The news the BBC has to omit in order to keep up its narrative

Last month we noted the emergence of “The terror group BBC audiences have never heard of” in the Gaza Strip and that organisation’s statements concerning its intended expansion of operations.

“A Palestinian jihadi group with close ties to Iran claimed on Wednesday that it has expanded out of the Gaza Strip and is now operating in the West Bank and Jerusalem as well.

“We have an armed branch whose goal it is to wage war on the Israeli occupation everywhere,” Hisham Salim, founder of the Harakat al-Sabireen, told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

“Within this framework we have members in the West Bank and Jerusalem who will soon receive financial and military support from us,” he said.”

Recently the Palestinian Authority announced the arrest of members of that group.

photo credit: Times of Israel

photo credit: Times of Israel

“Palestinian Authority security forces have recently arrested five pro-Iranian operatives in Bethlehem planning to establish a foothold in the West Bank and carry out attacks against Israel, Israel Radio cited Palestinian security forces as saying. 

According to the sources, the five members of the ‘a-Sabrin’ organization had operated in the Gaza Strip over the past years before being arrested two weeks ago after leaving the coastal Palestinian enclave. 

The operatives working under Iranian orders had reportedly received funding in Gaza and were instructed to carry out terror attacks.”

To date there has been no BBC coverage of that story or of the earlier Israeli announcement concerning the apprehension of a Hizballah-run terror cell in Tulkarem.

Hizballah logo

Hizballah logo

“A terror cell based in Tulkarem in the West Bank and recruited and funded by Lebanon-based Hezbollah planned to carry out a shooting attack and suicide bombings against Israelis, but was stopped by a joint operation of the Shin Bet security service and the army, officials announced on Wednesday.

Jawad Nasrallah, son of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, recruited the cell via social media, the Shin Bet said. […]

To assist the cell, Hezbollah gave it $5,000 so it could acquire weaponry and equipment for an attack. Two members of the cell acquired guns and were preparing to shoot IDF troops in the area, but were captured before the attack could be carried out.

In addition to the planned shooting attack, the terror cell also received orders about carrying out suicide bombings and collecting intelligence on IDF activities and positions.

The five-man cell was led by Mahmoud Zaghloul, 32, from Zita outside of Tulkarem, who was recruited directly by Jawad Nasrallah. It was an initiative of Hezbollah’s Unit 133, which is charged with setting up terror cells in Israel.”

These two stories join the growing list of similar ones (see for example here and here) concerning the apprehension of cells connected to established terrorist groups which have been completely ignored by the BBC.

However, at the same time as it elects not to report such stories, the BBC does continue to promote the “DIY unrest” narrative on the topic of Palestinian terrorism which it adopted over four months ago, repeatedly telling audiences (in a manner eerily similar to the dictates of the PLO’s guidance for foreign journalists) that the ongoing wave of attacks against Israelis is the result of “frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation”.

The BBC’s framing of this topic leads to the failure to meet its obligation to enhance audiences’ “awareness and understanding of international issues” by serially avoiding compromising its adopted narrative with any mention of terrorism which is not ‘grassroots’ but organised by groups such as Hamas and Hizballah out of motivations which go far beyond “frustration”. 

BBC News reports Jerusalem terror attack with politicised description of location

Early on the afternoon of February 3rd a terror attack took place at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.

“Three terrorists committed a combined stabbing and shooting attack Wednesday afternoon at Jerusalem’s Damascus gate, wounding two female Border Police officers and a young man. […]

The three attackers arrived at the scene armed with Carl Gustav rifles, knives and explosive devices. The Border Police unit noticed them and became suspicious. One terrorist presented a national ID card to a Border Police officer as another pulled out his weapon and opened fire.

The two wounded officers’ colleagues opened fire on the terrorists in response. According to Palestinian sources, the attackers – Ahmed Abu Al-Roub, Mohammed Kamil and Mohammed Nasser – came from the Jenin area, and were aged between 20 and 21. Two of the attackers had been barred from entering Israel by the Shin Bet, and all three crossed over illegally.

