Murdered Israeli soldier nameless in BBC report

Visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page on September 21st were informed that an Israeli soldier had been “abducted and killed”.

HP 21 sept

The link leads to a very short article replete with omissions and errors and with a bizarre choice of additional articles included under the title “More on This Story”. 

Murder Tomer Hazan

Notably, whilst the suspected murderer is personalised with his name and age, the soldier is not. He remains a nameless, faceless, ageless entity for BBC audiences.

The report opens:

“An Israeli soldier has been abducted and killed by a Palestinian man in the northern West Bank, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency says.”

An average reader would understand from that sentence – as well as from the report’s headline – that the incident took place in “the northern West Bank”. In fact, twenty year-old Sergeant Tomer Hazan, who served in the Israeli Air Force, was lured – rather than abducted – by the suspected murderer from his home town of Bat Yam (south of Tel Aviv) to the area of the latter’s home in Beit Amin near Qalqiliya on Friday September 20th

The report goes on:

“The soldier was seized on Friday and his body found near the town of Qalqiliya on Saturday, it said.

A suspect – who Shin Bet said worked with the soldier – has been arrested.”

Again, Tomer Hazan was not “seized” but lured by a man he knew due to the fact that they worked together at a shawarma restaurant in Bat Yam. Early on the morning of Saturday September 21st, Hazan’s body was found dumped in a water cistern – a fact which was reported in earlier versions of the BBC article but which was removed from the updated version. 

The BBC report concludes:

“The statement said he had confessed to killing the soldier in the hope that he could trade the body in exchange for the release of his imprisoned brother.

Shin Bet named the suspect as Nidal Ammer, 42-year-old Palestinian man.

More arrests are expected, it added.”

Nidal Amar (the BBC spells his name Ammer) apparently intended to trade Hazan’s body for the release of his brother Nur Al Din Amar – a member of the Fatah Tanzim terrorist group – who was imprisoned in 2003 for security offences including the dispatch of a female suicide bomber and who is scheduled for release in 2032. According to some Israeli media reports another brother was arrested at the same time as Nidal Amar.

First published at 14:10 UTC/GMT on September 21st, the BBC report was subsequently updated several times with the latest version (at the time of writing) having been published at 16:59 GMT – 19:59 Israeli time. By that time, details of the murdered soldier’s identity had been made public on multiple local television and radio stations and on news websites. For example, the Times of Israel published its story at 19:26 local time, the Jerusalem Post at 16:47, Ma’ariv at 18:18, YNet at 17:09 and Channel 2 TV at 18:41. In addition, the IDF spokesman made the murdered soldier’s name public at 18:23 on Twitter – around an hour and a half before the last update to the BBC report.

It is therefore difficult to understand why the BBC elected not to include the victim’s name in the later update to its report.

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6 comments on “Murdered Israeli soldier nameless in BBC report

  1. I suppose dear Jenny would say that’s balance and fairness!

    I’d say that the way the BBC has and continues to report this removes from the equation the understanding of a relationship between the Jewish soldier and his Arab co-worker to the extent that the Jewish Soldier trusted his Arab colleague sufficiently to hop in a taxi with him and journey to his home near Qalqilya, a place that most Israelis would not venture into. This was indeed a trust betrayed, a preconceived murder of someone the terrorist knew in a personal way, a coworker with whom he was sufficiently friendly so that he joined him for that tax ride. The BBC’s sanitisation of this story not only excludes readily available facts like the soldiers name and the fact that the journey started in Tel Aviv, it also takes away the very notion that a Jew could have such a trusting relationship with an Arab.

    This is shocking reporting, the very depths of a depraved way of influencing the public with a sordid type of propaganda, one that is subliminal and therefore probably not even noticed by the average guy who doesn’t read further because he trusts the value of the BBC.

  2. The prophet Duvidl speaks:

    There will probably be a further version of the story, this time mentioning the name of murdered Sergeant Tomer Hazan, plus a couple of other tweaks. But there will definitely be no acknowledgement of either BBC Watch or you, Hadar, for pointing out to the BBC the error of its ways.

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