More on the BBC’s ‘Dutchman returns Holocaust medal’ story

Readers may recall that last month we noted here that two reports – one written and one filmed – which appeared (and are still available) on the BBC News website failed to inform audiences of a very significant factor in the story they told.Anna Holligan report

That story was recounted by the BBC as follows:

“A Dutchman honoured by Israel for hiding a Jewish child during World War Two has handed back his medal after six of his relatives were killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza.

Henk Zanoli, 91, wrote to the Israeli embassy in The Hague to say he could no longer hold the honour.

He said an Israeli F-16 had destroyed his great-niece’s home in Gaza, killing all inside, in the recent offensive. [….]

His great-niece is a Dutch diplomat who is married to Palestinian economist Ismail Ziadah, who was born in a refugee camp in central Gaza.

Mr Ziadah’s mother, three brothers, a sister-in-law and nine-year-old nephew were all killed after their family home was hit by Israeli aircraft.”

However, the BBC did not inform readers and viewers that in addition to Mr Zanoli’s family members, a “guest” was also present in the house at the time: Mohammed Mahmoud al-Maqadma – a member of Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigades. As we noted at the time:Ziyadeh poster

“That information was in the public domain for almost a month before BBC News ran this report. It is a very relevant part of the story which provides context important to proper audience understanding. And yet, the BBC elected to refrain from providing that information to readers and viewers.”

Now further research by Elder of Ziyon reveals that al Maqadma was not the only Hamas terrorist present in the Ziadah family home on July 20th. Omar Ziadah – Mr Zanoli’s great-niece’s brother-in-law – was a field commander in Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigades.

The BBC’s written report ended with amplification of the following statement from Mr Zanoli:

” “Against this background it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel,” he wrote in the letter addressed to Israeli ambassador Haim Davon.”

BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality should mean that – having elected to amplify that very serious accusation – the BBC is now obliged to inform audiences that in fact one of Mr Zanoli’s relatives was a member of Hamas and a combatant.

And perhaps the BBC’s correspondent in the Hague who produced the original filmed report might care to ask the Dutch government how a diplomat from an EU member country – in this case the Deputy Head of the Netherlands’ mission to Oman and former policy advisor on the Middle East to the Dutch MFA – happened to have a relative who was a member of a terrorist organization proscribed by the EU.  

27 comments on “More on the BBC’s ‘Dutchman returns Holocaust medal’ story

  1. Lie down with dogs and wake up with fleas.

    From Article 4 of the 4th Geneva Convention – “Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention are not protected by it.”. That means that the Arab whine is totally invalid.

    Article 5 “Where, in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present Convention as would, if exercised in the favour of such individual person, be prejudicial to the security of such State.”

    Article 28 “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.”

    Article 51(7) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
    “The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.”

    ICC Statue “Pursuant to Article 8(2)(b)(xxiii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[u]tilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.”

    The fault is entirely on the Arabs.

  2. Nearly 500 children were killed in airstrikes in Gaza this summer. The youngest one was a ten day old baby. Were they “terrorists” too in the eyes of Ms. Sela?

    And the four nine or ten year old kids who were killed by Israeli shelling as they played on a beach next to foreign journalists, were they terrorists in ms Sela’s eyes?

    • So what? NATO forces killed over 100,000 children in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Where is your outrage at NATO? How about more than 200,000 civilians murdered in Syria? Any outrage there?

      Of course not – the only issue is when we shoot back.

    • Esther theses kids were in fact killed by a Hamas rocket that misfired and landed on the beach ….this has been verified officially and accepted internationally. Try and get your facts right before making accusations.

    • “Gaza Beach Shelling Eyewitnesses
      Let’s review eyewitness accounts of yesterday’s sheeling of the beach when four Arab youngsters were killed:
      The IDF seems to have targeted a specific structure, not an open area or the boys.
      The area, having been attacked “at least three times” previously, would seem to indicate a terrorist target. You don’t waste ordnance on children.
      UPDATE of an acknowledgement from The Guardian:
      “A witness who identified himself only as Abu Ahmed said the boys had been scavenging for scrap metal when the first shell hit a nearby shipping container used in the past by Hamas security forces. He said the boys fled but a second projectile “hit all of them”.”
      There you have it — one, two, three.
      And because of Hamas terror, four young kids lose their lives.”

  3. So it is ok to kill Mr Ziadah’s mother, three brothers, a sister-in-law and nine-year-old nephew because a militant was there? Does Ms. Sela feel nothing for this nine-year-old child killed in an Israeli airstrike?

    • Hey stupid – try international laws. Just because they use human shields doesn’t give them a pass. That just makes it another ARAB war crime.

    • Esther Ms Sela’s job is not to express her personal feelings but to highlight the inaccurate, lack of impartiality and incorrect reports and observation of the BBC. All of which are in contravention of their charter. Your attacks on Ms Sela are totally uncalled for as she has nothing to do with the fighting or the results of it. She is holding the BBC to task to maintain accuracy at all times and fulfill its obligations as stated in its charter. Nothing more than this.

    • Mr Ziadah and Ms Sela should feel very angry at Hamas, and Hamas supporters, who wish to annihilate Israel and kill all the Jews – and who attack Israeli civilians while hiding behind an old woman and a nine-year-old child… They should also feel angry about people like you, who encourage the Palestinian terrorist to keep doing such use of civilians as Human Shields (if it wasn’t for you, they wouldn’t have been doing it, would they?!)…

  4. Pingback: More on the BBC’s ‘Dutchman returns Holocaust medal’ story | Bydio

  5. Oh, great, yet another bigot who thinks Jews are supposed to just accept being bombarded by savages and say “Thank you kindly”.
    Crawl back under your stone.

  6. Pingback: Open Letter to Henk Zanoli, the Dutchman who returned his Holocaust medal | Holland's Heroes

  7. Dear Hadar, I got the gist of your article but is is not clear to me who is who in the in-law family of the Dutchman. I is also not clear who was in the house exactly and why this house was bombed…was it because this Hamas member was there? or was it because he fired rockets from this house? or was it because 2 members of Hamas were in this house?


    Dear Hadar, I got the gist of your article but is is not clear to me exactly who is who in the in-law family of the 91 year old Dutchman. It is also not clear who was in the house exactly at the time of bombing and why this house was bombed…was it because this Hamas member was there? or was it because he fired rockets from this house? or was it because not only he but a 2nd member of Hamas was in this house as well?

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