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. 

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.

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


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

Bad press, complaints lodged over BBC’s Lions Gate terror attack headline

The egregious headline which appeared on the BBC News website on the evening of October 3rd following the murders of two Israelis and the wounding of two more by a Palestinian terrorist – “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two” – has been the topic of broader media attention (see for example herehere, here and here) as well as the subject of official complaints lodged by the Government Press Office in Jerusalem and the Israeli embassy in London, which have in turn prompted further reports on the story.Pigua Lions Gate art vers 1

“According to a GPO official, Israel expects an official apology from the network, and said the office was considering annulling the press cards of BBC journalists, a decision that if implemented would not allow the network to continue operating in Israel.”

The Israeli website NRG reported that an unofficial BBC response stated that:

“It seems to have been about […] the mistake of a junior editor at the desk ‘and not about a clear agenda’…..”

This of course would not be the first time that the BBC has used the ‘shin gimmel formula’ to deflect criticism concerning its failure to adhere to its own editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality. Similar strategies employed to divert criticism of the frequently seen failure to report terror attacks on Israeli civilians at all include the “very busy news period” and “smaller operation at the weekend” formulae. 

Obviously, BBC editorial guidelines apply to all content produced by the corporation, regardless of whether the person manning the desk at the time happens to be a “junior” employee or not and it is worth recalling that the BBC’s guidelines on reporting War, Terror and Emergencies stress that:

“At such times, when there may be conflicting information and opinions, and with reliable information hard to come by, we need to be scrupulous in applying our principles of accuracy and impartiality.”

So if, perchance, the head of the BBC’s Jerusalem Bureau or his superiors would like to carry out a serious examination of the question of whether “a clear (political) agenda” might have played a role in the creation of that miserable headline, all he has to do is search the archives of this site – particularly under the tag ‘terrorism’.

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism – August 2015

BBC News coverage of terrorism – July 2015

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – June 2015 & Q2 2015

A worldwide platform for incitement from BBC Arabic’s Nawal Assad

BBC News flunks headline of report on Jerusalem terror attack

On the evening of October 3rd a terror attack took place near the Lion’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

“Two Israeli men […] died of their wounds Saturday night after being stabbed in Jerusalem’s Old City in a terror attack.

The wife of one of the men is in serious condition and their two-year-old baby was lightly wounded. The mother was taken to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and is undergoing surgery. The toddler was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment where he remains in stable condition. […]

When the attack began, the injured woman managed to run and alert a group of Border Police forces nearby who arrived on the scene and shot and killed the attacker.”

So how did the website of the self-styled “standard-setter for international journalism” report that terror attack? Here is the Tweet promoting the article sent from the BBC News account.

Pigua Lions Gate tweet BBC

The headline to that article – “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two” – is not only a prime example of the ‘last-first reporting’ regularly employed by the BBC but of course fails to clarify to audiences that the dead Palestinian was the terrorist who killed two people (later named as father of seven Rabbi Nechemia Lavi and father of two Rabbi Aharon Benita) and wounded a mother and her two year-old son.

Pigua Lions Gate art vers 1

Predictably, that headline prompted considerable protest on social media and shortly after its publication the title was changed to one displaying yet another regular feature of BBC reporting; the use of superfluous punctuation.

Pigua Lions Gate art vers 2

Following further complaints, the headline was amended again.

Pigua Lions Gate art vers 3

And later on – yet again.

Pigua Lions Gate art vers 4

In other words, professional journalists supposedly fluent in the English language had to make three changes to the article’s headline in not much more than an hour.

And what of the report itself? In line with standard BBC practice, the word terror does not appear in any of the versions of an article describing a terror attack on Israeli civilians. Readers are told that:

“It comes two days after an Israeli couple, who were in a car with their four children, were shot dead in the West Bank.”

Of course BBC audiences had not been informed that was a terror attack either.

Readers of the third version of the report were told that:

“Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, issued a statement praising the attack which it described as “heroic”.”

They were not, however, informed that social media accounts belonging to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party similarly praised the attack and described its perpetrator as a ‘hero’. The information concerning Hamas was later removed.

As was the case in reports concerning the previous fatal terror attack just two days before, BBC audiences were provided with ‘context’ which made no mention of the incitement from Palestinian sources which underpins the recent wave of violence and terrorism.

“There has been a recent flare-up in tensions between Israel and Palestinians, with violent confrontations between security forces and Palestinian youths in a compound holy to both Jews and Muslims in East Jerusalem.

