Two videos from Jerusalem: the one BBC viewers saw and the one they didn’t

On April 29th visitors to the BBC News website’s main homepage were presented with a video filmed in Jerusalem.

petrol station story on home page

So were visitors to the website’s ‘World’ homepage:

petrol station story on World page

And also those who arrived at the website’s Middle East page:

petrol station story on ME pge

The BBC also uploaded the same video to its BBC News Youtube channel.

Whilst the footage (taken from a CCTV camera at a Jerusalem petrol station) is certainly dramatic, the story behind it is perhaps not quite as earth-shatteringly important as its promotion on three separate pages of the BBC News website would suggest. The BBC’s synopsis states:petrol station story

“A woman has denied deliberately setting fire to a petrol pump on a Jerusalem forecourt, after being refused a cigarette by a motorist, according to local police.

Israeli police released CCTV in which a woman is seen approaching a man filling his car, then walking away, before turning back and appearing to use a lighter to set the fuel ablaze.

According to local media, the driver’s brother was in the car, but no injuries were reported.

Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld was quoted as saying; “The woman was arrested shortly after the incident and… denied the incident”.”

BBC audiences are not, however, informed that the woman apparently suffers from mental health problems.

Another video taken from CCTV footage in Jerusalem was also released into the public domain on April 29th. That film shows the terror attack which took place in the French Hill district of the city on April 15th in which one person was killed and a second seriously injured.

As readers will recall, the BBC did not see fit to report on that fatal terror attack at the time and the corporation obviously does not consider the video footage of the attack worthy of promotion on three separate webpages and a Youtube channel now. 

BBC amends online profile of Manchester constituency after complaints

Via the Jewish Chronicle we learn that:

“The BBC has been accused of racism after an article on the Blackley and Broughton constituency in Greater Manchester referred to its “wealthy” Jewish community.”

The Manchester Evening News (which has a screenshot of the original profile) reports that:complaint

“In its summary of the Blackley and Broughton constituency ahead of May 7, the broadcaster describes a multi-cultural area containing a ‘Jewish community concentrated in a wealthy pocket of large detached houses’.

Labour candidate Graham Stringer, who is defending the seat, says the words have prompted a flood of complaints from Jewish people.

He said parts of the area’s Orthodox community suffer from some of the highest poverty levels in the country and compared the description to the Victorian caricature of Fagin in Oliver Twist.

In a complaint to the BBC, he says the description is a ‘racist distortion’.

The profile refers to Blackley and Broughton’s Muslim, Irish, West Indian, Sikh and Polish populations and points out that a third of people in the constituency live in social housing.

But the only ethnicity it describes in terms of its wealth is the Jewish community.”

By way of comparison, the constituency which the BBC defines as “the richest place in Britain” – Kensington – is described as “well-to-do” and no mention is made of its ethnic or religious make-up.

The BBC has now amended the profile of Blackley & Broughton.

“A BBC spokesperson said: “These profiles aim to portray every constituency in a few sentences. We regret part of our description of Blackley and Broughton did not accurately reflect the area and we have now changed the wording accordingly.””

Once again the BBC chooses to miss the point.

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BBC article on UN Gaza report includes inaccurate representation of its content

On April 27th the BBC News website produced an article titled “Israel struck Gaza shelters – UN report” which appeared on its Middle East page. The main photograph appearing at the head of that report is captioned:

“Israel said Palestinian militants used UN facilities as shields for their “terrorist activities”.”

UN report art first pic

The BBC’s article does not include a link to the summary of the UN report which is its subject matter but had it done so, audiences would have been able to see for themselves that the BBC’s knee-jerk insertion of the words “Israel said” is entirely superfluous given that the UN’s report establishes the exact same fact. The BBC itself even goes on to state that:UN report art main

“The inquiry also found that three empty UN schools were used by Palestinian militants to store weapons, and that in two cases they likely fired from them.”

The BBC’s article can be divided into several parts, one of which is general background information. Readers are informed that:

“The 50-day conflict claimed the lives of more than 2,260 people.

At least 2,189 were Palestinians, including more than 1,486 civilians, according to the UN. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers were killed along with six civilians.”

