Among the headlines appearing on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on July 12th and 13th was one reading “Palestinian hunger striker freed”. That link led to an article similarly headlined “Israel frees Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan“.
Uninformed readers may of course by now have concluded that the most important thing they need to know about Adnan is that he was a “hunger striker” but of course that is only a sideline to the story.
In the body of the article Adnan is described as follows:
“Khader Adnan, 37, an Islamic Jihad activist, had been held for more than a year without charge under the Israeli “administrative detention” policy.” [emphasis added]
Readers are not informed anywhere in this report that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is an Iranian funded terrorist organization which is designated by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. Neither are they told that the PIJ is dedicated to the violent destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state in its place – despite the fact that the BBC has been aware of that agenda at least since 2001 and documented PIJ terrorism during the second Intifada.
Likewise, no information is provided to inform BBC audiences what the description “activist” actually means. Does Khader Adnan organize coffee mornings or petitions on behalf of the PIJ? Does he paint placards, fold flyers or write letters to the editor? Here is just one example of Khader Adnan’s ‘activism’:
All that, is of course very relevant context which, had it not been omitted, would have aided BBC audiences’ understanding of why Khader Adnan has – as the article states – “been arrested a number of times by Israel”.
The article also tells readers that:
“The hunger strike had left him [Adnan] in critical condition. He ended it on 28 June following a deal with Israel securing his release.
Gaza-based Islamic Jihad had threatened violence if he died.”
Readers are not told that the intended targets of that vague sounding “violence” were – as reported by the NYT – Israeli civilians.
“It [PIJ] threatened to fire rockets at Israel from Gaza, in violation of a truce that ended the war last summer, if Mr. Adnan was not released.”
However, as was the case in the BBC’s previous article on the same topic from June 29th, readers were informed that:
“Under “administrative detention” Israel can hold suspects indefinitely for renewable six-month periods. The controversial measure has been criticised by human rights groups.”
Those “human rights groups” are not identified and their possible political agenda is not revealed, meaning that the BBC deprives readers of the ability to judge for themselves whether or not the description of administrative detention as “controversial” is indeed warranted. Apparently the intention is for audiences to take that description of a procedure used by other Western countries (including the UK) at face value.
Another notable aspect of this article is that it links to a previous BBC report from June 30th 2014 concerning the discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered by members of a Hamas cell in Hebron. Readers following that link are informed that:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas was responsible, a claim the Palestinian militant group has denied. […]
Israel’s Shin Bet security service earlier said the main suspects in the case were two men named Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh and that they were “Hamas operatives”.”
At the time that article was written Hamas had not yet admitted its role in that terror attack but that information has long been available and hence there is no reason nearly a year later for the BBC to link to an outdated and inaccurate article which has not been amended to clarify the facts.