Later on, two explosive devices were found at the scene along with two guns. The explosives were neutralized.

Hamas praised the attack, calling the terrorists “heroes” and saying that the incident proved that “the Palestinian people will persist with the intifada.””

One of the injured Border Police officers – 19 year-old Hadar Cohen – later died of her wounds.

Version 1

Version 1

The BBC News website’s initial report on the attack was titled “Israeli border guards shot in Jerusalem attack” but after news of the death of one of the victims broke, that headline was changed to read “Jerusalem attack: Israeli border guard dies after shooting“. Obviously neither of those headlines supplies readers with any information concerning the perpetrators of the “Jerusalem attack”.

Later on additional amendments were made to the article but all versions state that two victims sustained wounds during the attack rather than three. All versions also open with a politicized description of the location of the attack.  

Version 1: “Two female Israeli border guards have been shot and wounded in an attack by three young Palestinian men in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police say.”

Versions 2 & 3: “A female Israeli border guard has died in hospital after an attack by three young Palestinian men in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police say.”

That is presumably the result of the fact that the BBC relies on maps from political NGOs which, inter alia, describe the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City as being a “settlement” and depict areas which were in fact classified as ‘no man’s land’ in the 1949 Armistice Agreement – including the area in front of Damascus Gate – as “Palestinian”.

Damascus Gate map

The first two versions of the article inform readers that:

“In the past four months, 28 Israelis have been killed in a wave of stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.”

That number was later changed to 29 but the BBC apparently does not find it newsworthy that additional people who did not hold Israeli citizenship have also been killed in this ongoing wave of terror which has claimed 31 victims since it began. The articles also include the usual “Israel says” caveat with regard to Palestinian attackers.

“More than 160 Palestinians – mostly attackers, Israel says – have also been killed in that period.” [emphasis added]

As has been noted here before on numerous occasions, the BBC has had ample opportunity to verify the information independently and should by this time be able to tell its audiences in its own words that the majority of those killed were in the process of carrying out terror attacks at the time.

Version 2

Version 2

All versions of the report include commentary from the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly in which he describes almost daily terror attacks as “sporadic”, adopts the standard BBC approach of whitewashing incitement from official Palestinian sources and even manages to apportion blame to Israel for “inflaming the mood”.

“Our correspondent says the wave of violent incidents shows no sign of abating, and although the attacks are sporadic they are persistent.

Some Israeli politicians accuse Palestinian politicians of incitement and many Palestinians blame the readiness of the Israeli security forces to resort to lethal force for further inflaming the mood.

But, our correspondent adds, it does seem as though the incidents are spontaneous, with attackers drawing motivation from material on social media rather than following orders from any militant organisation.”

Hours after this attack took place, Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party was already praising the perpetrators on social media but BBC audiences were of course not informed of that part of the story.

As the BBC report itself states, the three attackers were armed with knives, automatic weapons and improvised explosive devices. Nevertheless, Kevin Connolly tells readers that such a heavily armed and obviously pre-planned attack was “spontaneous”. 

Once again we see that the BBC has no intention of carrying out any serious reporting on the issue of the incitement and glorification of terrorism from official Palestinian sources which fuels the current wave of violence. 

BBC News promotes ‘one-state’ stepping stone and political messaging

Last week marked ten years since elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council were held and the resulting split between Hamas and Fatah began. The BBC did not produce any content relating to that anniversary, the subsequent decade long Palestinian political paralysis and its effects upon an issue much touted on BBC pages and airwaves – the peace process.

Writing at Newsweek, Jonathan Schanzer of the FDD outlines the contemporary significance of that ten year-old event.