BBC audiences have seen that oddly worded description before and, as was noted here at the time:

“The BBC tells its audiences that “at least” 2,189 Palestinians died, of whom “more than” 1,486 (a very precise number) were civilians. But how many more? If the BBC is sure that “more than” the 1,486 were civilians, why can it not tell audiences exactly how many of the casualties were civilians and how many were combatants? Of course what these quoted numbers also mean is that the BBC is informing audiences that at the very most, 703 of the casualties were not civilians. In other words, a maximum 32% of the casualties were, according to the BBC, combatants.”

Since the BBC began using that terminology back in December 2014, further information has come to light concerning the ratio of civilian to combatant casualties but the BBC continues to ignore those findings, instead continuing to quote the UN figures which were problematic from the onset and with nothing to suggest that the BBC has carried out any sort of independent verification of the information it promotes. 

An additional part of the BBC’s article relates to the abuse of UN facilities by terrorist organisations but notably no information is provided to audiences concerning the investigators’ conclusions as to why and how that abuse came about.

“He [the UN Secretary General] also expressed dismay that Palestinian militant groups would put UN schools at risk by using them to hide arms.

The report found that weapons were stored at three schools, although they were not being used as shelters at the time. The inquiry found that Palestinian militants had probably fired from two schools, which Mr Ban said was “unacceptable”.

“United Nations premises are inviolable and should be places of safety, particularly in a situation of armed conflict,” he warned. “I will work with all concerned and spare no effort to ensure that such incidents will never be repeated.””

A third part of the article gives the BBC’s version of the section of the report which relates to Israeli actions and remarkably all the important background information and context included in the report summary (such as the location of certain sites within the buffer zone and prior warnings to evacuate some facilities) is removed from audience view.UN report art text

“At least 44 Palestinians were killed by “Israeli actions” while sheltering at seven UN schools during last summer’s war in Gaza, a UN inquiry has found.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he deplored the deaths and stressed that UN facilities were “inviolable”. […]

In one incident, a girls’ school was hit by 88 mortar rounds fired by the Israeli military, the summary said. Another girls’ school was struck by an anti-tank projectile, while a third was hit by a missile.

At a fourth girls’ school, the inquiry found, “no prior warning had been given by the government of Israel of the firing of 155mm high explosive projectiles on, or in the surrounding area of the school”.

“It is a matter of the utmost gravity that those who looked to them for protection and who sought and were granted shelter there had their hopes and trust denied,” Mr Ban wrote in a cover letter accompanying the summary.” [emphasis added]

The report summary deals with ten separate cases, three of which relate to the storage of weapons by terrorist groups in UN schools. Of the remaining seven cases, one relates to a boys’ school and two to co-educational facilities, meaning that the remaining four incidents at girls’ schools – the four the BBC chose to highlight – are, according to the classification used in UN’s report, Incidents a, b, d and e.

As readers can see for themselves in the summary, in none of the descriptions of incidents which took place at girls’ schools (or any others) does the UN investigating body state that a “school was hit by 88 mortar rounds fired by the Israeli military”.

The possible source of that obviously grossly inaccurate BBC representation of the report’s content may perhaps be found in the part of the summary relating to ‘Incident a’ at the UNRWA Maghazi Preparatory Girls “A/B” School (pages 5 & 6). The summary states:

“Later in the day of 21 July, UNRWA removed the school from its list of designated emergency shelters. In the morning of 22 July 2014, UNRWA and the IDF coordinated a two-hour window to allow safe passage for an UNRWA team to visit the school and investigate the previous day’s incident. The team arrived at the school during that window. They were in clearly marked United Nations vehicles and parked in full view in the middle of the school courtyard. One of the team, wearing a vest with a luminescent United Nations sign, went to the roof to examine the previous day’s strike. While there, two mortar rounds hit buildings in close proximity to the school. The team member ran from the roof. Two further mortar rounds then struck the roof of the school at the exact location where he had been standing. The UNRWA team immediately evacuated the area. No injuries resulted from this incident, but the school was damaged.”

