In early May of this year the BBC’s Middle East editor produced a report for the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Today’ which included an interview with Dima al Wawi who had been released from custody several days earlier.
“You can hear how young Dima al Wawi is in her voice. She’s a 12 year-old Palestinian schoolgirl sitting with her parents in the kitchen, engrossed in Facebook. But instead of checking out her friends, she’s looking at video of her arrest. Dima has only recently been released from an Israeli jail. She served 75 days of a four-month sentence for planning to stab an Israeli at a Jewish settlement. She was arrested near her home in Halhoul on the West Bank. Dima didn’t get close to any Israelis as security guards stopped her.”
Apparently Bowen does not count the security guard himself as Israeli. Listeners then hear a voice-over of al Wawi speaking:
“The settlers saw me and stopped me. They made me lie on the ground, tied my wrists with plastic handcuffs and they stepped on my back.”
Bowen goes on:
“She pleaded guilty but now she says she was innocent and bullied into confessing. Twice her parents said she was questioned without a lawyer present.”
Voice-over: “I [unintelligible] we’re young kids. It’s sad that they do this to us. We’re oppressed. What I know is that I’m from Palestine. I don’t know about politics.”
Had the BBC covered the story at the time, Bowen would perhaps know about the knife found in al Wawi’s possession.”
As has been the case in much of his additional reporting on the wave of terror attacks which began in the autumn of 2015, Bowen steered listeners to that report towards the view that Palestinian violence is caused by “the occupation” while amplifying unchallenged falsehoods from additional interviewees and ostensibly ticking the ‘impartiality’ box with the following one-liner:
“The Israeli government says that’s untrue. That Palestinians attack Israelis because they’ve been taught to hate them from childhood.”
A report recently broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10 included a short interview with Dima al Wawi (which can be seen in this clip) provides insight into her hatred of Israelis and Jews, highlighting a factor Bowen and his colleagues have chosen to serially ignore in their coverage of Palestinian child attackers.
Below is a translation of al Wawi’s statements.
“I arrived at the prison, on the first day I was put in a dungeon. It was a civilian facility, it was underground. There had been Jews there so it was full of dirt. On the floor, under the bed, there were rotting Clementines. There was disgusting and stinking food there because of all those Jews, Israel. I don’t like even to bring its [Israel] name to my lips. [Interviewer: Why?] Because it’s disgusting, leper, leper, leper. I don’t like it. They [the Jews] are impure.”
The issue of incitement and hatred as catalysts for violence have not been seriously addressed by the BBC in all of its extensive coverage of Palestinian violence during the past 14 months or so. Until the corporation’s journalists – and in particular the man charged with providing “analysis that might make a complex story more comprehensive or comprehensible for the audience” – begin to provide its funding public with information concerning those factors rather than focusing their attentions on the amplification of PLO talking points, the BBC cannot be said to be fulfilling its remit of enhancing audience understanding of this particular international issue.