“Ten years on, the intra-Palestinian conflict is a glaring blind spot among Western policymakers. The enmity between the two factions challenges longstanding assertions of a unified Palestinian national identity. The Palestinian battle for primacy also injects new complexities into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The conflict, in fact, is now a three-way tug-of-war between Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, where any one move can impact the delicate balance between the three.

After a decade of failed reconciliation efforts and a collapsed unity government in 2015, the intra-Palestinian conflict now appears intractable. The Gaza Strip remains firmly in the hands of Hamas, while the Fatah faction clings to the West Bank with the help of Israeli security and intelligence. There are two separate Palestinian governments with their own bureaucracies, two sets of cadres of political elites, two distinct economies, and increasingly two different cultures.

Nevertheless, Washington continues to call for a single Palestinian state. It’s a call that echoes across most Western capitals, too. The overriding assumption is that deft diplomacy coupled with Israeli territorial concessions could pave the way for the Palestinian Authority, unpopular and corrupt as it may be, to regain the moral and military high ground from Hamas and somehow bring the Gaza Strip back under its jurisdiction. These plans remain vague, to say the least. […]

The near collapse of the post-colonial system since the Arab Spring has challenged almost all of our assumptions on how to bring order to the chaos of the Middle East. Yet, the perceived need to create a single Palestinian state spanning the West Bank and Gaza has endured. Ten years on, the Palestinians are still divided—both ideologically and territorially. It may be time to acknowledge that if they can’t peacefully resolve their own territorial conflict, they certainly are not likely to resolve the one with Israel.”

What the BBC did see fit to publish last week, however, was an article titled “Israel-Palestinian conflict: Is one homeland the solution?” which was promoted in the ‘features’ section of its website’s Middle East page for four consecutive days.Thrope article

“As support for a two-state solution to their conflict declines among Israelis and Palestinians, a different approach to finding a peaceful settlement is being proposed.

Called “Two States – One Homeland”, the group, led by Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport and Palestinian politician Awni Almashni, is advocating the creation of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation.

They say that their plan, now picking up public and official backing, can solve the difficult issues – Israeli settlements, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the fate of Jerusalem – that have scuttled past negotiations.”

The article’s over-enthusiastic portrayal of the supposed popularity of a scheme few in the region will have heard of includes only minimal coverage of opposition from “the Palestinian street” whilst totally ignoring the Hamas elephant in the room.

“The group has also encountered opposition. Its inaugural public conference last June was moved from the Palestinian city of Beit Jala to nearby Jerusalem after Palestinian supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement threatened to disrupt the gathering.”

The article also fails to clarify to readers that – at least according to an article written by Mr Almashni – the plan is merely a stepping stone on the route to something other than “two states”.

“A quick glance at these ideas shows that they meet all the demands of anyone who believes in the two-state solution – taking into account that the two states are fully independent and sovereign, and within in the 1967 borders. Nevertheless, maintaining freedom of crossing, movement, and residence – that is, an open border between the two states – leaves the door ajar for a single future [binational] state, once the trust and the relationship [between the two peoples] have developed.” […]

“Ultimately, this solution reflects the desire of all who support the traditional two-state solution – it includes all the principles of the two states, as well as the actualization of the right of return. It [also] constitutes a giant step towards a single state, if the two peoples want to reach it – because it strengthens what they share, and thus opens the way to this direction.” [emphasis added]

Not content with failing to present its subject matter accurately, the writer of the article, Samuel Thrope, also misrepresents other related subjects.

“The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. UN General Assembly resolutions, meanwhile, endorse a Palestinian right of return.”

Regular consumers of BBC content are of course used to seeing the BBC frequently fail to meet its own editorial guidelines on impartiality by refraining from informing them of the existence of legal opinions which contradict its own adopted political stance on “the settlements”.

Now we see a new addition to the BBC’s repertoire of politically partisan messaging; promotion of the inaccurate claim that “a Palestinian right of return” is endorsed by the 1948 UN GA resolution 194 – which was opposed by Arab states at the time and in fact includes one clause pertaining to refugees in general but does not include the word “Palestinian” or guarantee an unconditional ‘right of return’.