In other words, four mortar rounds in all hit the school – after it had been removed from the list of shelters. The summary goes on:

“The Government of Israel informed the Board that, as a result of the examination that had been initiated at the request of the MAG [Military Attorney General], it had been found that, on 22 July, the IDF was engaged in mortar fire in the area of Maghazi, but that all fire was directed at open areas at least two kilometres away. Moreover, IDF munitions experts who had examined photographs of a fragment of a mortar round that had been collected by UNRWA at the scene of the incident had been unable to determine whether it was a remnant of an IDF 81 MM mortar round, as opposed, for example, to an 82 MM round, which, it was said, were in use by Hamas. Such determination would require physical examination of the remnant. The Board, however, found that the school had been hit by 81 MM mortar rounds fired by the IDF.”

“81 MM” of course relates to the caliber of the mortar round – not the number fired.

Apparently whichever member of the BBC’s staff read the UN’s summary and then wrote up this article did not understand what he or she was reading. Clearly a prominent correction needs to be made to this article.

A particularly interesting part of the UN report (pages 19 & 20) reads as follows:

“The Board found that, at times, there had been multiple channels of communication, both within the United Nations and with outside interlocutors. While this could be helpful, it could also lead to misunderstandings. The Board also found that the existence of two United Nations operations emergency rooms, one organized and coordinated by OCHA and the other by UNRWA, could lead to confusion, even though they carried out distinct functions, which were clear to United Nations actors on the ground. […]

While they were channelled [sic] by the United Nations to the IDF in a timely manner, the Board sensed a degree of confusion concerning the names and coordinates of installations, as, on occasion, the IDF and the United Nations used different mapping references and some schools have multiple names. The Board welcomed the intention of UNRWA and Israel’s Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) to refer to installations in the future by numbers, as opposed to names.”

Seeing as at the time the BBC provided a very generous amount of air-time and column space (see just a few examples here, here and here) for UNRWA officials to insist that the names and coordinates of buildings had been passed on to the IDF and to infer malice on Israel’s part, audiences should obviously have been informed that the UN investigation found that the system was by no means foolproof. 

Not all ‘occupied territories’ are equal for the BBC

As readers are no doubt well aware the BBC rarely, if ever, passes up on an opportunity to remind its audiences that certain geographical areas appearing in its coverage are “occupied territories” or “occupied Palestinian land” and that “settlements are illegal under international law”. The BBC’s ‘style guide’ on “Israel and the Palestinians” has instructions for its journalists on the topic – including:Style Guide

“Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967. A law in 1980 formalised an administrative measure tantamount to the annexation of land taken as a result of the 1967 War. The claim to East Jerusalem is not recognised internationally. Instead, under international law, East Jerusalem is considered to be occupied territory. […]

The BBC should say East Jerusalem is ‘occupied’ if it is relevant to the context of the story. For example: “Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967. It annexed the area in 1980 and sees it as its exclusive domain. Under international law the area is considered to be occupied territory.”” 

And:

“The phrase ‘Occupied Territories’ refers to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and strictly speaking the Golan Heights. However, it is common usage for this phrase to refer to the West Bank as a whole and not the Golan Heights (unless it is in a story specifically on the 1967 War or Syrian/Israeli relations).    

This is our preferred description. It is advisable to avoid trying to find another formula, although the phrase ‘occupied West Bank’ can also be used. It is, however, also advisable not to overuse the phrase within a single report in case it is seen as expressing support for one side’s view.”  

Apparently though, no comparable instructions are available to BBC journalists writing about Cyprus – at least if an article which appeared on the BBC News website on April 26th under the title “Mustafa Akinci wins northern Cyprus presidential election” is anything to go by.

The word ‘occupied’ did not appear in that report at all: readers are merely told that Turkey ‘controls’ the northern part of Cyprus.

“Voters in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus have elected Mustafa Akinci as their new president.”

Audiences are also informed that:

“The island was divided in 1974 by a Turkish invasion staged in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup staged to secure a union with Greece. In 1983 the Turkish-held area declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”

No mention is made of the fact (noted in the BBC’s Cyprus profile) that the only country to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is Turkey and of course there is no reference in the report(or the profile) to “illegal settlements” or “international law” despite the fact that it was Turkish state policy to facilitate and encourage the immigration of Turkish nationals to the island during the latter half of the 1970s.

