Partisan report on detained Palestinian ‘children’ from BBC’s Gender and Identity correspondent

On August 28th the BBC News website published a filmed report by the ‘Gender & Identity correspondent’ for the BBC World Service and BBC World, Megha Mohan. Others involved in the production of the eleven-minute video include Yousef Eldin and Ramallah-based Tala Halawa of BBC Monitoring.

The report is titled “Palestinian conflict: Diaries of childhood in Israeli military detention”. The word ‘childhood’ is defined as the period of time between infancy and puberty. The people showcased in this film would be better described as adolescents and of course none of them spent their entire “childhood in Israeli military detention”. That sort of manipulation however is evident throughout the entire report.

The report’s synopsis promotes an unsubstantiated claim from unidentified “critics”. The likewise unidentified “human rights group” is HaMoked: a political NGO with a very limited definition of human rights which campaigns solely on behalf of Palestinians.

“Last month Israel’s Supreme Court refused to hear a petition by a human rights group demanding that Palestinian children detained in Israeli jails be allowed to telephone their parents.

The case cast a spotlight on children tried in military courts for crimes committed in the occupied West Bank. Israel is believed to be the only country that tries children that way. Critics have said the ill-treatment of detainees is widespread.”

The first of the “children” showcased by Mohan is Ahed Tamimi, whose case was vigorously promoted by the BBC last year. Showing footage from December 2017, Mohan tells viewers:

“It was this slap that made global headlines. Then sixteen-year-old Ahed Tamimi spent eight months in prison after it.”

Ahed Tamimi of course spent that time in prison after she pleaded guilty to one count of assault, one count of incitement, and two counts of obstructing soldiers. BBC audiences were however once again led to believe that she was convicted for a “slap” and even though towards the end of the film (10:12) viewers were told that “the Israeli military told the BBC that Ahed Tamimi accepted a plea deal for a number of charges”, they were not told what those charges were and no information concerning the context of the grooming of Ahed Tamimi by her family of professional activists was provided.

Later on viewers heard that Tamimi “alleges that she was mistreated on several occasions following her arrest” and later still Tamimi told BBC audiences of ‘difficulties’ concerning sanitary pads. When interviewed by a Russian TV journalist a year ago, Tamimi told a different story.

“I did a lot of things: a legal course, we spent a lot of time on that, and matriculation exam studies; I read books; we would sing; we even had joint breakfasts of the entire wing – we would go outside, every room would bring its things, and we would eat together. We also ate lunch together most of the time. We also had parties; we would sit and sing, and dance. There were a lot of things that we did to pass the time: We watched TV, for example we jumped around in the rooms and did silly things; we did a lot of things.” 

Another of the cases highlighted by Mohan is presented as follows:

“Malah is now 16 years old. At 14 she was arrested at a checkpoint for an alleged knife attack on Israeli soldiers.”

The teenager is described as having spent “8 months in detention” and viewers hear her account of how she refused to sign a document allegedly written in Hebrew before she says:

“…and I said no, I haven’t done anything.”

Apparently the BBC thinks it legitimate to describe travelling to a checkpoint with a knife and failing to stop when told to do so by police officers as “haven’t done anything”.

Neither in this nor any of the other showcased stories does the BBC offer viewers any information concerning the incitement and glorification of terrorism in Palestinian society which prompts teenagers to try to carry out terror attacks against Israelis.

Mohan does however tell viewers that:

“Israel is the only country in the world where children are prosecuted through a dedicated juvenile military court system. Israeli military law is applied to Palestinian children in the West Bank because it is under military occupation. Every year more than five hundred Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested by Israeli forces. Israel argues that the children it detains are threats to national security.”

As was noted here last July when similar claims were made on BBC World News TV:

“Of course if Palestinians accused of security offences were tried in Israeli civil courts, the BBC would be the first to be jumping up and down shouting ‘annexation!’ because that would mean that Israeli sovereignty had been extended to Judea & Samaria.”

Viewers hear Mohan claim that “it can take the family up to six hours to cross checkpoints” in order to visit their imprisoned son. The Beit Fajjar resident interviewed by Mohan states:

“The checkpoint. The issue is with the checkpoint. Searching, come forward, go backward, go there. And the machine beeps because of anything. It’s a mess. It’s exhausting, torture. As if we’re also detained.”

Viewers are at no point provided with an explanation of why checkpoints are needed and neither are they informed that until the Palestinians decided to conduct a terror war against Israel’s civilian population – the ‘intifada’ – those checkpoints did not exist.

One of the main interviewees in the report is Sahar Francis of ‘Addameer’ who is presented as follows:

Mohan: “Conversations involving Palestinian territories and Israel are polarising and emotive. Child detention especially so. But Saher [sic] Francis, a lawyer for Addameer – an organisation that advocates for Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank – says the issue is not just moral but legal.”

Viewers are told nothing of Addameer’s political agenda – or of its ties to a terror organisation proscribed by the US and the EU. They do however get a generous dose of Francis’ falsehoods and propaganda.

