BBC India provides another example of BBC double standards on terrorism

h/t J

Last month we noted on these pages that whilst in its coverage of the June 26th attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait the BBC made ample use of the word terror, that term was absent from its coverage of the November 2014 attack on worshippers at the synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem – as is generally the case in BBC reporting on terrorism in Israel.

Despite the professed policy of “achieving consistency and accuracy in our journalism” which appears in the BBC’s Guidance concerning “Language when Reporting Terrorism“, there is in fact a lack of consistency in the corporation’s coverage of that subject, as has been recorded here on numerous occasions.

And whilst the guidance claims that “[w]e try to avoid the use of the term “terrorist” without attribution” and “we don’t change the word “terrorist” when quoting other people, but we try to avoid the word ourselves” on the grounds that “[t]he word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding”, the BBC’s coverage of the recent memorial services for the victims of the 2005 London terror attacks rightly did not “avoid the word”.

BBC 7 7 tweet

On July 27th the BBC India Twitter account promoted an article about that day’s attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab with the following oddly worded Tweet.

BBC India tweet Punjab

The dozens of angry replies to that Tweet are worthy of note.

According to the local police:

“….the attackers first targeted a roadside eatery and took off in a white Maruti 800 with Punjab registration number. They shot dead a roadside vendor near Dinanagar bypass.

They opened fire on passengers of a moving Punjab roadways bus before targeting a community health centre adjacent to Dinanagar police station.

The gunmen barged into the Dinanagar police station and opened indiscriminate fire. The terrorists also targeted another part of the complex where the families of police personnel reside and hurled grenades.” 

In other words, the attacks on civilian targets including a bus, an eatery and a health centre indicate that the method used to carry out this attack was terrorism.

Once again we see that the BBC fails to distinguish between method and aims and as has been noted here previously:

“The result of that is that when a perceived cause is considered acceptable and justifiable, the description of the means is adjusted accordingly.

Until BBC editors do indeed begin to separate the means from the ends, it will of course be impossible for the corporation to present a consistent, uniform approach to the subject of terrorism, to adhere to editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality and to fulfil its purpose to educate and inform.” 

Related Articles:

BBC News website does ‘one man’s terrorist’

The BBC, terrorism and ‘consistency’

BBC’s Panorama Jerusalem train programme takes viewers on a predictable journey

On July 20th the BBC One current affairs programme ‘Panorama‘ aired an episode titled “The Train that Divides Jerusalem“. Israeli readers may be surprised to learn from the programme’s synopsis that the light rail system serving their capital city is “controversial”.Panorama light rail prog main

“On the anniversary of last summer’s brutal conflict in Gaza, film-maker Adam Wishart visits Jerusalem and rides the city’s controversial new train. Only nine miles from start to finish, some hoped it could help heal divisions between Israelis and Palestinians, but as Wishart discovers, it has only deepened the sense of resentment on both sides. Travelling through the old city, he comes face to face with the battle over one of the world’s holiest sites and asks, could it be the flashpoint for the start of another war?”

In fact, the title chosen for this programme is a self-fulfilling prophecy: Wishart clearly sets out to ‘prove’ that Jerusalem is divided and the train is merely a hook for his pre-existing hypothesis.

As anyone who has ever spent an afternoon or an evening in Jerusalem’s various parks, at the Mamilla Mall, the Malha Mall or at the restored First Station knows, Jerusalemites of all backgrounds and ethnicities shop, eat, play, work and stroll at such locations and many use public transport to reach them. That aspect of Jerusalem life had no place in Adam Wishart’s film; he has decided that the city is “divided” and he already knows why.

“It was meant to help unite this place but the train is dividing it further.”

“Now it’s easier for Jews to travel into Palestinian suburbs…”

Very early on in the film Wishart finds it necessary to establish his credentials.

“I’m Adam Wishart – a British Jew….”

Scattered throughout the film are references to his previous visit to Jerusalem “on a Zionist education course as a teenager” and to his Zionist grandparents. Apparently his own background is intended to be a claim to added credence for his current assertions.

At the outset of the film Wishart proposes to take viewers on “a journey into the heart of a city which feels more divided than ever” and his concluding remarks half an hour later indicate that he found exactly what he was looking for – including some fashionable disappointment with the people who did not fulfil the dreams of others who do not actually live in Israel.

“My journey has been heartbreaking. When my grandparents campaigned for the State of Israel they hoped for a place of refuge, of tolerance and equal rights for all. As I take the last train I just can’t believe this could be the place that they dreamt of all these years ago.”

