Don’t mention the baklava: BBC reports on kidnapping of Israeli teens

After having initially ignored the search in Judea & Samaria for three Israeli teenagers abducted on Thursday night, the BBC News website finally got round to reporting the story on the afternoon of June 14th.

The original version of the BBC’s report was titled “Israel searches for teens ‘kidnapped’ in the West Bank”. Three versions of the report later, that headline was changed to read “Netanyahu: Terror group seized three Israeli teenagers“.BBC search art

The first three versions of the report informed BBC audiences that:

The search is being seen as the biggest strain on relations between the two sides since the establishment of a new Palestinian unity government.” [emphasis added]

From version four onwards, that phrasing was amended, presumably after someone realised (perhaps with the help of numerous reactions to that statement on social media) that any “strain” is caused by the abductions themselves; not by the search for the kidnapped youths.

“The disappearance is being seen as the biggest strain on relations between the two sides since a Palestinian unity government was announced in April.”

By the morning of June 15th, that report had been replaced by an initially much shorter one titled “Israeli army arrests 80 over missing teenagers“, with descriptions of the teens as “kidnapped” and “seized” downgraded to “missing”. The article opens:

“The Israeli army says it has arrested about 80 Palestinians as part of efforts to find three Israeli teenagers missing from the West Bank.”

Only in the report’s third version was it clarified to audiences the fact that those arrested are not just random Palestinians, but people with connections to internationally recognised terrorist organisations operating out of PA controlled areas, but no attempt is made to explain the implications of that with regard to the PA’s new unity government and its claim to adhere to previous agreements with Israel. 

Like its predecessor, that article noted that:

“Palestinian officials have said they are co-operating with the search.”

BBC audiences have not, however, been informed of Hamas’ denunciation of its ‘unity deal’ partner for cooperating with the search or of the public reactions of “Palestinian officials” beyond the PA security forces – as shown, for example, in this Tweet sent by the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department.

PLO NAD tweet

In both reports BBC audiences are told of the reaction to the abductions in Israel.

“Their fate has gripped Israel with rolling coverage on the main TV channels, says the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville in Jerusalem.”

Readers are not informed in any of the numerous versions of either report of the reaction on the Palestinian street which included many recorded instances of public celebrations of the kidnappings.

KAT tweet celebrations 1

KAT tweet celebrations 2

KAT tweet celebrations 3

Later versions of the second report noted Israeli responses to terror attacks from the Gaza Strip on June 14th, but no details are given regarding the multiple incidents of missile fire from the Gaza Strip at civilian targets which took place in the morning and evening of that day.

“Also on Sunday, the Israeli army said it had conducted aerial raids on the Gaza Strip overnight in retaliation for rockets fired from the Strip into Israel.

A spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry told the Associated Press news agency that a girl had been slightly hurt. The ministry also said a seven-year-old boy had died from injuries sustained in an Israeli raid earlier this week.”

The article also promotes the now standard BBC narrative on the topic of the end of the recent round of negotiations between Israel and the PLO, erasing from the picture the PA’s application (in violation of previous agreements) to join assorted UN bodies and the fact that dozens of convicted terrorists were released by Israel as ‘goodwill’ gestures throughout the talks.  

“Israel suspended crisis-hit peace talks with the Palestinians when a Hamas-backed Palestinian unity government was announced.”

Clearly, these two sanitized reports do not provide BBC audiences with the full and accurate picture of the event which is necessary to allow them to place any Israeli statements or future actions in their appropriate context and enable their “awareness and understanding of international issues“.