian woman was pulled over, they say, she detonated an explosive device. Not a bomb – but a gas canister.”

According to official statements reported by the Times of Israel, the gas canister did not in fact explode as Guerin claims.

“The Shin Bet said in a statement that around 7 a.m. a traffic police officer noticed that the woman was driving in the public transportation lane while tailgating a police vehicle.

Police said officers noticed a suspicious vehicle driven by a woman heading toward a checkpoint on the way to Jerusalem and signaled to her to stop. The woman then yelled “Allahu Akbar” (God is most great) and set off the explosive detonator in her car, a police statement said. A gas canister in her car did not explode, however.

Handwritten slips of paper voicing support for “Palestinian martyrs” were found on her person, the Shin Bet said. […]

The car was bearing Israeli, rather than Palestinian, license plates. Police found the gas canister in the vehicle and said that the woman had intended to carry out a bombing in Jerusalem.”

Guerin then continues:

“Among Palestinians, living under Israeli occupation, there’s plenty of support for the recent outbreak of DIY unrest – including a spate of stabbings. Palestinians say anger and frustration are driving ordinary people to carry out attacks. What’s striking is that there’s no sign of involvement by militant groups. The attacks are being carried out by individuals. It’s a low-tech approach and it’s catching. [emphasis added]

Notably, the footage shown immediately after Guerin has told audiences that “there’s no sign of involvement by militant groups” shows Palestinian Islamic Jihad banners at the home of the terrorist who carried out the October 3rd attack at Lions Gate in Jerusalem. That attack was later claimed by the PIJ and praised by Hamas.

PIJ flags Halabi 2

Following a sympathetic interview with the terrorist’s father and carefully selected footage from Hebron which edits out all evidence of violent rioting, Guerin goes on to say:

“In Nablus soldiers used live rounds against stone-throwers. Elsewhere, another protester was buried. Every death increases the rage and risks unleashing a wider conflict.”

The flags of the terrorist organisations Hamas and the PFLP are seen in the footage shown as Guerin speaks, although she does not clarify that fact to viewers.

Guerin’s narrative of “DIY unrest” and “low-tech” terror attacks fuelled by “anger and frustration”, together with her categorical statement denying “involvement by militant groups” obviously does not meet the BBC’s obligation to “enhance […] audiences’ awareness and understanding of international issues”.

In all of the BBC’s reporting on the current wave of terrorism in Israel, the issue of the quotidian incitement on social media, in mosques, from Hamas, from Fatah and from the Palestinian Authority has been completely ignored. There is, of course, nothing surprising about that: since long before the latest surge in violence began, the BBC has habitually avoided the issues of Palestinian incitement, glorification of terrorism and indoctrination of Palestinian children.

Although those issues are a crucial part of the story the BBC claims to be telling with reports such as this one from Orla Guerin, they do not fit into the narrative adopted and promoted by the BBC.  Hence, even when a Palestinian Islamic Jihad banner is flying above her head, Orla Guerin ignores it. The trouble is that she would have BBC audiences ignore it too.



Wave of terror brings rare BBC reporting on missile attacks from Gaza

As regular readers know, the BBC’s coverage of the missile attacks launched from the Gaza Strip at civilian population centres in Israel since the end of the summer 2014 conflict has been – to put it kindly – patchy.

Throughout September 2015 there were three separate incidents of missile fire, none of which were the subject of any stand-alone reporting by BBC News.

September 18th 2015 – missile fire on Sderot and Ashkelon got 19 words of reporting in a BBC News article on a different topic. The Israeli response was reported by BBC Arabic.

September 21st 2015 – missile fire at the Hof Ashkelon area was not reported by BBC News.

September 29th 2015 – missile fire at Ashdod got 15 words of coverage in an article on another topic which were later removed when the report was updated. Israel’s response to the attack was covered by BBC Arabic.