As long as BBC reports continue to include unqualified promotion of Palestinian talking points, the corporation should not of course be surprised that its impartiality is so frequently called into question.  

Related Articles:

Yolande Knell ties one-state banner to BBC mast

BBC’s Yolande Knell back on the ‘one state’ bandwagon

BBC News portrays counter-terrorism measure as ‘collective punishment’

On the morning of January 31st a terror attack took place at a checkpoint north of Ramallah.

“Three Israeli soldiers were wounded on Sunday when a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces opened fire at an IDF checkpoint near Beit El in the West Bank. He was shot dead by forces at the scene.

Magen David Adom emergency services said that two victims were in serious condition with wounds to the neck and thigh, respectively, and one was lightly hurt.

The shooter drove up to the Focus checkpoint in a car, was asked for his ID, got out and opened fire with a handgun, injuring the three soldiers. Palestinian reports named him as Amjad Sakari, 35, and said he was a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces who was working as a bodyguard for the Ramallah district attorney.”

There was no BBC coverage of that attack at the time and so audiences were not informed of the Palestinian Authority police force’s glorification of the terrorist.

“In a statement it released following the attack, the Palestinian police announced that “with great pride, the members of the Palestinian police eulogize the brave martyrdom of their colleague, Master Sergeant Amjad Sukkari, “Abu Omar”, who committed the operation at V.I.P checkpoint in Beit El.””

poster PA police

Neither did they learn of similar praise from the PA’s dominant faction Fatah.

poster Fatah

The fact that the terrorist was later buried with honours at a PA organized funeral was also not reported to BBC audiences.  

“The Palestinian Authority on Monday held a military funeral for Amjad Sukkari, the Palestinian policeman who carried out the shooting attack near Bet El a day earlier. Three IDF soldiers were wounded in the attack. […]

Senior PA officials, including the governor of Nablus, Akram Rajoub and Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul attended the policeman’s funeral.”

The only very brief mention of that terror attack came over 24 hours later in an article titled “Israel restricts entry to Ramallah after shooting attack” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on February 1st.

“The restrictions were imposed after a Palestinian policeman shot and injured three Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint outside the city before being killed.”

Whilst the short closure was in fact lifted several hours after the BBC’s report appeared, that information was not added to the article, which still remained on the website hours after it was no longer relevant.

The BBC’s report refrained from informing readers of the reason for the closure.

“For the first time in more than a decade, the IDF on Monday placed a partial daylong blockade around the large West Bank city of Ramallah. […]

The IDF’s Central Command imposed the closure after security consultation. It had received concrete alerts about future attacks originating from Ramallah, security sources told The Jerusalem Post.” [emphasis added]

Instead, the BBC elected to misrepresent a counter-terrorism measure to its audiences by means of amplification of Palestinian propaganda.

collective punishment

Had BBC audiences been made aware of the facts behind the partial one-day closure of Ramallah and had they been told that the quoted spokesman’s organization publicly glorified his colleague’s act of terror, they may have been able to put his irrelevant claim into more appropriate context.

But at the same time as it eagerly provides uncritical amplification for such propaganda, the BBC continues to embrace an editorial policy according to which PA incitement and glorification of terrorism are taboo subjects, thus undermining the corporation’s public purpose remit of enhancing audiences’ understanding of international issues.

Related Articles:

Reviewing BBC compliance with PLO media guidance

 

BBC News belatedly reports fatal terror attack, ignores praise from Abbas’ Fatah

At around 5pm on January 25th, two terrorists armed with knives and IEDs infiltrated the village of Beit Horon, situated just off Highway 443.

“Two terrorists stabbed two women and planted home-made bombs outside a grocery store at the settlement of Beit Horon on Monday afternoon. A security guard shot and killed both of the attackers.