The highly selective journey which takes Wishart to that conclusion begins in Jerusalem’s Old City – or as he portrays it: “a world divided by religious rivalry”. Temple Mount is described as follows:

“…one of the holiest sites for Muslims – home to the Dome of the Rock, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the courtyard that joins them. They’re all under Muslim control.”

That, of course, is a partial representation of the site’s actual status. Wishart goes on:

“It’s also home to the holiest site in Judaism – a Jewish temple destroyed over two thousand years ago. All that remains is the western wall of the courtyard – the Wailing Wall where Jews come to pray.”

The phrase “Wailing Wall” is of course a foreign invention: Jews and Israelis do not use that anachronism. Wishart goes on:

“Now some want to completely rebuild the temple on what they call Temple Mount. No matter that Muslim holy places are here already.”

The site has of course been known as Temple Mount for centuries – long before it was called anything else. Wishart then says:

“Once Jews only ever came as far as the Western Wall. Now one thousand Jews a month enter the courtyard – the heart of this Muslim place of worship.”

He gives generous airtime to the group of women engaged in what he calls “protest” at visits by non-Muslims on Temple Mount but avoids telling viewers who those women really are and how they are paid to harass visitors. Whilst Wishart’s Jewish interviewees actually represent a tiny fringe school of thought, no mainstream Israeli opinions on the topic of Temple Mount are heard and the issue of equal prayer rights for members of all religions on a site holy to Jews and Christians as well as Muslims obviously does not interest our ‘progressive’ film-maker.

Clearly adopting – and promoting – one very specific narrative, Wishart tells audiences:

“Today’s skirmish is part of growing hostility fueled by the competing claims of Jews and Muslims to this holy place. It has already escalated into serious violence. Last November a group of Temple Mount visitors were attacked by Palestinians. In response police entered the Al Aqsa Mosque. It may only have been by a few meters but for many Muslims it crossed a sacred line.”

The accompanying footage shows masked rioters using the mosque as a launch site for rocks and firecrackers. Wishart refrains from pondering whether that crosses any ‘sacred lines’.

Wishart’s half-hearted attempt to provide historic background is completely lacking in context.

“Back then [1948] Israel only held the western part of Jerusalem – after the so-called green line. Then in 1967 Israel occupied the eastern areas.”

Viewers are not told why Israel only held part of the previously united city in 1948 or what led to the war that resulted in its reunification in 1967 and no mention is made of 19 years of Jordanian occupation.

Wishart’s journey moves on to Shuafat.

“The Palestinians who live here remain angry at being under Israeli control. The train just adds to their grievances.”

 Interviewees’ hyperbole passes without challenge:

“This is a racist train to keep Jerusalem for the Jews only.”

“Every day the train passes they are butchering me. Every day they are killing me. This is what the train means to us.”

Concerning the latter interviewee viewers are told:

“…what used to be his land until it was taken to build this train station…”

It is called compulsory purchase, of course, and it happens all over the world. Wishart refrains from using that terminology however, telling audiences:

“He refused compensation because the taking of land fits into a broader picture. Since 1967 Israel has seized about six thousand acres of land in East Jerusalem. Walid has lost about ten acres.”

No source is provided for that information.

Whilst Wishart has plenty to say about Shuafat and clearly steers viewers towards a specific narrative, his account does not include any mention of Hamas’ activities in that neighbourhood.

“I can’t help feeling that the state of this place and the lawlessness – all enclosed by the barrier – make this part of Jerusalem a tinder box waiting to ignite.”

Interviewee: “It’s difficult to be a child born into an environment of occupation and racism. […] Nobody’s born a violent person but the segregation and disparities lead to war and violence.”

At around 17:02 Wishart says:

“Just as we’re leaving the camp [Shuafat] there’s an attack on the guards at the checkpoint.”

He later adds:

“It turns out that most of the noise comes from fireworks – the ammunition of the powerless.”

During that segment (at 17:38) viewers see a boy apparently describing the scene and his words are translated on screen as follows:Panorama light rail prog soldiers

“These are the kids that throw stones at the soldiers”

BBC Watch asked a professional translator to verify that translation and this was his response:

“…it is impossible to make out what the boy says. I listened to it over and over again, together with an expert on Palestinian dialects. There are two words that the boy says before “al-yahud”, it is impossible to make out what these words are. But “al-yahud” is clearly heard, and of course that does not translate as “soldiers””.