On the evening of October 4th a missile exploded in the Eshkol region and some hours later Israel responded with a strike on Hamas infrastructure. There was no BBC reporting of that incident.missile 10 10 report

The Eshkol region came under attack again on the night of October 9th/10th and the missile fire was later claimed by a Salafist group in the Gaza Strip. That attack was reported in an article titled “Israeli-Palestinian violence: Gaza rocket lands in Israel” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on October 10th.  

With this being the first BBC News headline describing a missile attack from the Gaza Strip since September 2014, one cannot but conclude that its appearance is linked to augmented BBC reporting on the current wave of terror attacks which, despite its headline, are the subject matter of the bulk of that report.

Less than 24 hours later – late on the evening of October 10thanother missile was launched at the Hof Ashkelon area but was successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system. The Israeli airforce later responded with strikes on Hamas weapons manufacturing sites in the northern Gaza Strip and Palestinian officials announced that two people had been killed when an explosion at one of the targeted sites caused a nearby home to collapse. The BBC headlines did not take long to appear.

BBC Arabic promoted its report on the incident at the head of its main webpage on the morning of October 11th  with a headline devoid of any reference to what preceded the Israeli response. 

Response missile Gaza 11 10 BBC Arabic hp

Visitors to the BBC News website’s homepage found the following context-free description which likewise fails to inform readers of what came before the Israeli response:

“Israeli jets carry out air strikes on two targets in the Gaza Strip, in the latest sign of mounting tensions between Israelis and Palestinians”

Response missile Gaza 11 10 on Main page

On the website’s ‘World’ page, the same statement appeared with a different and equally context-free headline – “Israeli jets hit targets in Gaza Strip”.

Response missile Gaza 11 10 on World pge

The same headline and strapline featured prominently on the Middle East page.

ME HP 11 10 15a

The BBC News report appearing on all those pages of the website was originally titled “Israeli-Palestinian violence: US expresses concern” and in that initial report (and all later versions) the BBC once again promoted uncritical amplification of a trope which forms the foundation for much of the Palestinian incitement fueling the latest wave of terrorism.

“There have been weeks of tension over access to a site in East Jerusalem sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Palestinians fear Israel plans to change arrangements at the al-Aqsa mosque/Temple Mount compound, where Jews are allowed to visit but not allowed to pray – something Israel insists it will continue.”Response missile Gaza 11 10

Some four hours after publication, the article’s headline was changed to read “Israeli jets hit targets in Gaza Strip” and the report opened in typical ‘last-first reporting’ style, with no mention of the people affected by the events laconically described as “rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel”.  

“Israel says its jets have hit two targets in the Gaza Strip.

The targets were “Hamas weapon manufacturing facilities”, the Israeli military said, adding the strikes were in response to two rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel.

A woman and her young daughter in a nearby house were killed during the air raid, Palestinian officials said.”

Readers would obviously conclude from that portrayal that the woman and child were killed by the Israeli strike.

The fourth round of amendments to the report saw a new headline – “Israeli jets hit targets in Gaza Strip, killing a mother and child” – with the BBC backtracking from its previous assertion that the casualties “were killed during the air raid” but showing no interest in clarifying why a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility was located in a residential area.

“A pregnant woman and her young daughter in a nearby house were killed, Palestinian officials said.”Response missile Gaza 11 10 final

Around an hour later, the headline was changed yet again to read “Palestinians killed in Israel Gaza air strike“.

All versions of the article failed to inform readers that missile attacks on Israeli civilians are a regular occurrence, independent of the current wave of terrorism. All versions of the report close with the following statements:

“The violence has spurred talk from Hamas, which dominates Gaza, of a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

But the clashes have not yet reached the scale of previous intifadas, with no clear mass movement or leadership so far emerging.”

Yet again, however, the BBC fails to provide its audiences with any information about the incitement from unofficial and official Palestinian sources which underpins the current wave of terrorism and the very relevant subject of Hamas’ efforts to boost its terror infrastructure in Judea & Samaria over recent months – which the BBC has failed to report at all – does not get a mention in this report.