Earlier this week, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations General Assembly that Israel risked creating “an explosive situation” in Jerusalem and the West Bank with its use of “brutal force”.”

Once again BBC News reporting on terror attacks against Israelis is shown to be unfit for purpose.


BBC coverage of Succot Temple Mount riots – part two

Although order was restored following the rioting on Temple Mount on the eve of Succot (September 27th), the attempts by Palestinian agitators to inflame tensions at the site did not end there.  

“Palestinian protesters are planning for more violence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Monday, stockpiling rocks inside the al-Aqsa Mosque at the site after a morning of clashes, new images indicated Sunday.

The photographs, which Channel 2 television said Sunday night were released by Palestinians and obtained by Jerusalem district police, show lines and heaps of masonry inside the mosque, hours after rioters clashed with police as Muslims marked the end of Eid al-Fitr [sic – actually Eid al Adha – Ed.] and Jews prepared to celebrate the festival of Sukkot.

According to Channel 2, the stones were prepared in advance of Monday’s return of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, after they were banned from entering Sunday in an effort to maintain the recent calm after days of riots. Some religious Jews traditionally ascend to the site, considered the holiest in Judaism, during the week-long Sukkot holiday that began Sunday evening.

The discovery of the images led Jerusalem police chief Moshe Edri on Sunday evening to impose an indefinite ban on male Muslim worshipers under the age of 50 from entering the site, the TV report said.”

And indeed, early the next morning – September 28th – the rioting recommenced.

“Police said forces entered the Temple Mount at approximately 6:45 Monday morning after repeated efforts at dialogue to end the standoff and clear the site of dangerous materials failed.

According to police, the forces were met with an onslaught of rocks and firebombs thrown by protesters who had barricaded themselves in the al-Aqsa Mosque. Police also said bottles filled with unknown material were hurled at them, as well as firecrackers.”

In an article titled “Jerusalem holy site witnesses fresh clashes” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on September 28th, readers were told that:AAM 28 9

“There have been fresh clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians at a disputed holy site in Jerusalem.

Police fired tear gas at youths who were throwing stones and petrol bombs.”

Only in the article’s sixth paragraph did readers gain an inkling of insight into the premeditated nature of the violence.

“After clashing with Israeli police at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound on Sunday morning, Palestinian protesters barricaded themselves inside the al-Aqsa mosque overnight, stockpiling stones and other projectiles.”

Baseless rumour rooted in deliberate incitement was again amplified but, in contrast to the previous day’s report, this time at least the Israeli side of the story was included.

“Many Palestinians suspect Israel wants to make changes to the status quo that has governed rights of access since 1967 – something Israel has denied.”

“Palestinians have been alarmed by rumours that Israel is planning to change the delicate status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound, which allows Jews to visit the site but not pray there.

However, Israel’s prime minister has insisted he is committed to maintaining it.

“We are not the ones to change the status quo. Those who take pipe bombs to mosques are the ones changing the status quo,” Benjamin Netanyahu said last Thursday.”

Readers were told that the “protesters” (as they were inaccurately termed):

“…vowed to “defend” the mosque – the third holiest in Islam – during the eight-day Jewish festival of Sukkot, which began on Monday and was expected to bring an increase in Jewish visitors….”  

As was later reported after calm was restored, the ‘increased’ number of Jewish visitors to Temple Mount on September 28th came to the grand total of twenty-four.

No effort was made in this report to inform readers that non-Muslim visitors to the site do not enter the Al Aqsa Mosque or that there is of course no need to “defend” it. Neither were readers informed that these repeated attempts to prevent visits to the site by non-Muslims are in breach of the existing agreements concerning the site and contrary to accepted norms of religious freedom. Readers were however told that:

“Israel has banned Muslim men under the age of 50 from worshipping at the compound on occasion – including during Sukkot this year – but argues that it is about maintaining order.”

Although these repeated incidents of violent rioting on Temple Mount inevitably receive BBC News coverage, audiences have not been provided with the back-story which would enable them to understand the issue properly. Like its predecessors, this article too neglects to tell audiences about the frequent and extensive incitement coming from official Palestinian sources as well as others and no information concerning the Northern Islamic Movement and Hamas funding of the agitators on Temple Mount is included in the report. Moreover, the BBC has on occasion uncritically amplified the myths, rumours and libels which underwrite the violence on Temple Mount, thus contributing to the entrenchment of this particular lethal narrative.