Once again, apparently, we have a case of ‘creative’ BBC translation which censors the Arabic word for Jews, thus depriving audiences of important insight into the context and background to a story.

An additional case of ‘lost in translation’ appears in a section of the film showing Jerusalem Day celebrations which Wishart describes as “a celebration of Israel’s 1967 capture of East Jerusalem and the Old City” with no explanation of the subject of the reunification of the city after 19 years of Jordanian occupation during which Jews were prevented from visiting their holy sites. At 22:42 viewers see the chants of Palestinian protesters translated as:Panorama light rail prog defend Palestine

“With our souls, our blood, we defend Palestine”

The accurate translation does not include the word ‘defend':

“With our souls and our blood, we will redeem you, oh Palestine”

From 22:55 an interviewee’s words pertaining to the Israelis celebrating Jerusalem Day are translated on screen as follows:

“This scene causes great anger for all the people of Palestine. They break into the Old City of Jerusalem and provoke people with their shameful dancing. This is unacceptable.”

Our translator pointed out that the term ‘Old City’ and the word ‘provoke’ do not appear:

“This scene leads to tremendous anger from all segments of the Palestinian people. They forcefully attack the city of Jerusalem with racist incitement and this scandalous dance. This is an unacceptable act.”

Towards the end of the film, at 24:32, and despite having previously told viewers that the government of Israel has made it perfectly clear that no changes will be made to the status quo on Temple Mount, Wishart returns to his dubious hypothesis:

“When I was here 31 years ago even my most fervently Zionist friends weren’t rushing to build a temple on this site. Now the idea is gathering support from within the mainstream. Even a member of the new cabinet supports the idea. I can’t help but think that if some Jews push much further this would surely be the last stand for the Palestinians.”

And at 25:01 he manages to introduce conspiracy into what is no more than an urban public transport system:

“I’m left wondering what is the purpose of the train. Does its ultimate destination hold a clue? It travels north, through the Palestinian neighbourhoods, and snakes round the refugee camp. What’s so controversial is that the ultimate destination is an Israeli settlement. A thousand acres taken by Israel to build a beautiful suburb. Like all settlements in occupied territory, most of the international community consider them to be illegal.”

That ‘settlement’ is the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Pisgat Ze’ev and a quick search even of Pisgat Ze’ev’s Wikipedia entry would have shown Wishart that much of the suburb is in fact built on land purchased by Jews before the Second World War. In line with the usual BBC practice, Wishart makes no effort to inform viewers of the existence of differing legal opinions concerning the legality of ‘settlements’ and he also makes no effort to clarify that under any realistic scenario, Pisgat Ze’ev would be likely to remain under Israeli control in the event of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. He even promotes his hypothesis further with the following ridiculous claims:

“The train makes permanent the expansion of Israel. This settlement is built like a fortress.”

In late 2013 the BBC’s Director of Television claimed that it measures the success of its programmes by asking itself whether they are “fresh and new”. Perhaps the saddest thing about this edition of Panorama is that it is so predictable. From the standard, jaded, presentations of ‘settlements’, ‘the wall’ and ‘international law’, through the impartiality box-ticking inclusion of brief segments pertaining to terror attacks against Israelis – with no mention of the word terror – and to the failure to seriously address the political, religious and ideological roots of Palestinian terrorism whilst misrepresenting fringe opinions as “mainstream” Israeli thought, this politicized film treads a well-trodden route which is anything but “fresh and new”.

Fresh would have been to tell BBC audiences about the increasing numbers of Muslim Jerusalemites living in mixed neighbourhoods (including Pisgat Ze’ev) or to inform viewers of the extremist incitement which goes on inside Al Aqsa Mosque. New would have been to get the history of Jerusalem right and to go back before the standard BBC starting point of 1967 by including coverage of the topics of Jewish-owned lands before 1948 and the expulsion of Jews from the Old City and other neighbourhoods by Jordan.

Adam Wishart however chose to stick with the tried and trusted formula which guaranteed the airing of his film by the BBC and his bizarre shoe-horning of a light rail system into the story does nothing to disguise that fact.

Resources:

Panorama – contact details

How to Complain to the BBC

 

BBC’s Kevin Connolly erases Iranian patronage of terror, distorts history

On July 19th an article by the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly appeared in the ‘Features’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the title “Winds of change blow through Middle East“.Connolly Iran

Connolly’s basic premise is that the JCPOA signed by the P5+1 and Iran last week heralds a new era.

“This was a week of change though.

Once the US and Iran glared at each other across a chasm of values: where the Iranians saw themselves as champions of Shia communities and exporters of revolution the Americans saw only sponsorship of terrorism.

