Still no BBC reporting on Palestinian celebrations of kidnappings

Visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page on the morning of June 16th found a new article on the subject of the ongoing search for three Israeli teenagers which replaced the previous two reports.kidnapping on hp 16 6

The two initial versions of the report – which was originally titled “Palestinian killed as Israel expands search for youths” – opened with the claim that it was the searches for the kidnapped youths which had provoked violence on the part of local Palestinians.  

“Israeli troops widened their search for three missing Israeli teenagers on Sunday night, triggering violent street clashes with Palestinians.”  

That opening paragraph was later amended to read:

“Israeli troops searching for three Israeli teenagers missing in the West Bank have clashed with Palestinians, detaining scores for questioning.”

All versions of the article encouraged BBC audiences to view statements made by an internationally designated terror organization as being on a par with statements issued on the basis of intelligence reports and evidence.

“Israel has accused Hamas of kidnapping the teens, though Hamas denies this.

“Those who carried out the kidnapping of our youngsters are Hamas people,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called Mr Netanyahu’s statements “silly” and said the arrests were “aimed at breaking the will of the Hamas movement in the West Bank”.”

The article’s first two versions reported on the death of Ahmad Arafat (or Ahmad Arafat Sabarin as he is named in some other reports, with his age also having been stated as 20) in Jelazoun, failing to clarify to audiences that the reports have yet to be confirmed.

version 2

version 2

“Reports from Ramallah say a 19-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli soldiers at a refugee camp in the city. […]

As part of the operation, Israeli soldiers conducted house-to-house searches in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Ramallah on Sunday night.

Medical officials said Ahmad Arafat died after being shot in the chest during clashes that followed the searches.

They said it was unclear whether the Israelis had been trying to arrest the young man.

Palestinian security sources told the AFP news agency that he had been released from prison one week ago.”

The third version of the BBC article showed improved coverage of that topic, with vital context added, but of course readers who had already viewed the article’s earlier versions would be unlikely to return to it and – in the absence of any signposting on the part of the BBC – would therefore be unaware that the information they had previously received was not complete.

“Palestinian medics say a 19-year-old was shot dead during clashes near Ramallah, which erupted after soldier conducted house-to-house searches. […]

As part of the operation, Israeli soldiers searched houses in Jalazoun refugee camp on the outskirts of Ramallah on Sunday night.

Palestinian medical officials said Ahmad Arafat died after being shot in the chest during clashes that followed the searches.

They said it was unclear whether the Israelis had been trying to arrest the young man.

Palestinian security sources told the AFP news agency that he had been released from prison one week ago.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said: “Palestinians hurled rocks at security forces who responded with live fire. Scans of the area revealed ammunition and weaponry. Regarding the reports of a Palestinian killed we are still looking into them.” “

All early versions of the article again promoted the BBC’s specious narrative concerning the end of the last round of negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

“Mr Netanyahu called off peace talks with President Mahmoud Abbas in April, saying the Palestinian leader had to choose between peace and a pact with Hamas.”

All versions of the article but its latest closed with the following ‘last-first’ information:

version 3

version 3

“Early on Monday, the Israeli army confirmed it had conducted air strikes in Gaza that had “targeted a terror activity site and three weapon storage and manufacturing facilities”.

Doctors in Gaza said two Palestinians were injured in the strikes.

The strikes came hours after two rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel, both of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system.”

In fact, more than two missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip on the evening of June 15th, with two indeed having been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system and two others hitting open areas.

No mention was made in any version of the article that on the same evening, a drive-by shooting took place near Har Homa.

As the day progressed, that article’s title was changed yet again; this time to “Israel ‘expects Abbas’ help to find missing teenagers'”. 

The first three versions of the report had all included the statement:

“The kidnapping is seen as the biggest strain on relations between the two sides since a Palestinian unity government was announced earlier this year.”

The subsequent three versions, however, downgraded the incident from a kidnapping to a “disappearance”.

“The teenagers’ disappearance is seen as the biggest strain on relations between the two sides since a Palestinian unity government was announced earlier this year.”

The later version of the article (in which audiences were finally reminded of Hamas’ terrorist designation) included a very condensed representation of the statement issued by the PA president on Monday – four days after the kidnappings.

“Mr Abbas condemned the “kidnapping of three Israeli boys and… Israeli violations” since they went missing.”

kidnapping art 3 vers 6

version 6

Abbas’ statement in full reads as follows and, as can be seen, it focuses considerably less on condemning the kidnappings than on other issues – in contrast to the impression given to audiences by the BBC.

“The Palestinian President’s [Abbas’] Office condemned the chain of events that took place last week, from the kidnapping of the three Israeli youths to the series of consecutive Israeli violations – both concerning the prisoners’ [hunger] strike, and the break-ins into the Palestinian homes, the attacks of the settlers and the occupation army, which led to the death of a young Palestinian as a Martyr (Shahid), and the persecution of numerous innocent people.

In a statement published today, Monday June 16, 2014], the President’s Office reiterated that all sides must refrain from violence, especially since the President’s position is to continue the intensive action toward [securing] the release of the prisoners agreed on (i.e., an allusion to the fourth phase of prisoner releases, which Israel cancelled), and [the release of] all the prisoners in the [Israeli] jails when a final status agreement is signed.

In addition, the President [Abbas’] Office praised the efforts of the Palestinian Security Forces in keeping order, calm and stability, in order to prevent the Palestinians from being drawn into anarchy and instability, and to prevent any element from taking advantage of the situation for non-national purposes.” (WAFA, official PA news agency, June 16, 2014)

All six versions of this latest report on the subject continued to conceal from BBC audiences the celebrations of the kidnappings on the Palestinian street and the plethora of inflammatory statements and imagery published by Hamas, the PA and Fatah.

 

 

 

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