In the absence of that essential background, BBC audiences continue to be herded towards the mistaken view that this recurring story is about “clashes” which occasionally and mysteriously ‘break out’ between Palestinian “protesters” and the Israeli police rather than an ongoing attempt to gain exclusivity on Temple Mount and prevent access for members of two of the three religions for whom the site is significant. 

It is high time the BBC got round to telling its audiences the real story. 

BBC coverage of Succot Temple Mount riots – part one

As was the case on the previous Jewish holidays of Tisha B’Av and Rosh HaShana, on the eve of Succot (September 27th) Palestinian agitators once again initiated violent riots on Temple Mount and the Israeli security forces were obliged to intervene in order to keep the peace.

““Masked youths threw stones and shot firecrackers at police and Border Police securing the site,” police said in a statement.

Police were on alert Sunday morning amid reports that extremists had barricaded themselves in the compound overnight, in anticipation of possible clashes.”

The rioting took place despite the fact that the site had been closed to Jewish visitors.

“On Sunday, the Mount was open solely to Muslim worshipers, with Jewish visitors kept away in an attempt to maintain the calm. Some religious Jews traditionally ascend to the site, considered the holiest in Judaism, during the week-long Sukkot festival that began Sunday evening. […]

But dozens of masked Palestinians hurled rocks and firecrackers at Israeli police at the site on Sunday morning, as Muslims closed out the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday and Jews prepared for Sukkot. There were no reports of injuries, and officers used riot dispersal means to break up the riot.”

However, visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page on September 27th learned from an article titled “Violent clashes at East Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque” that the violence just ‘broke out’ all by itself.AAM 27 9

“Clashes have broken out between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem.”

Once again audiences were presented with an inadequate portrayal of the significance of the site in the Jewish religion.

“Al-Aqsa is one of Islam’s holiest sites and is in the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif site also revered by Jews.”

The article presented readers with a number of statements apparently intended to tick the box of providing context to the story – but which failed to inform audiences of its real background.

“The site is a source of religious and political tension between Israelis and Palestinians and a frequent flashpoint for violence. […]

Tensions have been running high in Jerusalem since Israel Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon earlier this month banned two Muslim groups which confront Jewish visitors to the compound.”

Yet again the BBC refrained from informing audiences of the organised nature of the violent incidents on Temple Mount, of the incitement which underwrites that violence or of the funding of agitators at the site by Islamist elements. In fact, even though the BBC has recycled that above latter paragraph several times over the past few weeks, no effort has been made to inform audiences who those “two Muslim groups” are, where their financial support comes from or why they were banned.

Readers of this article were also invited to step into the rioters’ shoes.

“Dozens of Palestinians entered the compound overnight, fearing that large numbers of Jews would visit because of the [Succot] festival, according to the AP news agency.”

Only later on in the article were readers informed that in fact there was no basis for those ‘fears’ because visits by Jews had been halted. No effort was made to clarify to readers that attempts to prevent non-Muslims from visiting Temple Mount contradict the “Protection of Holy Places Law” and go against the agreed status quo at the site.

The article also amplified rumours concerning Temple Mount but failed to inform readers that those claims have no basis in reality and that the Israeli government has repeatedly voiced its commitment to the current conventions governing the site.

“Muslims who use the mosque have reportedly been alarmed by an increase in visits by Jews and fear rules governing the compound will be changed. Jews are allowed to visit but not pray in the compound, to avoid any perception of change to the status quo which has existed there since 1967, and to avoid an inflammation of tension with Muslims.”

This of course is far from the first time that the BBC has amplified baseless rumour concerning Temple Mount whilst failing to inform its audiences worldwide of the facts behind the story and the politically motivated sources of such incitement.

The following day also saw riots on Temple Mount and a new BBC News website article on the subject. That report will be discussed in a future post. 

BBC’s public purpose remit compromised by failure to report on incitement

As noted here previously, BBC News’ reporting on the stoning attack in Jerusalem on September 13th which caused the death of Alexander Levlovich, as well as injuries to two other passengers in his vehicle, was remarkable for the fact that audiences were not provided with any information concerning the identity of the attackers. A later article in which that incident was also mentioned similarly disconnected the attack from its context.Alexander Levlovich

“An Israeli motorist died earlier in the week in an accident apparently caused by a rock-throwing attack in Jerusalem.” [emphasis added]

On September 26th the Israeli security services announced the arrests of four suspects from Sur Baher in connection with that attack.

“They were identified by the Shin Bet as Muhammad Salah Muhammad Abu Kaf, 18, Walid Fares Mustafa Atrash, 18, and Abed Muhammad Abed Rabo Dawiat, 17. The fourth suspect’s identity was not revealed.