That may now begin to change although we don’t know how far or how fast that change will go.

Through the gloom of the current desert storms it is hard to know for sure what sort of Middle East will eventually emerge – but it is already clear that one of the strongest winds blowing in the region blows from Iran.”

On the way to that conclusion Connolly takes readers for a stroll through the last century of Middle East history, managing to make some significant omissions along the way. Going back to the end of the First World War, he states:

“With the Turks defeated in Jerusalem and Damascus and Sinai and Gaza there was a new world to be made.

Britain, mandated by the League of Nations to govern the Holy Land, could set about honouring its commitment to the Jews of the world to build a national home for them in Palestine – probably not guessing that the issues surrounding the promise would remain a potent source of violence and discord a century later.”

Yes, the British government had produced the Balfour Declaration in 1917 but Connolly misleads readers by failing to clarify that the establishment of the Jewish national home was not merely based on a pre-existing British commitment but in fact had its foundations in the legally binding unanimous decision of the fifty-one member countries of the League of Nations in 1922, which Great Britain was charged with administering and which the United Nations reaffirmed in 1946.

In relation to the Sykes-Picot agreement Connolly makes the following vague statement and links to an article from December 2013:

“Some historians have pointed out that the agreement conflicted with pledges already given by the British to the Hashemite leader Husayn ibn Ali, Sharif of Mecca, who was about to lead an Arab revolt in the Hejaz against the Ottoman rulers on the understanding that the Arabs would eventually receive a much more important share of the territory won.”

Connolly omits any mention of the fact that the Hussein-McMahon correspondence did not include Palestine, as Sir Henry McMahon himself pointed out in a letter to the Times in 1937.

McMahon letter Times

Later on in his article Connolly presents the following hypothesis:

“But we got a feel for some of the forces that will shape the new order in Vienna this week when the world’s great powers – the UN Security Council plus Germany – struck a deal with Iran.

The talks were convened of course to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions – and so they did.

But they were a kind of acknowledgement too of Iran’s status as a regional power – a sense that in effect nothing can be settled in the modern Middle East without the Iranians.”

Avoiding discussion of the obviously vital question of whether or not Iranian policy is really designed to ‘settle’ Middle East disputes and conflicts, he goes on to present the following attenuated portrayal of Iran’s fingers in the regional pie:

“Iran after all is the main force propping up the faltering Syria regime of Bashar al-Assad, and it is using Hezbollah, the militia it founded and funded in neighbouring Lebanon to bear the brunt of the fighting.

Iranian-backed Shia militias have been fighting in Iraq against Sunni extremists – often filling vacuums left by the country’s armed forces.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen too are part of this Iranian regional movement.”

Hizballah, of course, is not merely an Iranian proxy “militia” as Connolly leads readers to believe: it is an organization with a long history of terrorist and criminal activity both in the Middle East and much further afield. But Connolly’s whitewashing of Iranian patronage of terrorist organisations does not end there: he fails to make any mention of the theocratic regime’s material and ideological support for other terror groups such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Moreover, the extremist religious ideologies which are the foundations of the Iranian regime itself and the reason behind its patronage of Shia and Sunni terrorist organisations are portrayed by Connolly in markedly muted terms.

“Iran is the great power in the world of Shia Islam, just as Saudi Arabia would see itself as the leader of those who follow the Sunni tradition.

There are plenty of small wars in which their proxy armies fight each other in what sometimes feels like a looming regional confessional conflict.”

In other words, a BBC Middle East correspondent who has been located in the region for over four and a half years would have audiences believe that hostilities rooted in religious doctrines may be (perhaps; he’s not quite decided) just around the corner.

As long as Connolly and his colleagues continue to downplay Iranian sponsorship of terrorist groups motivated by religious ideology BBC audiences will obviously be unable to fully comprehend the reservations voiced by many in the Middle East concerning the “winds of change” bolstered by the terms of the JCPOA agreement or to fully understand the “international issues” likely to develop as a result.

Related Articles:

BBC’s summary of Khamenei speech censors pledge to support terror

No wonder BBC WS presenter Razia Iqbal got Iranian threat to Israel wrong

No BBC reporting on Hamas entryism at UN

On July 20th the United Nations gave its final approval to the application for accreditation submitted by the London-based Palestinian Return Centre.

“US Deputy UN Ambassador Michele Sisson said the center only applied for consultative status a year ago and the United States has “serious concerns” about its background and activities that haven’t been answered.”