Can it really be that the BBC has only issued specific guidelines on the ‘correct’ terminology to be used when reporting on one of the world’s many conflicts?  

Confusing BBC reporting on Golan Heights terror incident

Visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page on April 27th found the following curiously punctuated headline:

Golan incident on HP

Those who clicked on the link to the report itself were greeted with no less ambiguous punctuation, which must have left audiences wondering if the BBC was in doubt about the people killed having really been ‘militants’ or whether it wasn’t sure that they were actually dead. Similar qualifying punctuation – intended to communicate to readers that the BBC distances itself from statements made and/or terminology used – was seen in the body of the report and in the caption to its illustrative photograph.Golan incident report

So what were BBC audiences told about the incident which took place at around 21:30 on April 26th?

“An Israeli air strike has killed four militants armed with a bomb along the Israeli-Syrian frontier in the Golan Heights, the Israeli military has said.

A spokesperson said “terrorists” had been planning an imminent attack on Israeli troops, and that the Israeli air force had “neutralised” the threat.

Military sources said the militants were spotted placing explosives on a fence near Majdal Shams on Sunday.

The militants were not identified, and it is not clear if they were Syrians. […]

In Sunday’s incident, Israeli troops observing the demilitarised zone between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Syria noticed four figures reportedly trying to place an explosive device on the fence along the frontier.

An Israeli air force plane was scrambled and fired a missile at the militants, killing them all.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson said on Twitter there was no doubt that they had been “en route to [an] imminent attack on our forces”.”

In addition to the fact that – contrary to the BBC’s claim – the terrorists have apparently been identified by pro-Assad activists and others as Syrians and a Hizballah-linked group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the report crucially fails to clarify to readers that the incident took place in Israeli territory.

“The incident, which occurred at 9:30 p.m. on the northern Golan Heights near Majdal Shams, began when Combat Intelligence Collection units identified four suspects planting the explosives on the eastern side of the border fence, within Israeli territory. […]

“The incident is fairly local, and is under control,” the source said.

He stressed that although the terrorists infiltrated into Israel, they did not cross the 110-km. border fence, which is within Israeli territory.”

With none of the necessary background and context provided, the report states:

“In January, an Iranian Republican Guards general and at least six fighters from the Lebanese Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah were killed in an Israeli air strike in the Syrian Golan Heights.”

Part of this article is devoted to other incidents in the wider region.

“Hours later, missile batteries operated by Hezbollah and the Syrian army in the Qalamoun Mountains, near the border between Syria and Lebanon, were reportedly attacked.

Al-Jazeera attributed the strike to the Israeli military, but Israeli media quoted sources as denying the report.

A source in the Israeli defence establishment told Haaretz that there had been fighting in the area between Syrian government forces and jihadist militants from al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. Israel had no interest in getting involved in the conflict between the two sides, he added.

The IDF spokesperson’s office would neither confirm nor deny the report.

Arab media also reported on Friday night that Israeli jets had attacked Syrian army bases in the Qalamoun Mountains where Hezbollah stored long-range missiles.”

Beyond repeating the unconfirmed claims made in assorted reports from Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, the BBC has no concrete information to provide to its audiences. Notably, no effort is made to clarify to readers that the fighting in the Qalamoun area is a fact rather than just something said by an Israeli “source” and only those who clicked on the link to Ha’aretz (and got past the pay wall) would have come across the following information contradicting the Al Jazeera claims which the BBC chose to amplify.

“Factions in the Syrian opposition said on social media that they have four units stationed in the Qalamoun region, and claimed that they were responsible for the attack on the Syrian missile base. The opposition units fired some 30 Grad rockets at the base, they said.”

Of course many members of the “Arab media” in the region indulge in agenda-based reporting and the Qatari outlet Al Jazeera is a prime example of that phenomenon. Before amplifying unverified claims, the BBC would obviously do well to bear in mind that some of the governments behind various “Arab media” outlets also play a role in supporting assorted factions involved in the Syrian civil war.