Orla Guerin tells BBC audiences Al Aqsa Mosque ‘sacred to Jews’

Viewers of BBC television news programmes on the evening of October 9th saw a report by Orla Guerin – usually the corporation’s correspondent in Cairo. The report was also posted on the BBC News website under the title “Fears of ‘third intifada’ in Middle East“.Guerin filmed 9 10

Whilst Israel is of course in the Middle East, it is not the Middle East. That overly dramatic and exaggerated style – characteristic of Guerin’s reporting – continues in the introduction to the report, with audiences receiving clear early signposting telling them which side they should view as the underdog, violent rioters portrayed as “protesters” and Ramallah – under PA rule for two decades – presented as “occupied”.

“Venting their anger on the streets today in the Israeli occupied West Bank. In Ramallah; soldiers doing battle against protesters with slingshots. It’s a familiar scene but is another generation about to replay the bloodshed of the past?” [emphasis added]

Guerin continues:

“Well the confrontation here is escalating. There are Palestinian stone-throwers on this side, Israeli security forces on the other. Rubber bullets have been used and there have been injuries [sic] taken away. The fear is that clashes like this could spread. Some here already calling this the third Intifada – or uprising. Israeli security officials are playing that down but the police are on alert, especially in Jerusalem’s Old City. It’s home to the Al Aqsa Mosque; sacred to Muslims and Jews. Tensions over the shrine have fuelled the latest unrest and unleashed a new danger for Israelis: stabbing attacks.” [emphasis added]

Either veteran reporter Orla Guerin is astoundingly under-informed or – like her colleague Nawal Assad – she has elected to deliberately amplify popular propaganda according to which “Palestinian Muslims consider all that compound [Temple Mount] to be the Al Aqsa Mosque”. Either way, a correction of the inaccuracy promoted by Guerin is clearly necessary. 

Guerin likewise misleads audiences with the inaccurate claim that stabbing attacks on Israelis are “new”. Perhaps if the BBC had reported more than just 0.81% of the terror attacks which took place in the first eight months of this year, its correspondents would be aware of the fact that sixteen stabbing attacks took place between January and August 2015.

Guerin’s report continues with portrayal of one of the fatal attacks in the current wave of terror as a “lone wolf knife attack”:

“This amateur video was filmed in the Old City last Saturday. The distant screams are from an Israeli woman whose husband had just been killed in a lone wolf knife attack. We met Adele Bennett in hospital, recovering from thirteen stab wounds. Her young son, Natan, being treated alongside her. She says Palestinian bystanders ignored her desperate cries.”

Audiences are not told that the two year-old is being treated because he too was wounded in the same terror attack. 

Voiceover: “I searched for some humanity. I begged for help. I told them please take the children. I was met with stares of hatred. They threw things at me, spat in my face and shouted at me to die.”

Guerin continues with unchallenged amplification of falsehoods concerning an incident in which a boy was accidentally killed during violent rioting near Bethlehem:

“A short distance away in Bethlehem a Palestinian mother mourns her son. Abdel Rahman Abdullah who was thirteen was killed on Monday by Israeli troops. His mother, Delal, being comforted by neighbours, denies there were clashes at the time. She says a sniper shot her son through the heart. She wants another uprising.

Voiceover: I hope there will be a third Intifada so we can have freedom. The injustice must stop. We are tired and our children are tired. Every day someone gets killed. At night my daughter is calling for her brother.”

Guerin refrains from clarifying to audiences that Bethlehem has been under sole Palestinian Authority control since 1995 and she next fails to provide audiences with adequate context concerning the violent rioting at the border fence near Nahal Oz by some 200 Gaza Strip residents affiliated – according to Arab media outlets – with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“But there were more new dead in Gaza today where six Palestinians were killed in clashes.”