As has been noted here before, those “serious concerns” are very well founded.

However, the BBC’s UN correspondent has to date shown no interest in telling audiences about the UK-based organization with close Hamas ties that has just been granted the UN accreditation which gives it “access to U.N. premises and opportunities to attend or observe many events and conferences at United Nations sites around the world”.  

The prospect of supporters of an internationally recognised terrorist organization gaining access to the United Nations in order to expand its influence and promote its ideology of elimination of a UN member state (as portrayed in the NGO’s logo) is apparently not news. 

PRC logo  

Related Articles:

Hamas entryism at the UN

The UN, the PRC and Hamas: a postscript with a twist

BBC’s summary of Khamenei speech censors pledge to support terror

An article which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on July 18th with the headline “Iran nuclear: Ayatollah Khamenei chastises ‘arrogant’ US” purported to summarise in its 319 words a speech made by Khamenei on the same day.Khamenei speech art 18 7

An English translation of that speech is available via Potkin Azarmehr’s blog and it runs to 1,769 words. Mr Azarmehr notes:

“Unlike Western Media’s translation of the speech, Supreme Leader never once refers to a “deal” but consistently calls it a document and that is the most important thing about the Supreme Leader’s speech.”

However, in the BBC’s account of the speech readers are told four times that Khamenei used the words ‘deal’ or ‘agreement’.

The BBC report states: [all emphasis added]

“Iran’s stance towards the “arrogant” US will not change despite the nuclear deal reached earlier this week, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said.”

And readers are told that Khamenei said:

“Even after this deal our policy towards the arrogant US will not change.” […]

“We have repeatedly said we don’t negotiate with the US on regional or international affairs; not even on bilateral issues.”

The relevant section of the translated speech reads as follows:

“The next point is that our policy towards the arrogant government of America will not change in any way despite these negotiations and the document that has been prepared. As we have said many times, we have no negotiations with America on different global and regional issues. We have no bilateral negotiations with America.”

Khamenei went on to say:

“Sometimes, we have negotiated with them in exceptional cases such as the nuclear issue and we have done so because of our interests. The nuclear issue was not the only case. There were other cases as well which I have referred to in my previous public speeches. The American policies in the region are 180 degrees the opposite of the policies of the Islamic Republic. The Americans accuse Hezbollah and the Lebanese Resistance – who are the most self-sacrificing forces in their country in the area of national defense – of terrorism. There is no injustice worse than this. This is while they support the terrorist child-killing government of Zionism. How can one do business, negotiate and reach an agreement with such a policy? There are other cases as well and I will expand on them in other speeches.”

The BBC’s representation of that was as follows:

“In a speech marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, he said Iran still had sharp differences with the US, above all over the Middle East.”

And audiences were told that Khamenei said:

“There are some exceptions like the nuclear programme that we negotiated with Americans to serve our interests… US policies in the region are diametrically opposed with Iran’s policies.”

The BBC tells readers:

“Iran would continue to back Syria, Iraq, the Palestinians and “oppressed people” in Yemen and Bahrain, he said.”

And:

“”Whether the [nuclear] deal is approved or disapproved, we will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.”

The relevant section of the translated speech in fact reads:

“The next point is that whether this document is ratified or not, we will not abandon our regional friends: the oppressed people of Palestine, the oppressed people of Yemen, the people and government of Syria, the people and government of Iraq, the oppressed people of Bahrain and the sincere mujahids of the Resistance in Lebanon and Palestine. These people will always enjoy our support.”

In other words, the BBC has censored Khamenei’s pledge of support for the Syrian regime and for terrorist organisations including Hizballah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

BBC audiences are told that:

“The supreme leader also denied that Iran was intending to create a nuclear bomb.

“The Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he said in his speech at the Mosala mosque in Tehran.

“They know it’s not true. We had a fatwa [religious ruling] declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.”

The relevant section of the translated speech reads as follows:

“Another point is about the Americans’ blustering in recent days. In the recent days that the negotiations have been concluded, the American excellencies – their male and female officials – are busy blustering. Each of them is blustering in a different way. Of course, this is alright with us. Their domestic problems force them into blustering. They claim that they have dragged Iran towards the negotiating table, that they have made Iran surrender, that they have obtained such and such concessions from our country and other such claims. However, the truth is something else. They say that they have prevented Iran from building nuclear weapons, but this has nothing to do with our negotiations with America and other countries. They themselves know this and sometimes they have spoken about the importance of the fatwa that bans nuclear weapons.

