Absurdity of BBC’s ‘international law’ mantra exposed by Yolande Knell

Nearly nineteen years ago, in January 1997, Israel and the PLO signed an agreement called the “Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron“. That document came about under international tutelage like the rest of the Oslo Accords, which have been described as follows:

“This overall series of commitments and obligations constitutes a contractual framework of obligations between Israel and the Palestinians, signed as witnesses and guarantors by the King of Jordan, the Presidents of the U.S. and Egypt, the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and Norway, the EU and endorsed by the UN.”

Under the terms of that agreement, Israel would administer the area defined as H-2 and the PA the area defined as H-1, with both Israelis and Palestinians continuing to live in the city of Hebron.

However, the BBC’s Yolande Knell has apparently not heard of that agreement willingly signed by the internationally recognised representatives of the Palestinian people.  

After a hiatus of almost a week in its reporting on the current wave of terrorism in Israel, on October 30th the BBC News website’s Middle East page published a filmed report produced by Knell for BBC television news programmes under the title “Tensions rise in Hebron between Israelis and Palestinians“.Knell Hebron 30 10

During that report, Knell told viewers that:

“Hebron is unique in the West Bank because it’s divided. Part is under full Palestinian control and the other part is under full Israeli control, although most of the people living there are Palestinians.”

So far, so good – except that Knell makes no effort to explain to viewers that the arrangement she portrays came about because the Palestinians agreed to it. She then takes viewers through a checkpoint.

“As you can see, it’s guarded by Israeli soldiers. […] The soldiers are here right in the heart of the Old City because just along here there are families of Jewish settlers.”

No attempt is made to inform audiences of the historic background to Jewish settlement in Hebron. After a brief interview with someone described on screen as a “settler leader”, Knell tells BBC audiences:

“The presence of Jewish settlers here is seen as illegal under international law, but Israel disagrees.”

So too, apparently, does the PLO because it agreed to their “presence” in Hebron back in 1997.

Knell’s insertion of the BBC’s standard mantra on ‘international law’ may not be at all surprising, but it does raise an interesting question. Her application of that standard insert to a place where Israelis live according to the terms of an agreement signed between Israel and the Palestinians suggests that either the BBC is either woefully under-informed or – in similar fashion to its bizarre approach to Israel’s capital city – considers itself qualified to over-rule and ignore existing documents and agreements which do not fit in with its political narrative.

It would of course be very helpful were the BBC to issue a clarification on that topic.

Additional noteworthy features in this report by Yolande Knell include the provision of backwind for the Palestinian propaganda seen in recent weeks which attempts to portray terrorists as ‘innocent victims’. [all emphasis added]

“As violence has flared this month there have been a lot of stabbing attacks and alleged attacks on Israelis in and around Hebron. A lot of young Palestinians have been shot and killed as a result.”

An on-screen caption preceding an interview with the mother of a terrorist who attacked a soldier with a knife on October 26th read:

“Saad al Atrash is said to have tried to stab a soldier. He was shot dead.”

Also notable is the inclusion of an interview with Issa Amro in this report and – not for the first time – the inadequate description of that relatively frequent BBC interviewee as a “Palestinian activist”. With Amro’s employment by an anti-Israel organization concealed, viewers would of course have been unable to put the claims he made into their appropriate context.

Knell closed this report by telling BBC audiences that the story of the current wave of terrorism in Hebron is all about ‘narratives’.

“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. This is really a nationalistic struggle but increasingly, it’s also taking on a religious dimension.”

Of course this wave of terrorism has been fueled by religiously themed incitement from the start, but the BBC continues to downplay that aspect of it by both failing to report that incitement (and Hamas’ strength in Hebron) and focusing instead on a narrative with which Western audiences – and journalists – are much more at ease. 

Hanan Ashrawi’s lies about Temple Mount status quo given multiple BBC platforms

On October 16th the BBC’s Lyse Doucet conducted an interview with the PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi.