Guerin’s closing remarks steer audiences towards the inaccurate view that the current wave of terror is the result of frustration resulting from the failure of the political process.

“The unrest is spreading – carried forward by those tired of waiting for a Palestinian state. Israel’s president says both sides are sitting on a volcano.”

Neither the Palestinian Islamic Jihad nor Hamas – which has spent months trying to augment its terror activities in PA ruled areas – are interested in a negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Guerin’s framing of the background to this latest wave of terror (of course never named as such by the BBC) is therefore as misleading to audiences as her amplification of propaganda and falsehoods and her portrayals of violent rioters as underdog “protesters” and terrorists inspired by serial incitement as “lone wolves”. 


BBC coverage of October 8 terror attacks downgrades terrorist to ‘suspected attacker’

Visitors to the BBC News website seeking information concerning the multiple terror attacks against Israelis which took place on October 8th found no information on that subject until the appearance of an article titled “Israelis injured in new spate of stabbings” some four and a half hours after the first major attack took place in Jerusalem and two hours after the attack in Tel Aviv. The article was subsequently amended several times to include information on additional attacks in Kiryat Arba and Afula.Oct 8 attacks art

The first attack is described as follows in the version of the report currently appearing on the BBC News website’s Middle East page:

“Hours earlier, a Jewish seminary student was seriously injured when he was stabbed in the neck by a Palestinian near a light rail station in the French Hill area of East Jerusalem, police said.

The assailant then reportedly fled the scene after attacking a security guard at the station and attempting to steal his weapon. He was eventually apprehended, police said.”

The report then goes on to state:

“Israeli security forces then shot dead a Palestinian man during clashes that erupted as they were moving towards the suspect’s home, Palestinian medics said.”

Earlier on in the report, that same incident is portrayed as follows:

“Israeli forces targeting the house of a suspected attacker in the West Bank then shot dead a Palestinian as clashes began, Palestinian medics said.”

The incident actually took place in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Shuafat rather than in “the West Bank” and the “clashes that erupted” when police went to search the house of Subhi Abu Khalifa would be more accurately described as violent riots.

“On Thursday night, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that a riot ensued in Shuafat when Border Police officers approached Khalifa’s home.

“When the Border Police went to Shuafat to enter the terrorist’s house, hundreds of Palestinians attacked them with rocks, pipe bombs and firebombs,” he reported.

“Fearing for their lives, police responded by firing shots at the lower parts of the bodies of the suspects that approached them.”

Rosenfeld said at least nine officers were wounded during the clash, but he could not confirm reports that a Palestinian man was killed.”

The second attack reported in this article took place in Tel Aviv at around 3 p.m. and is initially described as follows, with further detail added later on:

“Seven Israelis have been wounded and one suspected assailant killed in the latest spate of stabbing attacks.

Police said four Israelis were hurt in Tel Aviv before the suspected attacker was shot dead.”

Notably, earlier versions of the article accurately described Taeer Abu Gazala from Jerusalem as the “assailant” and “attacker”, with the word “suspected” having been added to the report hours later.

The third attack – in Kiryat Arba – is described in the report thus:

“Shortly afterwards, a Palestinian stabbed and seriously wounded a man near the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, close to the West Bank city of Hebron, the Israeli military said.

The attacker fled the scene and Israeli forces were searching the area, it added.”

The fourth attack, which took place in Afula at around 7 p.m., is described as follows:

“In yet another attack later on Thursday, an Israeli soldier was stabbed by an attacker in the northern Israeli town of Afula, police said.

They said the assailant – who was not identified – was arrested.”

The article has not been updated to inform audiences that the terrorist – Tarak Yaha – came from Jenin.

Towards the end of the report, readers are provided with the following ‘context’:

“Tensions between Israel and Palestinians have soared in the past couple of weeks, with the attacks on Israelis following clashes between troops and Palestinian youths at a flashpoint holy compound in East Jerusalem.”