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More on the Law of Armed Conflict, Gaza and the BBC

As has been noted here before, less than twenty-four hours after the commencement of Operation Protective Edge in July 2014 the BBC began promoting to its audiences worldwide the notion that Israel was committing ‘war crimes’ in the Gaza Strip. That accusation – along with related ones such as ‘crimes against humanity’, ‘deliberate targeting of civilians’ and ‘collective punishment’ – continued to be a theme found in BBC coverage throughout the fifty-day conflict and since its conclusion, despite the fact that its origins were to be found in statements from politically-motivated NGOs concurrently engaged in ‘lawfare’ against Israel and in amateur speculations from BBC journalists.AI report

Of course much of that material is still available to the general public as ‘permanent public record’ on the BBC News website and no attempt was made – either at the time or since – to provide audiences with impartial professional commentary on the topic of the Law of Armed Conflict which would enable them to reach informed opinions on the topic.

Two experts on the subject of the Law of Armed Conflict recently wrote:

“Broadly speaking, we concluded that IDF positions on targeting law largely track those of the United States military. Moreover, even when they differ, the Israeli approach remains within the ambit of generally acceptable State practice. The IDF is served by a corps of highly competent and well-trained legal advisors who operate with a remarkable degree of autonomy, and its operations are subject to extensive judicial monitoring. While there are certainly Israeli legal positions that may be contentious, we found that their approach to targeting is consistent with the law and, in many cases, worthy of emulation.”

Michael Schmitt and John Merriam have also produced two new papers on the subject:

1) The Tyranny of Context: Israeli Targeting Practices in Legal Perspective

“The article examines the operational context in which Israel conducts targeting. It assesses how that context affects Israel’s approach to targeting, surveys the Israel Defense Force’s targeting process, examines the military attorney system that provides advice to Israeli Commanders on targeting matters and surveys Israeli positions on particular aspects of the law of armed conflict.”

2) Israeli Targeting: A Legal Appraisal

“This article summarizes the results of a research field study examining Israel Defense Force in December 2014. It discusses the unique operational and strategic context in which the IDF operates and discusses Israeli targeting practices. The piece also surveys and assess Israeli positions on the law of armed conflict. It concludes that such practices and positions reflect the environment in which IDF targeting takes place.”

The BBC’s continuing failure to show any interest whatsoever in bringing its audiences such professional perspectives to balance the politically motivated messaging it propagated during the conflict and in the months since its end does nothing to reassure licence fee payers that it is committed to accurate and impartial reporting.

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Law of Armed Conflict, Gaza and the BBC

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BBC’s Sackur touts ‘racist’ Israel in Hardtalk interview with Herzog

The April 21st/ 22nd edition of ‘Hardtalk’ featured an interview with the leader of the Israeli Labour party, Yitzhak (Isaac) Herzog. Readers in the UK can find the programme on BBC iPlayer here and a podcast of the programme is available here.Herzog on Hardtalk

As is not infrequently the case, viewers and listeners heard presenter Stephen Sackur promoting his own ideas about Israel in the form of ‘questions’ and even some belated election campaign advice to Herzog.

10:42: “I tell you what you could have done – and you talk about fear – what maybe you could have done to the Israeli people is say that if we do not negotiate a two state solution with the Palestinians, then there’s only one other realistic alternative: that is we have a bi-national state – a unitary state – which includes all of the Palestinians in the occupied territories as well as Israel proper and the result of that will be in the long run, we Jewish Israelis will be in a minority. So then we either accept that in a democracy or we run an apartheid state. But you never outlined the choice in those terms.”

04:39: “Are you telling me today that you believe Binyamin Netanyahu is in essence a racist?”

06:08: “What does it say about today’s Israel that the argument that you’ve just outlined – that Netanyahu used close to polling day – was so successful? What does that tell us about Israel today?”

21:00: “Before we end, let’s just address a bigger picture thought. Not so long ago the president of Israel, who is no peacenik – he’s a former…he is a Likudnik – Reuven Rivlin, he said Israel right now is a sick society. He was talking about the signs of a new racism and discrimination amongst some elements in Israeli Jewish society. And not so long ago the great writer Amos Oz – he said there is a real danger of Israel becoming an isolated ghetto. When you hear the words of Oz and Rivlin – the worries about where Israel is today – do you share them?”