As well as being broadcast on BBC television news programmes, an abridged version of that interview was promoted separately on the BBC News website under the title “Israeli occupation is ‘abnormal, cruel and lethal’” and embedded into a written report titled “Palestinian rioters torch Jewish holy site Joseph’s Tomb“.Ashrawi on website

In addition to blaming Israelis for the terror attacks against them, Ashrawi used her BBC platform to promote blatant falsehoods which are at the root of the Palestinian incitement fueling the current wave of terrorism.

“…and the latest escalation is that they change the status quo of the Al Aqsa Mosque – of Haram al Sharif – and again they have blocked off Jerusalem for all Palestinians. No Palestinian West Banker or from exile or from Gaza can get to Jerusalem and they have managed to provoke every single Palestinian – Muslim, Christian or otherwise – by carrying out such draconian measures.”

Both the abridged versions appearing on the BBC News website end at that point and so audiences are left with the materially misleading impressions promoted by Ashrawi. Only those who happened to see the full report heard Lyse Doucet’s half-hearted ‘challenge’ to Ashrawi’s falsehoods and her provision of a lead for yet more propaganda.

Doucet: “Hanan Ashrawi; you mention the status quo, which is a very sensitive issue. Israeli leaders say they have not changed the status quo – that is, that Palestinians can pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, that Jews can visit the Temple Mount but they’re not allowed to pray there. They say that they haven’t changed it. You’ve seen otherwise?”

Ashrawi: “Of course. I mean we don’t need to listen to Israeli fabrications and fiction because we deal with reality – we look at what’s happening on the ground. Certainly they have changed the status quo. Certainly they have changed even the physical surroundings. They have dug beneath the mosque and el Haram Sharif. They have repeatedly prevented Palestinians from entering the mosque. They have put restrictions on the age of men and women who can enter the mosque. This is supposed to be a place of worship open to everybody. They’ve prevented Palestinians without Jerusalem IDs – which means all West Bankers and Gazans – from entering Jerusalem as a whole. Where is freedom of worship? And they’ve also transformed the Haram Sharif. So let’s talk about illegal annexation, let’s talk about changing the character, the culture, the history, the narrative of the place. And then let’s talk about provocation. This is what is happening.”

Changing the subject, Doucet makes no effort to challenge that chapter in Ashrawi’s volume of lies and distortions. She fails to clarify to audiences that any age restrictions on men (not women, as stated by Ashrawi) visiting the site are directly linked to security issues and that Palestinians from PA controlled areas and Gaza can get permits to visit Jerusalem but that the PA has reportedly failed to cooperate with such initiatives in the past. She also fails to make it clear to audiences that only on very rare occasions has the mosque been closed due to extreme incidents of Palestinian violence and that Ashrawi’s false claims are refuted by the fact that there were 3.5 million visits by Muslims to the site last year, compared to 200,000 by Christians and just 12,500 by Jews. Doucet also fails to challenge Ashrawi’s pernicious – and downright dangerous – falsehoods concerning the physical site itself which are part and parcel of the very long history of a libel used for the purpose of incitement.

Understanding what the status quo on Temple Mount is – and is not – is crucial to audience comprehension of this latest wave of terrorism and wider issues. Doucet’s widely promoted report not only fails to contribute to such comprehension, but materially misleads BBC audiences on the topic by allowing (not for the first time) an inadequately challenged platform for yet more Palestinian incitement.


More BBC News rebranding of Munich Olympics terrorists

The current edition of the BBC News feature ‘This week in history’ includes the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972.

As can be seen below, both in the synopsis to the clip appearing on the BBC News website and in the on-screen caption in the video itself, the BBC has once again avoided the use of the word terror, preferring to describe the perpetrators as “Palestinian extremists” and a “Palestinian extremist group”.

This week in history Munich

Related Articles:

Munich Olympics terrorists get BBC rebranding  

No BBC coverage of Abbas’ PLO resignation

Even for an organization which serially avoids serious coverage of internal Palestinian affairs, the BBC’s failure to report on a recent story coming out of Ramallah is remarkable – especially as it is obviously aware of events.