 Security forces found three home-made bombs in the vicinity of the store, apparently planted there by the terrorists, and a bomb squad was called to the scene to neutralize them.

According to Motti Shalem, who worked at the grocery store at the time of the attack, “the two terrorists came from the direction of the fence, and must’ve breached it and got in. Then they stabbed a woman on the sidewalk, and another at the parking lot, and then tried to enter the store. Me and another guy pushed them back with a supermarket cart, and then they ran, and were shot by the security guard.””

Medical staff were unable to save the more seriously wounded woman, 23 year-old Shlomit Krigman, who died several hours later.Beit Horon art

The first reporting in English of that terror attack appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page some 19 hours after it took place in a January 26th article titled “Israeli woman dies of wounds after West Bank stabbing attack“. The story was however covered on the day it happened in Arabic.

“An Israeli woman has died of wounds she suffered in a stabbing attack by two Palestinians in a West Bank settlement on Monday, a Jerusalem hospital says.

Another woman was wounded before a guard shot dead both assailants.

The attack, which happened outside a shop in Beit Horon, was the third inside a settlement in eight days.”

The report continues the ongoing policy of qualifying information given as background to the story.

“Since October, 28 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.

More than 155 Palestinians – mostly attackers, Israel says – have also been killed in that period.” [emphasis added]

As ever, the words ‘terror’, ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorism’ do not appear at all throughout the article and the incident’s perpetrators are described as “assailants” and “attackers”.

Although the information was available by the time this report was published, the victim is not named, no personalizing details are given and her photograph does not appear.

Another piece of information which was in the public domain by the time the BBC got round to reporting this incident was the ‘martyrdom poster’ for one of the two terrorists produced by the Fatah movement – which is of course headed by the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

KAT tweet Fatah Beit Horon terrorist

Whilst the BBC ignored that aspect of the story, in a link offered together with this article (worded “What is driving the violence?”)  it did promote a very problematic article originally published last October.Beit Horon attack on ME pge

Recently, Fatah’s armed wing claimed responsibility for a drive-by shooting attack (unreported by the BBC) which took place near Dolev on January 24thDuring questioning, the terrorist arrested on suspicion of the murder of Dafna Meir in Otniel on January 17th told investigators that he was influenced by content appearing on Palestinian Authority television.

As readers will no doubt be aware, in recent months the BBC News website has repeatedly supplied its readers with ‘context’ along the following lines (for example here, here and here):

“Israel says Palestinian incitement has fuelled the attacks. The Palestinian leadership has blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.”

Whilst promoting that mantra, BBC News has for the past four months studiously avoided any serious reporting on the topic of incitement in general and that produced by the “Palestinian leadership” in particular.

The result of that passive-aggressive editorial policy is that the BBC does not merely fail to meet its defined public purpose of enhancing audiences’ understanding of international issues by failing to provide them with available, relevant information: it is in fact actively preventing that legally binding remit from being fulfilled. 

Why does BBC News continue to qualify information on dead terrorists?

As readers may recall, on January 15th the BBC News website published an article concerning the Israeli prime minister’s reaction to remarks made by the Swedish foreign minister which failed to provide readers with the information necessary for them to arrive at an informed opinion about the story.

“Leaving aside the embarrassingly uninformed nature of Margot Wallström’s latest insinuations about Israel, the remarkable thing about this BBC report is that those reading it have no way of knowing which of the two people quoted – Netanyahu or Wallström – is talking facts.

The reason for that is because – as has been noted here previously on numerous occasions – for more than three months the BBC has consistently avoided telling its audiences in its own words that the vast majority of Palestinian casualties during that time were killed whilst carrying out terror attacks or engaged in violent rioting. Instead, BBC reports have invariably used qualifying terms such as “Israel says” or “were said by Israel to be attackers”.”