Francis: “…arresting children is part of the whole system. When you raid a house after midnight in order to arrest a 14-year-old boy it’s not just against the boy himself. It’s against the whole family. Imagine the father and the mother that they cannot protect their son and they see their son is dragged out of his bed at night. I wouldn’t believe it’s about security; it’s about control. It’s about control and maintaining the oppression against the whole society. Especially children. It’s affecting a whole generation at the end of the day.”

Mohan goes on to assert that:

Mohan: “The most controversial form of incarceration is known as Administrative Detention. It allows the Israeli military to hold people without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence that is not shown to the detainee or their lawyer. The military says administrative detainees pose a threat to the national security and their cases are therefore classified.”

That of course is not an accurate or impartial portrayal of Administrative Detention (also used in other countries including the UK), which is only used in specific circumstances.

The report includes an interview with former IDF chief military prosecutor Maurice Hirsch who explains that:

“The military system is specifically for the Palestinians because that is the requirement of international law. Article 66 of the Fourth Geneva Convention said given a breach of the criminal law, protected people – the Palestinians – can only be brought to justice before the military court.”

Hirsch also clarifies that the earlier claims that teenagers had been asked to sign confessions written in Hebrew is not true. As we see, that did not prevent the editors of this film from airing those allegations anyway.

Mohan then moves to another topic.

Mohan: “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legally binding international agreement that states that children should only be arrested as a last resort. Israel is a signatory. The law says children should not be held in shackles, have prompt access to a lawyer and translations and be treated with respect.”

The relevant articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (37 and 40) do not mention the word “shackles” at all. Mohan of course does not bother to inform viewers that the Palestinian Authority also became a signatory to that Convention in April 2014 and that Article 38 states:

“States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities.”

Regular readers may recall that last December the BBC’s ECU acknowledged that there is a “question” regarding “the extent to which this [the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child] can be described as “international law”” and the BBC claimed that it had “reminded” its journalists that “the reach of international law is not always as it is claimed and should be checked for accuracy”. Apparently Megha Mohan and her team did not receive that memo because she closes her report as follows:

Mohan: “Israel currently denies Palestinian children detained in the West Bank protections granted to Israeli children. Yet agreed international law states the same legal rights should apply to every person going through the judicial process. Especially those under the age of 18.”

As Maurice Hirsch had already explained, “Palestinian children” and “Israeli children” are not subject to the same “judicial process” because:

“Article 66 of the 4th Geneva Convention refers to the role of military courts in areas under military control. The article states that members of protected populations accused of crimes may only be brought before courts whose members have military status (and are subordinate to the military authorities).”

Nevertheless, Mohan’s claim is not justified, as explained here.

It is of course amply obvious that this highly partisan report falls into the category of journalistic activism and does not meet either supposed BBC standards of accuracy or impartiality or the corporation’s public purpose remit.

Related Articles:

Reviewing a BBC slap to the face of impartial journalism

BBC’s ECU acknowledges ‘international law’ inaccuracy






7 comments on “Partisan report on detained Palestinian ‘children’ from BBC’s Gender and Identity correspondent

  1. Pingback: Partisan report on detained Palestinian ‘children’ from BBC’s Gender and Identity correspondent — BBC Watch – NZ Conservative Coalition

    by Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez
    (published in a Spanish newspaper 2008 January 15)

    I walked down the street in Barcelona,
    and suddenly discovered a terrible truth:

    Europe died in Auschwitz.

    We killed six million Jews and
    replaced them with 20 million Muslims.

    In Auschwitz we burned a culture of thought, creativity and talent.
    We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they
    produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

    The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life:
    science, art, international trade,
    and above all, as the conscience of the world.
    These are the people we burned.

    And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

    They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into
    the Third World, drowning in filth and crime.

    Shut up in the apartments they receive free goods and services from the government.
    They plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

    And thus, in our misery, we exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.

    We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

    What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.

    ***** END OF ARTICLE *****

  3. Winston Churchill said:

    “Some people like Jews and some do not,
    but no thoughtful man can doubt the fact
    that they are beyond all question the most
    formidable and the most remarkable race
    which has ever appeared in the world.”

    SOURCE 1:
    Winston Churchill, 1920 February 8,
    in the Illustrated Sunday Herald,
    a British Sunday newspaper

    SOURCE 2: Churchill and the Jews
    (chapter 4, page 38) by Martin Gilbert, 2007 CE

    SOURCE 3:
    Churchill: Walking With Destiny
    (chapter 12, page 278) by Andrew Roberts,
    Viking Publishers, year 2018,
    ISBN 1101980990 & ISBN 9781101980996

    Winston Churchill was British Prime Minister
    from 1940 to 1945 CE and from 1951 to 1955 CE.

    [Winston] Churchill wrote, on 3 June 1950 CE:

    “The thought, the inspiration and the culture
    of the Jews has been one of the vital dominants
    in the world history.

