On the evening of February 24th the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an article now titled “Israeli soldier shot dead by ‘friendly fire’ in West Bank attack” which relates to an incident which took place over six hours beforehand in Gush Etzion. As has been the case in several recent headlines to articles about terror attacks by Palestinians, the title chosen fails to clarify to readers who perpetrated that “West Bank attack”.
“An Israeli military reserve officer has been shot dead, apparently by a fellow soldier, during an attack by a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank.
The military said the soldier opened fire as the Palestinian man attempted to stab Capt Eliav Gelman at Gush Etzion Junction.
An initial investigation suggested Capt Gelman was fatally wounded as a result of the fire, it added.” [emphasis added]
Whilst Eliav Gelman is named in the article, as is usually the rule in BBC reporting on Israeli victims of terror, no further personalising details are provided.
The report subsequently promotes a false notion of equivalence by describing the wave of terror attacks against Israelis which began last October as “violence between Israelis and Palestinians”.
“Gush Etzion, a bloc of Jewish settlements located between Jerusalem and Hebron, has been one of the focal points of a five-month surge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Additional sections of the article include the now template – but superfluous – qualification of the circumstances in which the majority of attackers have been killed.
“At least 27 Israelis have been killed in a wave of stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since October.
More than 160 Palestinians – mostly attackers, Israel says – have also been killed in that period.” [emphasis added]
Notably, just six days previously the BBC had told its audiences that:
“Since October, 30 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.”
This is not the first time that we have seen inconsistent BBC reporting of Israeli fatalities. As was noted here on February 16th when the BBC reported that “26 Israelis have been killed since October 2015”:
It is difficult to understand why the corporation’s journalists find it so difficult to report this subject accurately and consistently, especially given that the information is easily located.
Several hours after its initial publication the article was amended to include the 163 word-long promotion of a report (including a link) produced by what it portrays as “two Israeli human rights groups”.
“Also on Wednesday, two Israeli human rights groups released a report in which they said dozens of Palestinian detainees being held at an Israeli detention facility had been subjected to mistreatment, and in some cases torture.
The groups, B’Tselem and HaMoked, presented accounts from 116 detainees about conditions at the Shikma interrogation facility, run by the Israeli Shin Bet internal security agency.”
As usual – and despite the relevant clauses in the editorial guidelines on impartiality – no effort is made to inform readers of the political agendas of the foreign-funded NGOs B’tselem and Hamoked which produced the report that the BBC has elected to amplify.