A filmed report from BBC Arabic’s Sam Farah which appeared on the Middle East page of the BBC News website on April 16th 2013 waxes lyrical about the confectionery skills of two of the terrorists released to the Gaza Strip under the terms of the Shalit deal in 2011.
Of course Farah does not describe the men as terrorists – instead using the generalised terms “inmates” and “prisoners” – and he completely neglects to inform viewers of the distinctly less than sweet reasons behind the incarceration of the two.
Nader Abu Turki from Hebron was a senior Hamas operative who was arrested in November 2002 and convicted of conspiracy to murder, stone-throwing, planting bombs and membership of the military wing of Hamas. According to one youth (17 years old at the time) conscripted to Hamas by Abu Turki, he was selected to carry out a suicide bombing attack in Israel because of his European appearance and blue eyes. Abu Turki was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
Hamuda Salah from Nablus (Schem) was sentenced to 22 years in prison after having been convicted of conspiracy to murder, planting bombs, shooting attacks and membership of a terrorist organisation.
Farah also fails to inform viewers why the two men ended up in Gaza, rather than returning to Hebron and Nablus after their release. In fact, both were considered too dangerous to be freed to PA controlled territory.
The BBC’s sanitised depiction of the subjects of this report as former “prisoners” and “inmates” without any reference to the reasons for which they were imprisoned and their involvement in terrorism is not only a failure by omission to comply with BBC editorial guidelines on accuracy, but also compromises the BBC’s impartiality by whitewashing terrorism.