A story ignored by the BBC for thirty-four months

Last week five Palestinians were sentenced to 15 years in prison for their part in a terror attack nearly three years ago.

The fact that there was no BBC coverage of that story is not very surprising when one considers that the corporation also refrained from covering the incident when it took place on Highway 5 in March 2013, despite the fact that the rock-throwing attack resulted in serious brain injury to a three year-old Israeli child.Adele Bitton

Nearly a year ago, when that little girl died due to complications resulting from her injuries, the BBC still did not tell its audiences about Adele Bitton and her family.

And so, an entire story of a fatal terror attack on an Israeli mother and her children remains unknown to audiences of the media organization which, despite claiming to enhance “awareness and understanding of international issues”, systematically under-reports Palestinian acts of terror and particularly those perpetrated by rock-throwers. 


A part of the Israeli story consistently ignored by the BBC

Nearly two years ago we wrote about a terror attack which took place on Route 5 but – like so many others – was not reported by the BBC.Adele Bitton

Adele Bitton, who was three years old at the time, was badly injured when Palestinian stone-throwers (later arrested and currently standing trial) attacked passing vehicles. She suffered serious neurological damage and spent the next eighteen months in hospital and rehabilitation. Earlier this week Adele, who never fully recovered from her injuries, was hospitalized again after having contracted pneumonia and yesterday afternoon she died.

In the year in which Adele was injured (2013) an additional 115 people suffered injuries as a result of stone-throwing attacks on civilian vehicles but BBC audiences remain unaware of the scale of everyday terrorism in Israel because the vast majority of non-fatal terror attacks are simply not reported.

That policy does not only mean that the BBC fails to meet its commitment to enhance its funding public’s “awareness and understanding of international issues“: it also means that BBC reporters are able to misleadingly frame the incidents it does chose to report as “sporadic” or “rare“.

Whilst the BBC is not expected to report every single instance of rock or fire-bomb throwing in real-time like the local media, it is obvious that untold stories such as that of Adele Bitton and her family are no less important than the fatal attacks which do get headlines in helping audiences to understand Israel’s policies, counter-terrorism measures and the concerns of the Israeli people. Any media organization genuinely committed to fully informing its audiences would make efforts to periodically report that essential context. 



One hundred and sixteen stories the BBC chose not to tell

Last March we noted here that the BBC had completely ignored an incident which took place on the major highway Route 5, near Ariel, in which a mother and her three small daughters were involved in an accident caused by Palestinian rock throwers who attacked the vehicle travelling in front of them. 

The youngest little girl, Adele – who was only three years old at the time – was very seriously injured and is still unconscious eleven months after the attack. Recently her mother – Adva Bitton – gave evidence at the trial of those arrested for throwing the rocks which caused the accident.

“Since the attack, “our life is no life,” Bitton said. “Adele is still unconscious, it hurts me to see her confined to a wheelchair, not engaging with the world.”

“She doesn’t laugh, doesn’t eat, doesn’t do anything on her own,” she added.”

She added:

“I am not home anymore, I am not available for my three kids,” she said. “I’m supposed to be a mother but I live in Levenstein Hospital. My husband has not really been home in over 10 months. He doesn’t sleep at home at all. It’s like you have no family.”

“To see a child connected to a million pipes is very difficult. Her life has been destroyed because of rock throwing. It is difficult for me to cope with the fact that my daughter will be handicapped in every way because of such an act. It’s a daily trauma when you see your child gasping with her head hanging down and you can’t do anything.”

The IDF Spokesperson notes that:

“In 2013, Palestinians directed more than 2,400 rock throwing incidents at Israelis. Of these, 30 percent were directed at civilian vehicles. 116 civilians were injured due to these incidents.”

BBC audiences of course know nothing at all about little Adele Bitton or any of the one hundred and fifteen other people injured in the hundreds of rock-throwing attacks at Israeli motorists last year alone. They also know very little at all about the scale of daily terrorism directed at Israelis by means other than rock-throwing because BBC reporting is confined almost exclusively to incidents which result in fatalities. But as Adva Bitton’s testimony reminds us, the effects of non-fatal terror attacks can be devastating to victims and their families too.

This is clearly information which is crucial to the BBC’s mission to form “a global understanding of international issues” and to enable audiences to “participate in the global debate on significant international issues” such as the Middle East peace process and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in general. But it is information which is being consistently withheld from the people to whom the BBC is supposedly accountable.

Related Articles:

BBC claims attacks on Israelis in Judea & Samaria are “rare”

Toddler injured by stone-throwers in Jerusalem not news for the BBC

BBC continues to ignore non-fatal terror attacks

BBC manages to report on three terror attacks without mentioning the word terror

Review of the BBC’s reporting of security incidents in Judea & Samaria in January