Towards the end of the BBC News website’s recent report on the topic of a new Israeli law – discussed here – readers were told that:
“On Tuesday, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was killed during a clash in the occupied West Bank town of al-Ram, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Muhey al-Tabakhi died as a result of a wound inflicted by a projectile that struck his chest and caused heart failure, according to a ministry spokesman.
An Israeli police spokeswoman said border police officers had fired tear gas and stun grenades after a petrol bomb was thrown at them.”
Although the article does not specifically tell them so, most readers would obviously understand those three paragraphs to mean that Israel was responsible for the boy’s death. But is that established fact?
The Times of Israel reports:
“The Israel Police said, however, that the violence broke out when Border Police officers who were returning the body of a Palestinian terrorist were “pelted with Molotov cocktails.”
The troops responded with tear gas and stun grenades, and did not use live fire, police said.”
The BBC’s Israeli newspaper of choice, Ha’aretz, reported that:
“Palestinian reports said that the boy was shot in the chest on Tuesday afternoon in clashes that erupted in Al-Ram. He was then transferred for treatment to a nearby hospital in Ramallah but died of his wounds hours later.
However, residents of the village contradicted the Palestinian Health Ministry statement. They said that the boy’s death should be investigated since direct evidence of the circumstances that lead to the incident was not immediately available. They claimed that the medical teams that arrived to treat the boy at the scene were not sure what was had happened there.”
So as we see, the circumstances are far from clear but nevertheless, the BBC allowed its readers go away with an impression of the incident that happens to dovetail with the messaging put out by the PA Health Ministry.