Five days later an article appeared in the ‘features’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom under fire – again“. Written by Laurence Peter, the report suffers from the exact same malaise as its predecessor.Wallstrom 2

“Israel has found her recent comments about knife attacks by Palestinians to be so incendiary that it protested to the Swedish ambassador and declared Ms Wallstrom persona non grata.

Ms Wallstrom had called for an inquiry to establish whether Israel had carried out “extrajudicial executions” in response to the attacks.

Some 150 Palestinians have been fatally shot in four months of violence, at least 100 of them while they were carrying out attacks, Israel says. More than 25 Israelis have been killed.” [emphasis added]

Once again the use of the qualifying term “Israel says” prevents readers from being able to judge the Swedish FM’s remarks in their appropriate context.

The BBC has had ample opportunity to independently verify the facts behind that now standard insert to any article relating to the ongoing wave of terrorism against Israelis and – especially in light of its supposed commitment to due accuracy and impartiality – should by this stage be capable of telling its audiences in its own words that the majority of Palestinian casualties were indeed shot whilst carrying out terror attacks.

Instead, the corporation continues to employ the qualifying term “Israel says” in a manner not seen in its coverage of similar stories from other countries, meaning that the question which must inevitably be asked is whether that editorial policy has been influenced by other factors.

The circumstances of the deaths of terrorists have been serially misrepresented by the Palestinian Authority which, for example, has claimed that Alaa Abu Jamal (who carried out a terror attack in Jerusalem on October 13th 2015) “died from wounds sustained in an attack by Israeli occupying forces” and that Eyad Khalil Awawdeh (who posed as a journalist and stabbed a soldier on October 16th 2015) “was shot dead near the illegal settlement of “Kiryat Arba” in Al-Khalil” with no mention of what they – and others similarly portrayed – were doing at the time.

For the sake of its reputation as an impartial broadcaster, one can only hope that the BBC’s failure to tell its audiences the facts in its own words is not a nod to such PA propaganda. 

Related Articles:

BBC News amplification for Abbas’ lies and incitement about ‘dead’ terrorist  

Hebron news which does not fit into the BBC narrative

In late October 2015 the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell produced filmed and audio reports from Hebron, both of which made no attempt to inform BBC audiences about Hamas activity in that city but did provide an on PLO messaging portrayal of the numerous terror attacks there.Knell Hebron 30 10

“Basically on the ground here you get two starkly contrasting narratives. Speaking to the Israelis over there, they see all of this as hateful, senseless violence. But Palestinians here say that their anger stems from the political situation and their feelings of despair.”  

On January 7th the Israeli security services announced the apprehension of a Hamas cell made up of members from Jerusalem and Hebron.

“Members of the group, from Jerusalem and Hebron, had planned to use the corpses of their victim or victims in order to negotiate the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, similar to the motive behind the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenage boys in June 2014.

From the Shin Bet’s investigation of the Hamas operatives, the cell was in the “advanced planning stages” and had begun preparing the place where they would store the bodies of the kidnapped person or people.

“This case reconfirms that Hamas still aspires to carry out serious terror attacks, even now, in order to further egg on the recent wave of terror into a violent intifada,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.”

Three days later, on January 10th, the Israeli security services announced the arrest of another Hamas cell in Hebron.  

“The cell had purchased a variety of weapons, including an M-16 rifle, in order to carry out a terror attack on the Route 35 highway, which runs between Hebron and the coastal city of Ashkelon, the Shin Bet said in a statement.

“The thwarting of this terror cell, which was nearly prepared to carry out an attack, again demonstrates the never-ending attempts by Hamas operatives in Hebron to carry out severe terror acts,” the statement said.”

Both those Hamas cells were led by members of Hebron’s Qawasmeh clan (also spelt Kawasme).

“The cell announced Thursday included six people — three Israeli citizens living in Jerusalem, and three others from Hebron. They were led by Maher Qawasmeh, a 36-year-old from Hebron, who was previously imprisoned for two years for helping plan terror attacks for Hamas, the Shin Bet said.”