One particular section of the interview was also promoted by the BBC on social media under the title “Isaac Herzog: Time to amend the nuclear deal with Iran” and with the following synopsis.Herzog on Hardtalk clip

“Isaac Herzog is chairman of the Labour party in Israel. His party has just lost in an election to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

He tells Stephen Sackur that there are no differences between Netanyahu and himself on the crux of the Iranian challenge to Israel.

Now is the time to amend the Iranian nuclear interim deal, Mr Herzog argues.”

In that clip Herzog says:

“On the crux of the challenge of the Iranian nuclear programme there is no difference [between Labour and Likud]. And I made it clear throughout the elections that there is no difference here: there is no coalition and opposition here. This is a matter of huge impact on the world peace, on Europe, on Britain too by the way and of course on the Middle East and the moderate forces in the Middle East and the security of Israel.”

Whilst Herzog’s stance on the P5+1’s framework agreement with Iran will not come as a revelation to those with a realistic understanding of the Israeli political scene, it does shine a spotlight on the framing chosen by the BBC in its presentation of the issue in recent weeks. That choice of framing has led to a failure to clarify to BBC audiences that concerns regarding the Iranian nuclear programme straddle the Israeli political spectrum and are not – as BBC audiences have been led to believe – the exclusive concern of the Israeli prime minister.

“Mr Netanyahu has repeatedly warned a deal with Iran could threaten Israel’s security.” (21/1/15 – link to source)

“Administration officials have been hitting back at Mr Netanyahu’s aggressive opposition to the nuclear deal they’re negotiating with Iran…”  (26/2/15)

“That issue – Iran and the Bomb – is one of the defining themes of Mr Netanyahu’s career …” (26/2/15)

“To his supporters Mr Netanyahu is something of a visionary on the topic, who has devoted much of his career to warning that the revolutionary regime in Tehran is hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.” (2/3/15)

“Mr Netanyahu says the deal would be inadequate to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.” (2/3/15)  [links to sources of all of the above]

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that the framework deal poses a grave danger to the region.” (30/3/15 – link to source)

“When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the most vociferous sceptics, recently addressed the US Congress. he invoked the history of World War One [sic], and actions of wartime leaders which tragically paved the way to the Holocaust.” (30/3/15 – link to source)

“There was anger though from Israel, whose leader Benjamin Netanyahu has been a vocal critic of Iran and told President Obama the deal threatened the survival of Israel.” (3/4/15 – link to source)

“Mr Obama said he recognised the concerns raised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a fierce critic of the deal…” (7/4/15 – link to source)

As readers are well aware, the BBC has consistently failed to provide its audiences with the background information necessary for them to understand why leaders from across the Israeli political scene (among many others) are concerned by the P5+1’s framework agreement with Iran. Herzog went on to say:

“And we presented – I presented – a full-fledged plan on how to deal with the agreement that’s supposed to be agreed upon by the end of June. Right now is the time to amend whatever needs to be amended and correct and upgrade and improve a lot of issues which are open and disturbing.”

Stephen Sackur, however, was too focused on the niche topic of coalition building to take the opportunity presented by Herzog’s words to contribute to the BBC’s public purpose remit by clarifying to audiences worldwide exactly why two Israeli leaders with such different views on so many other issues see the same pitfalls in the framework agreement.   

 

No BBC reporting on weekend terror incidents

Late on the night of April 24th an incident took place at a checkpoint on Highway 1 leading into Jerusalem.

“Ali Said Abu Ranam, 16 years old from East Jerusalem, was shot dead after he attempted to stab a Border Police Officer with a butcher knife at a checkpoint near Ma’ale Adumim on Friday night.”No news

A police officer was wounded in rioting which followed the incident.

On April 25th another incident took place in Hebron.

“A Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli Border Police officer in the West Bank city of Hebron Saturday, inflicting moderate injuries. The alleged attacker, aged 20, was shot and wounded, and died of his injuries on the way to a hospital in Jerusalem.

Police said the officer, 19, was stabbed multiple times in the head, neck and chest at an army checkpoint near Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs. A second soldier shot the attacker.”