According to the commands of the Holy Quran and Islamic sharia, we consider building, keeping and using nuclear weapons as haraam and therefore, we will not do so. This has nothing to do with them and with these negotiations. They themselves know that this is the truth. They know that what prevents the Islamic Republic from building nuclear weapons is not their threats and intimidating behavior. There is a religious barrier behind this and they know the significance of this fatwa, but they still claim that it was they who prevented Iran. They are not honest with their own people and they do not tell them the truth. On various other matters, they say that they have adopted such and such a measure about Iran’s nuclear industry and that they have forced Iran to surrender, but they can only see Iran’s surrender in their dreams.”

As has been the case in the past, the controversy surrounding the topic of that apparently unwritten fatwa is not clarified to BBC audiences and as has been noted here before, readers may find this essay by a former BBC Persian analyst helpful in understanding the significance – or lack of it – of such a fatwa.

BBC audiences are told that:

“The supreme leader said it was now necessary for Iranian politicians to scrutinise the nuclear agreement and make sure that Iran’s national interests were being preserved.”

The relevant section of the translated speech reads:

“Of course in order to ratify this document, there is a clear legal procedure that, by Allah’s favor, has to be taken. We expect that these officials take the interests – interests of the country, interests of the people – into consideration by paying careful attention, so that when they deliver the matter to the people, they can do so with their heads held high in front of Allah the Exalted as well.”

As we see, the version of Khamenei’s speech presented to Western audiences by the BBC  replaces the word ‘document’ with ‘deal’ or ‘agreement’. It also censors the Iranian regime’s expression of continued support for terrorism and, of course, its anti-Israel content.

BBC audiences trying to understand the significance and implications of the JCPOA signed between the P5+1 and Iran would obviously have found that information beneficial to their understanding of the reservations raised by many parties in relation to the likely effects of sanctions relief on Iran’s patronage of terrorist groups in the Middle East and beyond. The BBC, however, chose to censor that information.

Related Articles:

More spin than a centrifuge: BBC report on Khamenei nuclear deal speech

BBC presents airbrushed picture of Rouhani NBC interview

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

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during June 2015 (Hebrew) shows that throughout the month a total of 123 incidents took place: 69 in Judea & Samaria, 51 in Jerusalem and three incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip. Two Israeli civilians were killed and eight people wounded in those attacks. The agency recorded 98 attacks with petrol bombs, two stabbings, four shooting attacks and 16 attacks using explosive devices.

The three separate incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip occurred on June 3rd, June 6th and June 23rd and in some cases multiple projectiles were fired in what the agency records as one incident. None of those attacks were reported by BBC News in English at the time but the Israeli responses to them were reported on the BBC Arabic website. A BBC News website article which appeared on June 10th made a vague reference to some of the incidents prior to that date.

BBC News ignores missile attack from Gaza but BBC Arabic reports response

The pattern continues: no coverage of Gaza missile attacks in English but BBC Arabic reports Israeli response

Yet again: Gaza missile attack ignored by BBC News but Israeli response reported in Arabic

Neither of the two fatal shooting attacks which took place on June 19th and June 29th were reported by the BBC in English but they were mentioned in articles appearing on the BBC Arabic website.

BBC ignores another terror attack on Israelis – in English

BBC coverage of Ramadan terror ignores attacks in one country – in English

Non-fatal incidents which took place during June were also ignored.

More Palestinian terror ignored by BBC News

In short, with the exception of one brief and very vague later reference to missile attacks during the first week of the month, there was no BBC reporting on terror attacks against Israelis throughout June 2015.

Throughout the first quarter of 2015 the BBC reported on less than 1% of the terror attacks which actually took place. During 2015’s second quarter 0.76% of terror attacks were reported by BBC News but none of the three fatal attacks which took place received any coverage whatsoever in English.

In summary: throughout the first six months of 2015 English-speaking BBC audiences were informed of just 0.85% of the terror attacks against Israelis and received no coverage of any of the attacks which resulted in fatalities.

Q2 terror

The BBC Trust’s definition of the corporation’s public purpose remit titled ‘Global Outlook’ states:

“BBC viewers, listeners and users can rely on the BBC to provide internationally respected news services to audiences around the world and they can expect the BBC to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world, giving insight into the way people live in other countries.”

Clearly that pledge is not being met with regard to terrorism against Israelis and the knock-on effect of that omission is that audiences are unable to comprehend the context to the Israeli counter-terrorism measures such as border restrictions, the anti-terrorist fence or checkpoints which do feature extensively and regularly in BBC content.