The fact that what the BBC chooses to describe as “clashes” were in fact organized episodes of premeditated rioting aimed at preventing visits by non-Muslims to Temple Mount is clearly not adequately conveyed by that wording and yet again we see that no effort is made to inform BBC audiences of the related incitement from assorted official and unofficial Palestinian sources.

Related Articles:

BBC News reporting on October 7 terror attacks avoids the word terror


Weekend long read

As noted here earlier this week, the BBC’s reporting on the October 3rd terror attack near Lions Gate in Jerusalem not only prompted protest on social media but was also the subject of official complaints and coverage in the media. Unusually, two Israeli media organisations also produced opinion pieces on the topic.Weekend Read

The Jerusalem Post published an op-ed titled “BBC bias” on October 6th.

“The BBC website headline announced: “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.”

The BBC didn’t note that the murderer was shot in the midst of his killing spree. The BBC left it unclear who killed whom and who the “killed two” (mentioned in the passive voice) were. After repeated complaints, the phrasing was changed three times – yet in all the truth remained obfuscated.

Significantly, the BBC never apologized.

Its conduct was worse than al-Jazeera’s, whose re-cap was only slightly less misleading: “Palestinian shot dead after fatal stabbing in Jerusalem; 2 Israeli victims also killed.”

Clearly we expect less of the Qatar-based network than of the London one. Yet, unlike the BBC, al-Jazeera apologized and revised the headline to read, “Two Israelis killed in stabbing attack; Palestinian suspect shot dead.””

Read the rest of that piece here.

Over at Ynet, an article by Gilad Halpern was published on the same day under the title “Why the BBC is biased against Israel”.Pigua Lions Gate art vers 1

“It’s happened. The BBC, the pinnacle of quality journalism, joined a string of world-renowned news networks to have grossly misreported a terror attack against Israelis. “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two” read the headline on Saturday, failing to convey that the casualty was a terrorist who perpetrated a deadly stabbing and shooting attack, rather than an innocent victim.”

Considering the reports of an unofficial BBC statement attributing the offending headlines to “the mistake of a junior editor at the desk”, Halpern’s theory is interesting.

“More than latent anti-Semites, the journalists who wrote these shoddy headlines were simply ignorant. They failed to grasp the very rudimentary elements of the story, and exhibited a shocking unawareness of the general context – namely, the “most important story on earth.”

This should set the alarm bells ringing for the network executives, whether in London, Atlanta or New York. The last competitive edge that remains for big news organizations, amid a seemingly endless flow of information that the Internet provides, is their ability to separate the chaff from the wheat and tell a story that is coherent and truthful. And in these cases, they demonstrated none of that.”

Read the full article here.


BBC News describes Henkin family attackers as “alleged militants”

On October 5th the Israeli security services announced the arrest of the terrorist cell responsible for the murders of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin four days previously.

“The Shin Bet named the cell leader as Ragheb Ahmad Muhammad Aliwi, a previously jailed Hamas fighter from Nablus, who recruited the other four terrorists, instructed them how to carry out attacks and provided them with their weapons.

The other four were named as Yahia Muhammad Naif Abdullah Hajj Hamad, who carried out the shooting itself; Samir Zahir Ibrahim Kusah, the driver of the car who is linked to previous terror attacks; Karem Lufti Fatahi Razek, the gunman who was wounded by gunfire from one of his fellow cell members during the attack; and Zir Ziad Jamal Amar, who cleared the way for the car to carry out the attack.

All four are Hamas activists from Nablus.

Razek was arrested in a hospital in Nablus by an undercover police unit. The other suspects were arrested at their homes and other locations.

The Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades, a group affiliated with Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, had claimed on Friday that it carried out the terror attack. In fact, said the Shin Bet, Hamas was to blame. It was not clear whether the killing was organized higher up the Hamas hierarchy.”