Later the same evening three more police officers were injured in another attack.

“Three Israeli police officers were injured Saturday evening when struck by a car on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem in what authorities suspect may have been a deliberate attack.

Magen David Adom paramedics said they treated a 20-year-old woman for moderate injuries, and a man and woman for minor injuries sustained after being struck by the vehicle. The three were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment. […]

Emergency responders were forced to flee the scene after rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at them.”

A suspect was later arrested.

Police are also investigating a suspected fire-bombing of a bus on Route 443 on the evening of April 25th.

None of the above was deemed newsworthy by the BBC.

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BBC reporting on Israeli aid to Nepal earthquake

Some social media commentators have incorrectly claimed that the BBC has failed to report on Israeli aid to Nepal in the wake of the devastating earthquake in that country. 

In a report titled “Nepal earthquake: Death toll passes 1,000” published on the BBC News website on April 25th the BBC included Israel in its list of countries described as having pledged aid.

Nepal quake 1

Similar phrasing appeared under the sub-heading ‘Offers of aid” in an article titled “Nepal earthquake: Rescue effort intensifies” which appeared on April 26th.

Nepal quake 2

However, by the time that second report was published an Israeli reconnaissance team had already set out on the twelve-hour journey to Nepal.

“An Israeli plane carrying an advance search and rescue team and emergency medical supplies took off for Nepal early Sunday morning, as the death toll in the wake of a massive earthquake that shook the region climbed toward 1,400, officials said.

The Israel Defense Forces plane carrying seven search and rescue crew members and supplies took off just after midnight, Israel’s Army Radio reported.”

In addition, a team of Magen David Adom paramedics departed for Nepal on the morning of Sunday, April 26th.  

“Some 15 paramedics flew out this morning, while the organization was examining the possibility of sending out a larger team that could remain in the country for a longer period of time. […]

After the strong quake hit the area, Magen David Adom decided to send a delegation of doctors and paramedics, in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross. The team set out in a special plane equipped with medicine, medical supplies and baby food. They intend to stop at the Chabad House in Kathmandu, where many Israelis –both adults and infants – took refuge.

The team should remain in the country for at least two weeks, but the exact duration of their stay will be determined by the number of wounded individuals.”

Later on Sunday a larger IDF team will also travel to Nepal.

“A delegation numbering 260 medical and rescue crew members will depart on Sunday night (26 April) for Kathmandu. The delegation will focus on establishing a field hospital which will be operational within 12 hours, with the capability of treating 200 wounded a day. It will have two operating rooms, four intensive-care rooms, 80 hospital beds and specialists in neonatal and adult care. The team will include dozens of army physicians in the regular army and the reserves. Col. Dr. Tarif Bader, the army’s deputy chief medical officer, will be in charge of the field hospital.”

In addition to the field hospital, a search and rescue team will work in the affected area.Oketz

“Three large search and rescue teams will divide up into smaller crews and scour ruins to search for survivors. A command and control team will oversee the entire effort, and link up to local authorities. “At the moment, we are set to take off at 22:00 for Kathmandu,” Laredo added. […]

Rescuers are bringing with them cutting equipment, electronic devices to help find trapped victims, generators, lighting equipment, and more. […]

Three IDF Oketz K9 dogs and their handlers will also board one of the planes to Nepal.”

So, whilst the BBC’s description of the pledge of aid from Israel is accurate, it of course does not reflect the fact that practical steps have already been taken to turn that promise into action.

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The man who missed Israel’s Declaration of Independence

Our many readers with a keen interest in Israeli history will no doubt enjoy this recent Independence Day programme from the Voice of Israel.VoI interview Zvielli

“VOI’s Gil Hoffman is joined in-studio by Jerusalem Post archivist Alexander Zvielli, who has been working at the newspaper for 70 years. Zvielli recalls his experience on the night in February 1948, when the building of what was then called the “Palestine Post” was bombed by the British – and other stories from the period during which the state of Israel was born.”

Related Articles:

Letter to a BBC Jerusalem correspondent – from 1948

A long history of complaints of BBC distortion by omission