And:

“The head of the alleged terror cell, Mehmad Ali Qawasmeh, is the brother of one of the terrorists responsible for the abduction-killing of three Israeli teenagers in the summer of 2014, the Shin Bet said.

Qawasmeh is a member of the extended Qawasmeh family, a strong Hamas force within the city of Hebron. Another member of the family, Maher Qawasmeh, was arrested in December by the Shin Bet for leading another terror cell, which planned to kidnap and murder Israelis in order to negotiate the release of Palestinian prisoners, the security service said last week.”

Readers may recall that the BBC’s coverage of the Hebron-based group which kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens in June 2014 was notable for its downplaying of the cell’s Hamas connections and that Jon Donnison went even further.

There has been no BBC coverage of the arrests of these latest two Hamas cells led by members of the Qawasmeh family. 

BBC audiences continue to remain grossly under informed about the topic of Hamas’ activities in Hebron and other Palestinian Authority controlled areas, its longstanding attempts to boost its terrorist infrastructure in those locations and its current efforts to take the ongoing wave of terrorism to a more violent level; not only – as noted by Avi Issacharoff – out of motivations connected to Israel.

“But should Hamas go through with its reported decision to renew suicide bombings and ramp up the number of shootings, all it may take is one especially devastating mass-casualty attack for the knife to be replaced by a Kalashnikov rifle or an explosive belt as the symbol of the struggle.

Hamas knows that only one successful suicide attack within the Green Line is all it’ll take to sever the last tattered remnants of the ties between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, including security coordination.

Such an attack will bring severe Israeli punitive steps against the authority, weakening it even more, while catapulting the already popular Hamas to a more prominent position in the West Bank.”

If the BBC is to fulfil its remit of building “understanding of international issues” then obviously it cannot continue to make do with explaining away the current wave of terrorism against Israelis by using a politically motivated narrative of Palestinian “despair” and “anger”. It also has an obligation to tell its audiences about the part played in organizing and inciting violence by terror organisations such as Hamas – and the potential consequences of those actions.  

Related Articles:

On and off the BBC radar: terrorism in Jerusalem and Hebron

A new report on an issue ignored by the BBC

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has compiled a report about an issue which those getting news and information about the Middle East from the BBC will be unaware even exists. PMW’s overview of Palestinian Authority Antisemitism in 2015 was recently released at a conference in the European Parliament.PMW report

“The report documents that the Palestinian Authority continued to emit overtly Antisemitic messages throughout 2015, portraying Jews as inherently evil, comparing them to apes and pigs, and depicting them as a threat to all humanity. The PA has also continued to lend credence to the Antisemitic forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which claims that Jews conspire to take over the entire world.”

The pdf version of the report can be found here.

Weekend long read

At Commentary magazine Evelyn Gordon has an interesting piece titled Ramadi, Gaza, and Western Hypocrisy which is also available here.Weekend Read  

“The other factor in Ramadi’s devastation was airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition. As AP reported, these strikes “smashed large parts of the city into rubble.” Nor is that surprising: When a target area is extensively booby-trapped, even precision airstrikes often cause greater-than-expected damage, because the attacking force can’t know which buildings are wired with explosives, and hitting a wired building will set off massive secondary explosions. Yet airstrikes are unavoidable when fighting militants entrenched in a sea of tunnels and booby-trapped buildings, because using ground troops alone would result in unacceptably high losses for the attacking force.

Consequently, a Pentagon spokesman correctly blamed Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) for the damage to Ramadi: “One hundred percent of this is on ISIL because no one would be dropping any bombs if ISIL hadn’t gone in there,” Colonel Steven H. Warren told Hubbard.