During their interrogation, according to the Shin Bet, the four admitted to setting out on the evening of Rosh Hashanah to attack Israeli cars.

Dawiat, according to the investigation, threw the stone that hit Levlovitz’s car, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and crash into a pole.” 

The Jerusalem Post adds:

“Doiat [Dawiat], who confessed to throwing the large rock that killed Levlovitz, said he wore a Hamas flag he received earlier in the month at an “Al-Aksa is in Danger” demonstration against the banning by the defense minister of two radical Muslim groups from the Temple Mount.

The rally [held in Um el Fahm – Ed.] was organized by Hamas and the [Northern] Islamic Movement, according to security forces.”

As has been noted on countless occasions on these pages, the BBC has consistently failed to inform its audiences on the issue of incitement in general and the activities of the Hamas-linked Northern Islamic Movement (including on Temple Mount) in particular.

The complete absence of coverage of that very relevant issue means that not only are BBC audiences being denied the full range of information which would enable them to properly understand this particular “international issue” but they are actively being misled with regard to the back story to violent attacks on Israeli citizens.

Celeb wedding makes front page BBC news but terror doesn’t

Throughout the past week Israeli citizens have continued to be plagued by terror attacks. On September 21st a missile fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in the Hof Ashkelon region.

‘“The rocket landed in the center of the greenhouse, and damaged the crops and equipment. It was a great miracle, because employees usually come during these hours to work,” Eran Dotan, the greenhouse owner, told the Hebrew-language news website Ynet. He said it is the second time that a rocket fired from Gaza has struck his greenhouses.’

On the same morning an IDF soldier was injured near Joseph’s Tomb.

“Dozens of Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails, and rolled burning tires downhill at the soldiers, inflicting light to moderate injuries on the soldier.

The soldiers were guarding Jewish worshipers who came to pray at the tomb, believed to contain the remains of the biblical patriarch Joseph.”

Israeli motorists continued to be targeted in stoning attacks and firebomb attacks.

“On Route 443 northwest of Jerusalem, Palestinians threw stones at passing motorists, damaging three cars.

Stones were also thrown at Israeli drivers on Route 60 near the Beit Anun intersection near Hebron, in the southern West Bank.

Egged bus No. 149 was pelted with rocks and paint between Hizma and Anatot north of Jerusalem, but no injuries or physical damage to the bus were reported.”

On September 24th a Palestinian man carrying explosives was apprehended in the Jordan Valley, firebombs were thrown at the community of Psagot and several cases of arson were reported.

“Fire caused damage to the balcony and garden of a home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor overnight on Wednesday. An investigation by the fire department found that it was caused by a Molotov cocktail thrown at the adjacent building.

A brush fire also broke out near Moshe Dayan Boulevard in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev. The fire was suspected to have been deliberately started.

Another brush fire started near Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo, south of the city, and was also suspected of being arson. And there was a fire started on Kassuto Street, in Bayit Vagan, down the road from a synagogue, Ynet reported.”

On September 24th it was reported that sulfuric acid bound for the Gaza Strip had been intercepted after passing through the Nitzana crossing.

“The acrid smell of the shipment, which was recorded officially as 30 tons of paint thinner, aroused the suspicion of Shin Bet and customs officials at the Nitzana border crossing with Egypt. At least half of the shipment, it turned out, was sulfuric acid.

Sulfuric acid is banned from import to the Gaza Strip through Israel. It is a key component in producing explosives such as nitroglycerin and TNT.

According to Channel 2, the quantities seized were sufficient to produce three tons of explosives.”

None of the above was reported on the BBC News website. The only terror-related incident (although not defined as such to BBC audiences) which did receive coverage during the same week involved a Palestinian woman who was shot after trying to stab a soldier in Hebron.

On the other hand, visitors to the BBC News website on September 25th did find a vacuous written report about Bar Rafaeli’s wedding on the site’s main homepage, on its ‘World’ page and on its Middle East page.  In addition, a filmed report on the same topic appeared on the website’s Middle East and ‘Video’ pages. 

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Yes – a supermodel’s nuptials really were deemed more newsworthy by the self-styled “standard-setter of international journalism” than missile attacks, stoning attacks and firebomb attacks on civilians or attempts to smuggle bomb-making materials into a terrorist-run enclave.

Related Articles:

Two missile attacks on southern Israel get nineteen words of coverage from BBC News

How many firebomb attacks on a Jewish home does it take for the UK media to notice?  (UK Media Watch)