The day after the terror attack at the synagogue in Har Nof – November 19th – the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Quentin Sommerville produced a filmed report titled “Anger in Jerusalem after deadly synagogue attack” which appeared on the BBC News website as well as on BBC television news.
Sommerville’s report starts off well enough but as it enters its third minute, viewers hear him say:
“Predictably, the killing sparked clashes across the occupied West Bank.”
Sommerville does not explain to audiences why the premeditated murder of Jews at prayer by Palestinian terrorists should be a trigger for violent rioting by Palestinians at all – let alone why that should be ‘predictable’. He goes on:
“Palestinian anger has been rising over threats to an important Muslim site.”
Of course there are no actual threats to the Al Aqsa Mosque or any other “important Muslim site”: the only ‘threats’ which exist are the mythical ones invented by Palestinian leaders in order to incite the population to violence. Not only does Sommerville fail to clarify that point to BBC audiences, but he goes on to state that the terror attack in Har Nof should be understood as having been “motivated” by what are in fact non-existent ‘threats’.
“It was this that motivated the killers – Ghassan [and] Uday Abu Jamal – said Uday’s father. He told me ‘this was done to protect our holy sites; to prove that we won’t be moved. This is a religious war’.”
Later on Sommerville tells audiences that “Mahmoud Abbas condemned the violence” and the report then cuts to footage of Abbas saying:
“We strongly condemn this kind of incidents. We categorically reject attacks against civilians. At the same time I would like to say that while we denounce these acts, we also condemn attacks against Al Aqsa Compound and other holy places.”
Sommerville fails to correct the misleading impression given to viewers by Abbas’ words by informing them that there have not been any “attacks against Al Aqsa Compound”.
It is the BBC’s job to enhance audience understanding of international affairs by means of accurate and impartial reporting. The corporation cannot achieve that aim if its correspondents simply regurgitate Palestinian propaganda whilst making no effort to inform audiences of the facts behind that deliberate misinformation.