Yet in Gaza, both the Obama Administration and European officials largely blamed the damage on Israel rather than Hamas, even though Israeli airstrikes were employed for the exact same reason, sometimes caused greater-than-expected damage for the exact same reason, and obviously wouldn’t have been launched at all had Hamas not attacked Israel to begin with. Indeed, Israel’s airstrikes were arguably far more justified than America’s were: Islamic State wasn’t firing missiles at America from Ramadi or digging attack tunnels into American territory from Ramadi. In contrast, Hamas had fired thousands of rockets at Israel from Gaza over the previous decade and dug dozens of cross-border attack tunnels, including one that notoriously emerged right next to a kindergarten.”

Given the BBC’s repeated portrayal of the ongoing wave of terrorism against Israelis as ‘lone wolf’ attacks and the differing terminology it employs when reporting terrorism in Israel and elsewhere, an essay by Irwin J Mansdorf published by the JCPA under the title ‘The Psychology of “Lone Wolf” Palestinian Arab Violence: The Interaction between Religious, Cultural and Political-National Motives’ is of interest.

“To many Western minds, the increasing amount of knife attacks by mostly individual young Palestinian Arabs on Israeli Jews is simply an expression of the despair and hopelessness that years of occupation and lack of freedom have nourished. To many Israelis, the violence is clearly a manifestation of endless incitement against Jews that includes false allegations and education based on hate. This discrepancy is at the root of a difference in worldview when it comes to how one views acts of violence against Israel as opposed to violence clearly seen as “terror” elsewhere in the world. What is missing from both views, however, is an understanding of precisely how factors interact to create the cognitive set or ideology that drives this behavior.”

The BBC’s general avoidance of the topic of internal Palestinian politics means that consumers of BBC News do not get to see the kind of perspectives recorded by Avi Issacharoff in a recent article at the Times of Israel.

““How do you explain the fact that no resident of the [Jenin refugee] camp took part in the ‘intifada of knives’ over the past three months?” I ask him.

“It’s not an intifada. It’s a fad,” he says. “Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, Jericho — nothing is happening in any one of those places. Things have calmed down even in Hebron. True, people were killed there, but it’s a passing phase. The ones that created this intifada were the media and Facebook.

“And let’s be honest,” he continues. “What did we gain from the Second Intifada? What did we get? Those of us who live here in the camp paid the heaviest price. And what did that do for us? Did we get representation on the Revolutionary Council [one of the leadership groups] or on the Central Committee [Fatah’s supreme leadership group]? So why should we take part in this? What will we get out of sending a kid to stab somebody with a knife?”

 

Impartiality fail from BBC’s Barbara Plett

The Tweet below was sent by the BBC’s US State Department correspondent Barbara Plett on January 14th 2016.

Plett tweet

Why Ms Plett found it necessary at this time to use her BBC branded Twitter account to resurrect an article unrelated to her field of reporting nearly three years after its initial publication remains a mystery. What is clear however is that the article promoted by Plett is about a study that is by no means “new” and which was shown at the time to be highly controversial.

The Israeli-Palestinian Textbook Study Fraud

The Palestinian Textbook Fiasco

The Whitewashing of Hate

Study on incitement ‘another Goldstone Report’

Giving incitement the stamp of approval

BBC editorial guidelines on “Personal use of Social Networking and other third party websites” state:

“Impartiality is a particular concern for those working in News and Current Affairs. Nothing should appear on their personal blogs or microblogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC.”

BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality state:

“Presenters, reporters and correspondents are the public face and voice of the BBC – they can have a significant impact on perceptions of whether due impartiality has been achieved.  Our audiences should not be able to tell from BBC output the personal prejudices of our journalists or news and current affairs presenters on matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or on ‘controversial subjects’ in any other area.” 

The promotion of a discredited study with distinct political overtones by a BBC journalist would clearly undermine the corporation’s reputation for impartiality at any time. When such promotion is done by a journalist who has already been shown to lack an impartial approach to the subject matter concerned, it is obviously all the more problematic.

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