Abbas resig PLO Rushdi tweet

As readers are no doubt aware, eighty year-old Mahmoud Abbas presides over three bodies: he is president of the Fatah party, president of the Palestinian Authority (although his elected mandate expired long ago) and chair of the executive committee of the PLO. According to reports disputed by some, Abbas resigned from that latter post on August 22nd, together with several other committee members. What prompted that apparent move is explained in an article by Khaled Abu Toameh:

“Palestinian political analyst Hani al-Masri said that, if true, the resignations are merely an attempt to “reengineer” the PLO and its institutions after more than 20 years of “negligence.”

The entire move, he said, was simply made to replace some members of the Executive Committee.

“These are not real resignations,” Masri explained.

“Those who reportedly submitted their resignations have no intention to leave. They just want to use the resignations to call for an extraordinary meeting of the Palestinian National Council in accordance with Article 14 of the Palestinian Basic Law.””

The Palestinian National Council – the PLO’s legislative body and highest authority – has not held a regular session since 1996. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are of course not members of the PLO but the former had been slated to join that body according to the ill-fated Hamas-Fatah ‘unity agreement’ of 2014. Khaled Abu Toameh again:

“Hamas responded to the reports [of the resignations]by describing what happened in Ramallah as a “play,” calling the move “invalid,” because it did not take into consideration efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Musa Abu Marzook, a senior Hamas official, said the purported resignations were designed to pave the way for allowing Abbas to have exclusive control over the decision- making process.”

Ghaith al-Omari has more about the broader significance of this story the BBC apparently did not find any interest in covering.


BBC’s ‘Hardtalk’ provides propaganda platform for Erekat yet again

The last thing that can be said about the PLO’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat is that he suffers from a lack of BBC airtime but nevertheless, the end of May saw him back at one of his regular spots – ‘Hardtalk‘.Erekat Hardtalk May 2015

Not only did Erekat have nothing new to tell host Zeinab Badawi, he even recycled statements made during previous appearances on the same programme. At 10:32 in the video below, Erekat says:

“See, in my opinion Christian and Muslim Palestinians will not convert to Judaism and become Israelis. Jews will not convert to Islam and Christianity and become Palestinians.”

If that sounds familiar, that may be because only last year Erekat made a very similar statement during a previous ‘Hardtalk’ interview.

“Are Christian and Muslim Palestinians going to convert to become Israelis? Or are Jews going to convert to Christianity and Islam and become Palestinians? This is not happen.” 

And if it rang a bell even in 2014, that could be because back in 2011 Erekat told Zeinab Badawi in yet another ‘Hardtalk’ interview:

“I don’t think Christian and Muslim Palestinians would convert to Judaism and become Israelis. I don’t think that Jews would convert to Islam and Christianity and become Palestinian.”

In other words, for four years at least Saeb Erekat has been pushing the same broken record mantra and not one BBC journalist has bothered to follow it up by informing audiences that not all Israelis are Jews – as the country’s two million strong non-Jewish population (25.1%) indicates – or by asking him why Jews cannot be citizens of a Palestinian state.

Let’s take look at some of the other falsehoods propagated by Erekat – with no disturbance from Badawi – in this programme.

“I have as a Palestinian recognized the State of Israel’s right to exist on the ’67 borders.”

“We recognize them to live in peace and security in the ’67 borders – that’s 78% of historic British mandated Palestine – and accepted to establish our state in the remaining 22% of the land.”

There is of course no such thing as “’67 borders” because the 1949 Armistice Lines were specifically defined as not being borders – as even the BBC’s style guide notes. Nevertheless, Badawi makes no effort to clarify the point to viewers.

“In one week of his government he [Netanyahu] issues more than two thousand housing units of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. They’re moving their offices – his ministers – to occupied East Jerusalem and today, literally speaking, there are buses in Israel that Palestinians cannot use. They call it sterilized buses and there will be roads that they call sterilized roads.”

Those “East Jerusalem” apartments are in fact located in Ramat Shlomo and have been going through the planning process since 2010. One Israeli minister has approached the Finance Ministry with a request for new offices in Jerusalem. The same ministry has a long existing office in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem: an area which was classified as no-man’s land throughout the 19 years of the Jordanian occupation of parts of Jerusalem. There are no “sterilized buses” and the restriction on travel for PA registered vehicles on certain small sections of road arises from the very real security issues which of course do not get a mention in this programme at all.