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel in May 2015

BBC coverage of terrorism in Israel in April 2015

What percentage of Q1 2015 terror attacks against Israelis was reported by the BBC?

BBC claims attacks on Israelis in Judea & Samaria are “rare”

BBC fails to report the conclusion to a story it covered four years ago

Back in 2011 the BBC devoted substantial coverage to what it described in an edition of the World Service radio programme ‘Assignment’ as “The Mystery of Dirar Abu Sisi“.Assignment Abu Sisi 2011

Additional content on the same topic included:

Palestinian ‘abducted’ in Ukraine due in Israel court” – Yolande Knell, BBC News website, 29/3/2011

“His friends and relatives reject Israeli reports that the engineer is affiliated to militant groups in the Gaza Strip and are calling on the Ukraine authorities to intervene.”

‘Abducted’ Palestinian engineer appears in Israel court” – BBC News website, 31/3/2011

“Mr Abu Sisi accuses Israel of “kidnapping him for no reason”.”

“On Thursday, the Palestinian ambassador in Kiev, Mohammed al-Assad, called Israel’s arrest “an international crime that must be punished”.”

‘Abducted’ Palestinian Dirar Abu Sisi on Hamas charges” – BBC News website, 4/4/2011

“Mr Abu Sisi’s lawyer says the charges against him are untrue and they will seek to have the case dismissed.

Mr Abu Sisi, the manager at Gaza’s main power plant, has accused Israel of kidnapping him “for no reason”. He and his family have denied any links with Hamas.”

Israel, Ukraine and the mysterious case of Dirar Abu Sisi” – Gabriel Gatehouse, BBC News website, 25/8/2011

“His lawyers, and his wife, say he has nothing to do with Hamas, and knows nothing about rocket technology.”

The Mystery of Dirar Abu Sisi” – ‘Crossing Continents’, BBC Radio 4, 29/8/2011

“So who is Dirar Abu Sisi? Did he really study rocket science at a Ukrainian military academy, as the Israeli indictment claims? Is he a senior Hamas operative? Or is he an innocent victim of mistaken identity?”

The ‘mystery’ of Abu Sisi came to an end in March 2015 when he was convicted after admitting the charges against him.

“The Be’er Sheva District Court convicted Dirar Abu Sisi, known in the Shin Bet security service as the “father of the rockets,” in a plea bargain arrangement. Abu Sisi, an engineer, is said to have been responsible for extending the range of Hamas’s Kassam rockets. […]

Abu Sisi has been under arrest in Israel for four years, As the commander of the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, he was a senior partner in the production of missiles and mortars of various types, and of developing and extending the range of rockets used to fire into Israel.

Abu Sisi was convicted on Thursday after he admitted to the charges, according to the updated indictment from which many of the original charges of attempted murder were dropped, while those of belonging to an unauthorized organization, planning to commit murder, producing weapons, activity in a terror organization and other weapons charges all remained.

According to the indictment served by attorney Moraz Gez of the Southern District prosecution, after Operation Cast Lead, “Abu Sisi was appointed by Mohammed Deif and Ahmed Jabari to set up a military academy. In this role he built a program that would serve as the basis for establishing such a military academy and that trains to this day the command level of Hamas for the purpose of hostile activity against Israel. Abu Sisi has a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from a military academy in Ukraine, and in the past even specialized in control mechanisms for Scud missiles. During his studies in Ukraine he acquired great experience in the field of developing and controlling missiles. In his interrogation he recounted his part in Hamas’ array of missiles and the improvements he introduced in the organization’s ability to launch missiles.””

This week Dirar Abu Sisi was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Curiously – particularly considering the fact that all the above content is still available online and hence potentially subject to editorial complaints – the BBC has not found it necessary to provide audiences with any follow-up reporting on the story it covered so extensively four years ago and thereby relieve them of the mistaken impressions received across that coverage. 

BBC News ignores arrests connected to terror attack it didn’t report

A terror attack which took place on June 19th near Dolev in which one person was killed and another injured was, as noted here previously, ignored by the BBC’s English language news services but reported on the BBC Arabic website.No news

On July 15th the Israeli police and security forces announced the arrest of the terrorist suspected of killing 25 year-old Danny Gonen, together with four accomplices.

“In a joint operation by the Shin Bet, the Judea and Samaria Police’s counter-terrorism unit and the IDF, Shahin and several other terrorists were arrested, security forces said. […]

They confessed during questioning to carrying out a series of terrorist attacks, including the murder of Danny Gonen,” the Shin Bet said.