The next day, the security services also recovered the weapon used in the attack.

Despite having covered the terror attack on the Henkin family (without actually naming it as such, of course), the BBC News website did not produce any stand-alone follow-up reporting on the subject of the arrests and the only brief mention of them came in an article titled “Palestinian youths killed in West Bank clashes” which appeared on the website’s Middle East page on October 5th.

Although the terrorists had admitted their involvement in the shooting attack (as well as two previous ones which fortunately did not result in fatalities) by the time the public announcement concerning their arrest was made, and although Hamas welcomed the announcement and again praised the attack, the language used by the BBC in its brief mention of the arrests curiously suggests to readers that the men might not after all be “Hamas militants”.

terror cell Henkin murders

Commenting on the arrests, Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said:

“”Hamas is trying all of the time to carry out terror attacks in various forms. The main orchestration, funding, and training comes, generally, from [Hamas’s] Gaza headquarters, which oversees West Bank attacks, and through Salah Arouri, who runs the organization’s terror activities from his base in Istanbul. It would be appropriate for the free world not to sweep this reality under the rug,” the defense minister added.”

As regular readers know, the BBC has abstained for more than a year from reporting on Hamas’ efforts – including those orchestrated by Saleh al Arouri from Turkey – to increase its terror activity in Judea & Samaria.

If BBC audiences are to fully understand the background to the current wave of terror in Israel; that is a part of the story the BBC must begin to tell.




BBC News reporting on October 7 terror attacks avoids the word terror

October 7th saw a wave of terror attacks across Israel, three of which were reported on the BBC News website in an article which was originally headlined “Two Israelis stabbed in Jerusalem’s Old City” and later retitled “Israeli stabbed in Jerusalem’s Old City” as circumstances became clearer.

The first two versions of the report related to an attack carried out by a Palestinian woman from the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sur Baher. Both versions included the following statement which presents victims of terrorism and their attackers on an equal footing:

“The stabbing comes amid a surge in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank that has left eight people dead.”

Readers subsequently discover that those eight people are in fact four Israeli victims of terrorism, two Palestinian terrorists shot whilst in the process of carrying out attacks and two Palestinians shot due to their having been engaged in violent rioting.

“On Monday, Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian youths during clashes with protesters in the West Bank. Israeli media subsequently quoted military officials as saying one of them, a 13-year-old boy, had been shot by mistake.

Two days earlier, a Palestinian stabbed two Israelis to death in Jerusalem. Another stabbed and wounded an Israeli teenager. Israeli police killed both attackers.

And last Thursday, gunmen shot and killed an Israeli couple as they drove with their four young children in the West Bank.”

The statement concerning the 13 year-old paraphrased by the BBC in these and later versions of the report can be seen here.

Later on in the day another incident took place in the southern town of Kiryat Gat. Once again, the BBC managed to provoke protest on social media with its updated headline to the report.

Kiryat Gat pigua

That headline was later amended but retained its ‘last-first reporting’ style.

Kiryat Gat pigua 2

Readers of the first three versions of the BBC’s report on that incident were informed that:

“The man [terrorist] then fled into a residential building, where police forces tracked him down and shot him dead…”

Only in version five did readers discover that there was rather more to the story.

“The man [terrorist] then fled into a residential building, where he reportedly forced his way into one woman’s flat, grabbed a kitchen knife and attempted to stab her after realising that the rifle did not have a magazine. Israeli police then arrived at the scene and shot the man dead.”

The later two versions of the report – including the one which currently appears on the BBC News website – were titled “Israelis stabbed in three attacks as tensions escalate” and were updated with reporting on yet another attack which took place in Petah Tikva in the early evening.Oct 7 art final

The latest version of the report now opens with the following confusing description which suggests some sort of linkage between the first two attacks:

“Israelis have been targeted in a series of stabbing attacks by Palestinians, Israeli police say, amid escalating tensions in the region.