“I’m telling the Israelis if you worry about courts, stop committing crimes. […] I cannot have every two years 12,000 Palestinians killed and wounded in Gaza. I cannot leave the continuation of the settlement activities, by-pass roads – now they call sterilized road – sterilized buses. I cannot continue living a deeper apartheid system in the West Bank and East Jerusalem than the one that existed in South Africa. So what I’m telling the Israelis wake up, wake up. What you’re doing in the West Bank in accordance with the international law – the four Geneva Conventions and the 4th Convention of 1949 – are war crimes.”

Like the vast majority of Palestinians in Judea & Samaria, Saeb Erekat lives under full Palestinian Authority control. The topic of Palestinian self-rule in areas A&B is of course not mentioned at any point in this programme either and Badawi sits idly by as Erekat promotes the false and defamatory notion of a system of ‘apartheid’ worse “than the one that existed in South Africa”.

“I know I have an agreed agenda with them, signed by the Israeli government, saying that permanent status negotiations issues are borders, Jerusalem, water, security. Is Mr Netanyahu willing to utter the sentence two states on the 1967 lines? […] Is he willing to carry out his commitment – not condition – to stop settlement activities in the land that’s supposed to be the State of Palestine?”

“What is between me and the Israelis are elements of contracts, agreements signed. There are obligations emanating from those agreements signed – on me as a Palestinian and on Israel. And Israel must stop settlement activities and must accept two states on 1967 lines and must accept to sit with me to delineate the borders on the basis of the 1967 lines. If they’re willing to honour their commitments we’ll meet tomorrow.”

The “agreements” and “contracts” signed between the Palestinians and Israel are the Oslo Accords. In contrast to the misleading impression given to viewers of this programme, nowhere in those agreements is any restriction placed on building in Israeli towns and villages in Judea & Samaria or Jerusalem and nowhere do they state that the 1949 Armistice Lines – or “67 lines” as Erekat calls them – would be the final borders between Israel and a Palestinian state. That, of course, is precisely why the subject of borders is one of the issues to be discussed in final status negotiations.

“We’re willing to engage seriously on the basis of the agreed terms of reference specified in the Quartet’s statements saying that negotiations should be on the basis of two states on 1967.”

The Quartet’s February 2015 statement makes no mention of “1967” and neither does its 2003 roadmap stipulate that Erekat’s much-touted “1967 lines” are a basis for negotiations.

“The fact that Palestine became and has gained the legal status for observer state meant that it’s a state under occupation. The West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem is identified as now as a Higher [sic] Contracting Party to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. […] Palestine has a status of a state under occupation like what countries like Norway, Belgium, Holland, France, Korea, the Philippines were in the Second World War under German and Japanese occupation [Badawi: sure, sure…] so the Israelis cannot say it’s disputed territories…”

Legal experts contacted by BBC Watch in connection with Erekat’s claim that the 2012 granting of the status of UN non-member observer state automatically confers High Contracting Party status advised us that “neither joining the Geneva Conventions nor receiving observer status in the General Assembly are procedures for assigning territorial sovereignty, and neither action could give “Palestine” sovereignty over the territory of “West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.”

“Zeinab, settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem are illegal settlements. Actually, in accordance with the 4th Geneva Convention these settlements are war crimes.”

That inaccuracy is reinforced by Badawi at 07:45:

“And of course, as you say, international law says that the settlements are illegal.

Once again the BBC breaches its own editorial guidelines on impartiality by failing to inform audiences of the existence of legal opinions which disagree with the politically partial line it chooses to promote.

Were viewers of this programme provided with factual information which would aid them in building an “understanding of international issues“? Regrettably, no. Were they provided with unchallenged misinformation in breach of BBC editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality? Unfortunately, yes. That, however, is par for the course in any BBC content featuring Saeb Erekat.