Before the attack, the terrorists had carried out “shootings against security forces in the Kalandia refugee camp region,” the Shin Bet said. The cell “gathered intelligence on the natural spring in the area,” in order to target Israelis who passed through, it said.

During the investigation, security forces seized weapons, including the firearm allegedly used in the attack.”

Although the attack was claimed at the time by Hamas, the majority of those arrested are Fatah-Tanzim operatives and the suspected gunman Muhammad Abu Shahin is on the Palestinian Authority’s payroll.

“Shahin, 30, is a former member of the Fatah-affiliated Force 17, and receives a monthly salary from the Palestinian Authority.

He spent two years in an Israeli prison, from 2006 to 2008, after confessing to planning shooting and stabbing attacks. Shahin arrived at the spring near Dolev to gather intelligence before last month’s shooting on multiple occasions, the agency said.

In 2014, he carried out six shootings, including one that wounded a soldier, the Shin Bet added.

Security forces also named Amjad Adwan, 35, also a Tanzim-Fatah operative from the Kalandia camp, as a suspect. Adwan “supplied ammunition to Shahin, and acted as a lookout in a number of shooting attacks,” the Shin Bet said. He too spent time in Israeli prison, in 2008, for arms dealing and carrying out a bombing attack.

A third suspect, named by the agency as Ashraf Amar, 24, also from Kalandia, is “an operative in the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence” branch, the Shin Bet said. He has no prior arrests, and the Shin Bet said he headed out with Shahin to carry out an attack in recent months, but that the attackers turned back in the end.

Two additional suspects, one a member of Fatah-Tanzim, and another who has no organizational affiliation, are also under arrest on suspicion of involvement in killing Gonen.”

In addition to its failure to report the fatal terror attack when it took place, BBC News has to date refrained from reporting on these arrests.

Likewise, BBC audiences remain unaware of the fact that an Israeli soldier was stabbed in the back by a Palestinian woman on July 15th or that residents of the Ashkelon area in southern Israel had to scramble to their air raid shelters just after 2 a.m. on July 16th due to yet another missile attack from the Gaza Strip.

Related Articles:

Yet again: Gaza missile attack ignored by BBC News but Israeli response reported in Arabic

BBC coverage of Ramadan terror ignores attacks in one country – in English

BBC News website corrects inaccurate headlines

As readers are aware, a BBC News website article dated July 13th inaccurately claimed in its headline that a video promoted by the political NGO B’Tselem ‘shows Israeli officer shoot fleeing Palestinian’ and a similarly inaccurate statement was seen in the link to the report on the BBC News website’s Middle East page.

Qalandiya film art

Qalandiya film on HP

Following communication from BBC Watch the article’s headline and the additional one appearing on the website’s Middle East page have been amended.

Qalandiya film new headline

Qalandiya film HP amended

A footnote has been appended to the article concerned.

Qalandiya film correction

 

 

Revisiting BBC reports on a Jerusalem terror attack

In March 2015 BBC reporting on terror attacks against Israelis amounted to coverage of one incident which took place on March 6th in Jerusalem.

A filmed report by David Eades, which was shown on BBC television news programmes and promoted on the BBC News website, did not mention the word terror at all. As was noted here at the time, the written report appearing on the BBC News website mentioned the word terror twice – both times using punctuation intended to clarify to readers that the terminology was not endorsed by the BBC.

March 6th incident

The perpetrator of that attack – Mohammad Salima from Ras al Amud – confessed to five counts of attempted murder and has now been sentenced to 25 years in prison.  

“On March 6, Salaimeh drove his vehicle into the group – lightly-to-moderately wounding all five – before being shot twice upon exiting the car while wielding a large meat cleaver in an attempt to attack more victims. […]

After being treated at an area hospital, Salaimeh, who resides in the Arab neighborhood of Ras el-Amud, confessed that the attack was premeditated, and that he intended to kill as many Jews as possible.

Following the attack, Hamas’s spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri posted a statement on his Facebook page lauding the terrorist, but did not claim responsibility.” [emphasis added]

That, of course, is the same frequently quoted and promoted Sami Abu Zuhri upon whom the BBC recently called to provide comment on a report into last summer’s conflict between Israel and the terror group he represents – and then defended that action.

So – a terrorist has confessed to trying to commit the premeditated murder of five people simply because they were Jews and yet the BBC content relating to that incident which is still available on the internet (and hence still potentially the subject of editorial complaints) does not clarify the nature of that incident to audiences.