Correction needed on BBC article from November 5th 2012

On November 5th 2012 an article in the Middle East section of the BBC News website reported that: 

“A Palestinian has died after being hit by Israeli gunfire as he approached Gaza’s border fence with Israel.

The Israeli military said the man was shot after ignoring warnings to stop. Palestinian medics said the man was unarmed and mentally ill.”

That same incident was used by the Guardian’s Seumas Milne in an op-ed he wrote on November 20th for the ‘Comment is Free’ section of his paper’s website:

“In fact, an examination of the sequence of events over the last month shows that Israel played the decisive role in the military escalation: from its attack on a Khartoum arms factory reportedly supplying arms to Hamas and the killing of 15 Palestinian fighters in late October, to the shooting of a mentally disabled Palestinian in early November, the killing of a 13 year-old in an Israeli incursion and, crucially, the assassination of the Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari last Wednesday during negotiations over a temporary truce.”

[emphasis added in both quotes]

Also on November 20th, the BBC promoted Milne’s op-ed on its ‘Live Updates’ page, specifically relating to that above paragraph by informing audiences that:

“The Guardian’s Seamus Milne says in a new article that looking at the timeline of events, Israel is responsible for the military escalation that led to the current conflict.”

At the time, the man shot near the border fence was named by several Palestinian sources as Ahmed Tawfiq ‘Awadh al Nabahin – in some reports aged 23 and in others, 21. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), which documents all casualties in the Gaza Strip, stated on November 5th (the day after the incident) that al Nabahin suffered from epilepsy. 

Epilepsy, of course, is not a “mental illness” or a “mental disability” but a neurological condition.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre’s weekly report for the period October 31st to November 6th reports as follows:

“On the evening of November 4 an IDF force identified a suspicious Palestinian approaching the security fence. They called to him to halt and fired shots in the air. However, when he did not comply and continued towards the fence, he was shot and killed (IDF Spokesman, November 5, 2012).

The Palestinian media reported the death of Ahmed Tawfiq al-Nabahin, 23, a resident of Juhr al-Dik. The reports claimed he was “mentally disturbed.” A picture of the same “mentally disturbed” individual, wearing a body-armor vest and armed with a rifle, was posted on the Hamas forum. The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in the Gaza Strip denounced the event and called on international organizations to take action against Israel’s so-called “war crimes” against the Palestinians (Ma’an News Agency and Shihab News Agency, November 5, 2012). Hamas posted a notice of al-Nabahin’s death on its website and appealed to the residents of the Al-Bureij refugee camp to participate in his funeral. His body was wrapped in the Hamas flag ( website and Safa News Agency, November 5, 2012). (Safa News Agency, November 5, 2012)”

al Nabahin

Obviously, both the BBC and the Guardian need to revise their reports accordingly. 


A reader reminds us that on November 22nd, during an edition of the BBC’s ‘Question Time’, Owen Jones also made reference to the IDF having “shot dead a mentally disabled Palestinian”. 


39 comments on “Correction needed on BBC article from November 5th 2012

  1. The easy credulity granted to Hamas’s claims by the BBC and the Guardian gives them a free pass to excuse any action. There’s no reason to believe that a foreign language and a unfamiliar alphabet are unsurmountable barriers or an excuse for laziness or worse

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  3. Your questions to Jeremy Bowen

    Question from @carolshorenye: BBC reports seem critical of Israel. Does the BBC recognise this bias and want to report more neutrally?

    Jeremy answers: I don’t think BBC is biased against Israel. Sometimes our reporting makes Israel’s supporters uncomfortable

  4. How many Palestinians have to die before you show even a scintilla of regret?
    Endlessly hair-splitting over details.Epilepsy this epilepsy that!
    You can’t think of anything worse than the nuances of BBC delivery.

    • How many photos of “Palestinian civilians” in uniform (they only wear uniforms for photos, not in combat) armed with assault rifles in front of Hamas flags do you have to see before you begin to doubt the BBC’s version?

      • How do you know what they wear in combat? Are you in the IDF by any chance? What has it got to do with photos. The IDF has a tendency to kill a lot of people apparently in self-defence. What has so-called BBC bias got to do with that.It’s a red herring.You can’t defend the indefensible!Killing is bad for your health!

        ! ________________________________

      • Bio, there is a basic distinction between a combattant, who bears arms, and a civilian, who is unarmed and enjoys specific protections under international law.

        The 30+ children who were killed in Israeli airstrikes or shelling on Gaza were not ‘combatants’, were they? Some had not even celebrated their first birthday.

    • How many Palestinians have to die before you show even a scintilla of regret?</i.
      Until they want to kill Israelis all of those who are involved are dead men walking.
      And regret? Spare your sanctimonious shit about regret when you are sending them to die for satisfying your lust for Jewish blood.

        • No, I mean real terrorism, as practised by the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, not the blood libel type you go in for.

          • Israel has been trying to wash the blood off it’s hands for the last 64 years.That’s what state terrorists do. Still,when the sanctions kick in they might run out of soap.


        • as I said spratty, you indulge in a blood libel. Saying it repeatedly doesn’t turn fiction into fact.

          Meanwhile, the Arab pogroms and apartheid against Jews goes unmentioned by you…

          • You casually ignore the facts and tout this fiction of a blood libel. The leaders of Israel and their spokespersons have raised hypocrisy to the status of an art form.  Exemplified by the tawdry letter sent this week to Mr Obama from someone calling himself Simon Peres. Cases of libel are usually settled in court. Something you and the rest of the apologist brigade avoid . Any trip to court would make you the laughing stock of the entire world Because the world has wised up to the myths and legends invented by the Israeli establishment.


          • @ spookyville
            Antisemites like you must hate the Jewish state, quite understandable that you have to forge and lie, just like the NS.

      • Adam, could you please clarify how the 30+ children killed in Israel’s airstrikes or shelling on Gaza were “terrorists”? Surely an 11-month old baby cannot launch rockets?

    • There’s no hair-splitting with you though, is there, Spratty? It’s just black & white for you: Jews Bad, Pallestinians Good. And you don’t let any mere facts get in your way. Bravo.

    • What exactly did you expect to see on a site about BBC bias?
      “The Hanging Gardens of Babylon?…Herds of Wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain?”

        • Ah, poor Spratty, if you really think the quote above is anything to do with historical or wildlife documentaries, I’m starting to feel quite sorry for you, on account of your comedically impoverished childhood.
          I take it you’re either not British, or you weren’t around in the 1980s, otherwise you’d certainly know exactly where the quote came from. And, I can assure you, it would also be a source of pleasing thoughts, and a LOT of smiles!

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