Related Articles:

 BBC’s Hardtalk provides platform for Saeb Erekat’s fabricated histories – part one

BBC’s Hardtalk provides platform for Saeb Erekat’s fabricated histories – part two


How to Complain to the BBC

PA honours for murderers ignored by the BBC

As regular readers will be aware, the topic of the Palestinian Authority’s glorification of terrorism is one which remains – along with incitement and the funding of convicted terrorists – consistently unreported by the BBC.No news

It therefore came as no surprise to see that the BBC’s regional correspondents avoided the following story altogether.

On May 9th the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that:

“Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs [and PA Parliament Member] Issa Karake…  [visited the] families of prisoners sentenced to life, together with a delegation of the commission.[…] Karake awarded plaques of honor to the prisoners’ families.”

The three prisoners whose families were officially honoured are serving sentences for their part in the October 2000 lynching of two Israeli reservists – Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami – in Ramallah.

As has been noted here in the past, a number of inaccurate BBC reports on that incident are still available on the BBC News website.

Whilst the BBC on the one hand devotes considerable amounts of airtime and column space to the topic of the ‘peace process’, on the other hand it systematically avoids informing its audiences about such examples of the Palestinian Authority’s glorification of terrorism, despite their being a crucial part of the story it claims to tell.


BBC News website corrects an error, leaves another standing

Back in early March we noted here that a BBC report on a terror attack in Jerusalem misled readers with regard to the PLO’s previously adopted recommendation to halt security coordination with Israel.

“The article implies to readers that there is some kind of linkage between this latest terror attack and the unrelated topic of the PLO’s recent call for a halt to security co-operation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“The incident came shortly after Palestinian officials voted to halt security co-operation with Israel. […]

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) decided to suspend co-operation, part of 1993 peace accords with Israel, at a meeting on Thursday night.”

The BBC fails, however, to clarify to readers that the PLO’s decision does not have any practical effect at this stage.

“A source close to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Israel Radio that the council’s decision was a recommendation only. Another Palestinian official said that Abbas must issue a presidential order ending the security cooperation with Israel.””

Several days later, on March 13th, the BBC amended the wording of that part of the article and added the following footnote.

footnote 13 3

Unfortunately, the lack of a dedicated corrections page on the BBC News website means that it is unlikely that those who read the original version of the report would have returned to it a week after publication and seen that footnote. One must therefore once again ask the BBC what exactly is the point of amendments and corrections to reports appearing on its website if no effort is made to ensure that audiences receive the corrected version?

Notably the inaccurate and no less misleading graphic appearing in the same report which leads readers to believe that there is such a thing as a “1967 ceasefire line” running through Jerusalem was not corrected.

Pigua Jlem map


Superficial ‘analysis’ of PLO’s call to end security cooperation from BBC’s Kevin Connolly

March 5th saw the appearance of a report on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the dramatic title “PLO to end historic Israeli security agreement” which opened by informing readers that:PLO security coordination

“The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has decided to end a security co-operation agreement with Israel which dates back to the Oslo Accords of 1993.”

The report further stated:

“The PLO is the representative body for Palestinians and its decisions are binding for the Palestinian Authority. [….]

On Thursday the PLO said its executive committee would meet to implement the decision taken at the central council’s meeting in the West Bank town of Ramallah.[…]

Palestinian sources say that the decision is final […]”

However, the ‘done deal’ picture presented by the BBC would appear to be premature and misleading. The Times of Israel notes that:

“A source close to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Israel Radio that the council’s decision was a recommendation only. Another Palestinian official said that Abbas must issue a presidential order ending the security cooperation with Israel.”

And in addition to the fact that in the meantime security coordination apparently continues as normal, PA officials have reportedly stated that:

“…President Mahmoud Abbas will not cut off security cooperation with Israel in the West Bank until after Israeli national elections on March 17 and only if another Netanyahu-led government refuses to transfer tax funds to the PA…”

Of course this is far from the first time that such a move has been threatened by various Palestinian officials: the same thing happened last month, last year and on numerous other occasions in the past. And that is all the more reason why the BBC should be able to provide its audiences with informative and relevant analysis on the topic of what such a move would mean for the Palestinian Authority and for the ordinary people living under its control.