    There are none of the arts or sciences which
    have not been enriched by Jewish achievements.”

    SOURCE: Churchill and the Jews
    (chapter 26, pages 280 to 281) by Martin Gilbert,
    ISBN-10: 0805088644 * ISBN-13: 978-0805088649

    Sir Winston Churchill was British Prime Minister
    from 1940 to 1945 CE and from 1951 to 1955 CE.

    [Winston] Churchill spoke [in year 1954 CE]
    of the Jewish Nobel Prizewinners, whose contribution
    to humanity in many fields had been “unique and absolute.”

    There were nations of hundreds of millions
    of people who had been unable to produce
    a single Nobel Prizewinner, “and are the beneficiaries
    every day from the genius and discoveries of the Jews.”

    SOURCE: Churchill and the Jews
    (chapter 26, page 290) by Martin Gilbert, year 2007 CE

    Sir Winston Churchill was British Prime Minister
    from 1940 to 1945 CE and from 1951 to 1955 CE.

    Sir Winston Churchill said [in year 1955 CE]:

    “You ought to let the Jews have Jerusalem;
    it is they who made it famous.”

    SOURCE: Churchill and the Jews
    (chapter 26, page 292) by Martin Gilbert, year 2007 CE
    ISBN-10: 0805088644 * ISBN-13: 978-0805088649

    Sir Winston Churchill was British Prime Minister
    from 1940 to 1945 CE and from 1951 to 1955 CE.

  4. Sir Winston Churchill described “militant Mahommedanism”
    as “the religion of blood and war”.

    SOURCE: Churchill: Walking With Destiny
    (chapter 2, page 53) by Andrew Roberts, Viking Publishers,
    year 2018, ISBN 1101980990 * ISBN 9781101980996

    The phrase: “Islam in a man is like rabies in a dog”
    is often attributed to Sir Winston Churchill.

    However his exact words were:

    “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!

    Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man
    as hydrophobia* in a dog
    , there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.”

    * VOCABULARY NOTE: The American Heritage® Science
    says that hydrophobia* is another name for rabies.

    SOURCE 1: The River War: An Historical
    Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan
    by Winston Churchill in year 1899 CE,
    published by Longmans in two volumes.

    This quote was removed from the condensed 1902 edition, for fear of antagonizing millions of Muslims that the British Empire ruled at that time.

    SOURCE 2: Churchill: Walking With Destiny
    (chapter 3, page 62) by Andrew Roberts, Viking Publishers,
    year 2018, ISBN 1101980990 * ISBN 9781101980996.

    In March 1921, when Sir Winston Churchill visited Gaza,
    the local Arabs greeted him with frenzied cries of:

    “Down with the Jews! Cut their throats!”

    SOURCE: Churchill: Walking With Destiny
    (chapter 12, page 283) by Andrew Roberts, Viking Publishers,
    year 2018, ISBN 1101980990 * ISBN 9781101980996

    In March 1921, Sir Winston Churchill
    said to the Arabs of Haifa:

    “It is manifestly right that the scattered Jews
    should have a national centre and a national home
    in which they might be reunited, and where else
    but in Palestine, with which the Jews for 3,000 years
    have been intimately and profoundly associated?”

    SOURCE: Churchill: Walking With Destiny
    (chapter 12, page 283) by Andrew Roberts, Viking Publishers,
    year 2018, ISBN 1101980990 * ISBN 9781101980996

    “…the persecution of the Jews in Germany began
    in earnest with a Government-orchestrated national
    boycott of all Jewish businesses and professions,
    enforced by Brownshirt thugs on the streets who
    sadistically assaulted and humiliated Jews at every opportunity.

    Churchill’s philo-Semitism, so rare on Tory benches,
    was invaluable in allowing him to see sooner than
    anyone else the true nature of the Nazi regime.”

    SOURCE: Churchill: Walking With Destiny
    (chapter 15, page 367) by Andrew Roberts, Viking Publishers,
    year 2018, ISBN 1101980990 * ISBN 9781101980996

    “Churchill had eloquently denounced the notorious
    [year] 1939 White Paper that had severely restricted
    Jewish immigration into Palestine.”

    SOURCE: Churchill: Walking With Destiny
    (chapter 23, page 601) by Andrew Roberts, Viking Publishers,
    year 2018, ISBN 1101980990 * ISBN 9781101980996

    On 1944 July 11, Sir Winston Churchill wrote
    this to [Anthony] Eden about the Nazi death camps:

    “There is no doubt that this is probably the
    greatest and most horrible crime ever committed
    in the whole history of the world…”

    SOURCE: Churchill: Walking With Destiny
    (chapter 30, page 829) by Andrew Roberts, Viking Publishers,
    year 2018, ISBN 1101980990 * ISBN 9781101980996

  5. Pingback: BBC World Service radio’s OS promotes narrative over fact | BBC Watch

  6. Pingback: Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – August 2019 | BBC Watch

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