A Palestinian man was shot dead by police after attacking a soldier, after a Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man who then shot her, police said.

Later, an Israeli man was stabbed by a Palestinian man, police said.” [emphasis added]

There are several notable points concerning this evolving article.  No attempt was made to clarify to readers that the three specific attacks reported in the various versions of this article were by no means the only attacks to have taken place on that day.

Whilst the reports named the towns of Kiryat Gat and Petah Tikva, no clarification was provided to readers with regard to the fact that the attacks in those places represent an expansion of what was described in the article’s early versions as “a surge in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank”. In addition, there was no BBC reporting on the protests – some of which turned violent – in towns such as Jaffa and Lod.

Notable too is the fact that the BBC’s reporting adopts and promotes the notion of equivalence between victims of terrorism and their attackers, as well as those engaged in violent rioting, by means of the use of phrasing such as “a surge in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank that has left eight people dead” and – immediately following a description of Israelis injured in terror attacks:  

“Dozens of Palestinians were also reportedly hurt in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank.” [emphasis added]

But the most obvious notable point about this article is that despite all its versions being devoted to reporting on three separate terror attacks in one single day, yet again the word terror did not appear even once in any of them.

The BBC cannot claim to be meeting its public purpose of enhancing the public’s understanding of international issues as long as it continues to avoid clarifying to audiences by means of the use of accurate language that what is happening in Israel at present is a wave of terror.

BBC News website alters description of Palestinian terrorist

The October 3rd BBC News website report on the terror attack at Lions Gate – which created considerable controversy with its original headline “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two” – continued to be amended in the two days following its publication and on the evening of October 4th a footnote was added to the article.

Pigua Lions Gate footnote

Earlier on the same day, the article’s headline was changed for the fourth time to read “Israelis killed in Jerusalem, Palestinians banned from Old City” and the report was updated with news of an additional incident in which fifteen year-old Moshe Malka was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist from Issawiya.Palestinians banned art 1

“In the second incident, a Palestinian teenager stabbed an Israeli teenager on a street in West Jerusalem in the early hours of Sunday. The attacker was also shot dead by police, similar to the earlier incident on Sunday.”

Similar wording was seen in a subsequent report which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on October 5th under the headline “Jerusalem Old City ban on Palestinians after killings“.

“In the second incident, a Palestinian teenager stabbed an Israeli teenager on a street in West Jerusalem in the early hours of Sunday. The attacker was also shot dead by police.”

Technically, the BBC’s identical description of both the nineteen year-old terrorist Fadi Alun and his fifteen year-old victim as teenagers may be considered accurate but notably, the terrorist who perpetrated the earlier attack at Lions Gate is described in different terms in both articles, despite also being 19 years old. The first report reads:

The Palestinian man – named as Mohammad Halabi, a 19-year-old law student from a village near Ramallah in the West Bank – attacked Mr Bennett, his wife, their two-year-old son and baby daughter who were on their way to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement.” [emphasis added]Palestinians banned art 2

The second report reads:

A Palestinian man attacked Aharon Benitah, 21, his wife, their two-year-old son and baby daughter who were on their way to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement.” [emphasis added]

Even more remarkable is the fact that the description of Fadi Alun in the first report was changed. Three earlier versions of the report read:

“In the second incident, the Palestinian man stabbed the teenager on a street in West Jerusalem in the early hours of Sunday. The attacker was also shot dead by police, similar to the earlier incident on Sunday [sic – the earlier incident took place on Saturday evening].” [emphasis added]

However, the words “the Palestinian man” were replaced with “a Palestinian teenager” in version 7 of the report.

No less notable is the fact that despite having had to change two inaccurate headlines to earlier versions of the first report, the BBC chose to inaccurately advise readers that Palestinians had been “banned from Old City” in its later headline when in fact – as the second article showed – the temporary arrangements were distinctly more nuanced