Instead, readers of this article got the following analysis from the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly:

PLO security art analysis

Whilst parroting the Hamas line and claiming that an end to security cooperation would “be a blow to Israeli security”, Connolly notably avoids all discussion of the potential effects of such a decision on day-to-day issues such as the number of security checkpoints (which have been dramatically reduced in recent years) and on the wider subject of the chances of the Palestinian Authority’s survival without Israeli security cooperation. As Khaled Abu Toameh wrote in January of this year:

“Abbas is lucky that the Israeli security forces are still operating in the West Bank, including inside cities and towns controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Were it not for the IDF and various branches of the Israeli security establishment, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Islamic State would have toppled the Palestinian Authority and beheaded Abbas and his officials a long time ago.”

And as the same writer noted last September:

“Abbas will be able to rein in Hamas in the West Bank only if he pursues security coordination with Israel. […]

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority would not be able to survive for one day in the West Bank without the presence of the IDF, especially given Hamas’s rising popularity among Palestinians in the aftermath of the war.”

Whether or not the Palestinian president (who of course also heads the PLO and its largest faction Fatah – although the BBC neglects to mention that in its report) will eventually issue that presidential order to end security cooperation with Israel remains to be seen but if he does not, BBC audiences will remain unaware of the factors lying behind that decision and if he does, they will be ill-informed with regard to that choice’s effects on future regional developments.  

BBC News recycles three year old factual failures in Abu Nidal report

On March 4th the BBC News website published a report on its Europe page titled “Rue des Rosiers: France seeks three men for 1982 attack“.Abu Nidal art 2015

The report relates to the issue of arrest warrants for three men suspected of having been among those responsible for the terror attack on the Jo Goldenberg restaurant in Paris in which six people were killed and 22 wounded. The wording used by the BBC to describe both the Abu Nidal Organisation, on behalf of which the suspects allegedly carried out the terror attack, and the attack itself conforms to the corporation’s usual template of avoidance of the use of the word terror. [emphasis added]

“A judge in France has issued arrest warrants for three people suspected of being behind a deadly attack on a Jewish restaurant in Paris in 1982.

The men, believed to be former members of a radical Palestinian group, have been identified 33 years after the Rue des Rosiers assault.” […]

“Two of the wanted suspects are believed to have been the gunmen who stormed the Jo-Goldenberg restaurant and delicatessen on 9 August 1982 …” […]

“The third suspect, a 64-year-old living in Jordan, is suspected of having a commanding role in the attack, Paris Match said. Other reports gave different ages for the men.

The three men are said to have belonged to a group led by Palestinian militant Abu Nidal, which was active in the 1970-80s.” […]

Right at the end of the report, readers are informed that:

“Abu Nidal – whose real name was Sabri Banna – died in Iraq in 2002, reportedly committing suicide.

For decades he was regarded as a terrorist and a wanted man – inside the mainstream Palestinian community as much as in the world at large.” [emphasis added]

The Abu Nidal Organisation was not merely “regarded” but in fact officially designated a terrorist organization by the EU, the US and Israel. The approach adopted by “the mainstream Palestinian community”, as it is termed by the BBC, was not however the result of a similar view of the terror attacks carried out by the organization as readers may understand from the phrasing of that sentence, but in fact stemmed from internal disputes.

“After the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Paris, Abu Nidal effectively split with Mr. Arafat, and began trying to take over Al Fatah by forming his own group called Fatah Revolutionary Council. This split was formalized in June 1974 after Mr. Arafat pushed a resolution through the Palestine National Council, the P.L.O.’s parliament, authorizing the P.L.O. to establish a state ”on any Palestinian territory that is liberated.”

In October 1974, Abu Nidal dispatched a ”hit team” to Damascus to assassinate Mr. Arafat and the P.L.O. treasurer, Abu Mazen. The team was captured by Syrian and P.L.O. guards. The P.L.O held a trial and sentenced Abu Nidal to death in absentia for attempting to kill the P.L.O. chairman.”

The BBC report also informs readers that:

“The Abu Nidal group is blamed for a series of attacks across the world, which left at least 900 people dead.”

