On May 29th the Israeli Security Agency announced the arrests of members of a Hamas cell from the Bethlehem district in connection with the terror attack on a Jerusalem city bus the previous month in which 19 passengers were injured.
“Members of the cell, who also planned to carry out an additional car bombing and shooting attacks, were arrested in recent weeks in a joint Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), IDF and Israel Police operation. According to the Shin Bet, the cell had accumulated additional explosive materials and weapons for the planned attacks.”
That terror attack was the only one covered by the BBC during the month of April. In addition to the initial report, a follow-up article was published three days later when Hamas announced that the bomber was one of its members. In early May, two reports (written and filmed) by the BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen featured interviews with the mother of the bus bomber.
In his written report Bowen quoted the terrorists’ mother as follows, after having noted that her son’s attack was claimed by Hamas:
“But said she was proud that her son had chosen what she called “the resistance”.
“Not just Abed [Abdul], I think all the people here now prefer the resistance. Because for them peace is a hopeless case.””
However, he went on to tell BBC audiences that:
“… hundreds of conversations with Palestinians over many years here have convinced me that the biggest factor that shapes their attitudes to Israel is not the incitement to hate but the occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, that started after Israel’s victory in the 1967 Middle East war.
When Palestinians who agitate against Israel find an audience, it is because of the way that the occupation, which is inherently violent, has overshadowed and controlled Palestinian lives for almost 50 years.
The issues here do not change much. Two peoples have been fighting for generations about one piece of land. That is still the core of the conflict.”
That messaging is consistent with the BBC’s usual framing of terrorism against Israelis as being ‘explained’ by the outcome of the Six Day War. The implication is of course that if there were no “occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem”, there would be no conflict and no terror.
The flaw in that framing – at least for members of the BBC’s audience hoping to enhance their understanding of the topic – is that the terrorist organisation to which the suspected planners and the perpetrator of the April 18th bus bombing belong does not share Jeremy Bowen’s view that the events of June 1967 are the root of all problems.
Hamas (along with additional terror organisations) makes it amply clear in both words and actions that Israeli disengagement from land taken in a defensive war against Arab countries (which previously occupied the same territory themselves) does bring about an end to terror and conflict because for them – as currently noted in the corporation’s profile of Hamas – the whole of Israel is ‘occupied’.
“Hamas’s charter defines historic Palestine – including present-day Israel – as Islamic land and it rules out any permanent peace with the Jewish state.”
The BBC rarely – if ever – produces any follow-up reporting on the subject of arrests of terrorists’ co-conspirators or the subsequent trials of terrorists arrested during or after the act and audiences are hence deprived of information concerning the motives and affiliations of Palestinian terrorists. But at the same time as it continues to avoid any serious reporting on the topic of the ideology and aims behind Hamas terrorism such as the April 18th bus bombing in Jerusalem, the corporation – and in particular the man charged with providing “analysis that might make a complex story more comprehensive or comprehensible for the audience” – repeatedly and exclusively frames the story in terms of “the occupation”.
That, of course, is political activism rather than journalism.