Readers are not informed of the origin of that cited number of casualties, but most sources (for example the CFR, TRAC and Israeli terrorism expert Ariel Merari) put the number of people murdered by the Abu Nidal organization at around 300 and some – including most media organisations – cite the number 900 as an estimate of the total number of people killed or injured by that terrorist organization.Abu Nidal art 2012

Interestingly, that same unsourced number – together with some of the same phrasing used in this latest report – can also be found in a previous BBC report from March 2012 which appears as a link in the sidebar.

“The Abu Nidal group is blamed for a series of attacks across the world, which left at least 900 people dead.

Abu Nidal – whose real name was Sabri Banna – died in Iraq in 2002, reportedly committing suicide.

For decades he was regarded as a terrorist and a wanted man – inside the mainstream Palestinian community as much as in the world at large.”

Clearly fact checking did not take place before that three year old information was recycled.

BBC News website invents ‘1967 ceasefire lines’ in Jerusalem

On the morning of March 6th a terror attack took place in Jerusalem.

“Five people were injured Friday morning in a car-ramming terror attack near a Jerusalem Light Rail station in the north of the city. Four of the wounded were young border policewomen, in their twenties, and the fifth was a civilian bicycle rider in his fifties

A Palestinian man in a private vehicle hit the five as they stood on a sidewalk. He was identified as Mohammad Salima, 21, from east Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud. After the car attack, he then emerged from the vehicle with a butcher’s knife and attempted to stab passersby, but was swiftly shot and incapacitated by a Border Policeman and a Light Rail security guard at the scene.”

BBC News website reporting on the incident began soon after it took place.

Pigua Jlem 6 3

pigua Jlem on HP

BBC News website Middle East page, 6/3/15

The article underwent numerous changes as the day progressed and it currently appears on the website’s Middle East page under the title “Jerusalem: Israeli police hit in Palestinian car attack” where it is presented together with a short filmed report (also shown on BBC television news) headlined “Jerusalem attack: Driver rams car into pedestrians“.

The current version of the written report opens by informing readers that:

“A Palestinian has rammed his car into a group of Israeli pedestrians in Jerusalem, injuring six policewomen, police say.”

Predictably, the BBC refrains from clarifying the nature of the incident to readers in its own words, instead using the following phrasing:

“Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld described it as a “terrorist attack”, adding that the injured officers are in a “light, moderate condition” in hospital.”

A photograph used to illustrate the report is captioned:

“Police have called the incident a “terror attack”.”

Pigua Jlem photo

Likewise, whilst the report notes that a previous attack took place at the same location last November, it fails to adequately clarify that it and another attack close by on October 22nd 2014 were carried out by perpetrators with links to terrorist organisations.Pigua Jlem filmed 

“It happened on the seam of East and West Jerusalem, on the same junction as a previous attack last year. […]

Last year, Palestinian militants killed three Israelis and an Ecuadorian woman in attacks using vehicles in Jerusalem as tensions soared between Israel and the Palestinians.”

An additional victim of the November 5th attack whom the BBC fails to mention – Jerusalem resident Abd al-Karim Nafith Hamid – died on December 7th.

The article implies to readers that there is some kind of linkage between this latest terror attack and the unrelated topic of the PLO’s recent call for a halt to security co-operation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“The incident came shortly after Palestinian officials voted to halt security co-operation with Israel. […]

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) decided to suspend co-operation, part of 1993 peace accords with Israel, at a meeting on Thursday night.”Pigua Jlem written

The BBC fails, however, to clarify to readers that the PLO’s decision does not have any practical effect at this stage.

“A source close to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Israel Radio that the council’s decision was a recommendation only. Another Palestinian official said that Abbas must issue a presidential order ending the security cooperation with Israel.”

With regard to the location of the attack, in addition to describing it as having taken place “on the seam of East and West Jerusalem”, the article adds:

“Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognised internationally.

It regards the whole of Jerusalem as its “eternal and indivisible” capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.”

Included in the article is a BBC-produced map of the location of the attack in which the 1949 Armistice Lines are inaccurately – and absurdly, given the above text – represented as the “1967 ceasefire line”.

Pigua Jlem map

One might have thought that the BBC’s incessant promotion of “East Jerusalem” would at least ensure geographical and historical accuracy.