Northern Islamic Movement still not getting BBC coverage

During the last two weeks of July the BBC News website published seventeen reports concerning the July 14th terror attack at Lions Gate and the events which followed that incident.

Reviewing BBC ‘historical record’ of the July 2017 Temple Mount story – part one

Reviewing BBC ‘historical record’ of the July 2017 Temple Mount story – part two

Some of those reports were produced by, or included analysis from, two of the BBC’s locally based staff; Yolande Knell and Tom Bateman. Since July 28th, however, neither of those correspondents nor any other has produced any follow-up reporting relating to the events it covered so broadly at the time.

BBC audiences therefore remain unaware of the fact that an accomplice of the three terrorists from Umm al Fahm who carried out the attack that sparked two weeks of increased violence has been charged on counts including accessory to murder.

“Amjad Jabarin was arrested on July 23, nine days after the attack. On Thursday, he was formally charged in a Haifa District Court as an accessory to murder.

According to the indictment, Jabarin trained with the terrorists ahead of the attack, joining them when they went to practice shooting their improvised “Carlo” submachine guns.

The night before the attack, he also drove the three to a soccer field in Umm al-Fahm, which served as a pickup point for a shuttle to the Temple Mount, knowing that they were armed and planning to carry out the shooting, according to the charges against him.”

The BBC’s extensive July coverage did not include reporting on the funerals of the three terrorists in Umm al Fahm or the related incitement and glorification of terrorism on the part of the banned northern Islamic Movement. Given that the BBC has generally avoided the topic of the northern Islamic Movement’s connection to unrest surrounding Temple Mount in the past, those omissions were not particularly surprising. They are nevertheless relevant in light of the fact that the ISA’s investigation showed links between the terrorists and the northern Islamic Movement.

“The Shin Bet said the men came together to plan their attack at the mosque in Umm al-Fahm’s al-Malsaa’ neighborhood.

“The findings of the investigation pointed to a clear link between the al-Malsaa’ mosque and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, which was declared an illegal organization in November 2015 and is now considered a terrorist organization,” the agency said.

The Shin Bet noted that one of the gunmen was responsible for maintenance at the mosque and served as its muezzin, the person who performs the call to prayer.

“In addition, connections were found between the assailants and the Islamic Movement, including support for the ideas put out by the movement and through their involvement in organizations that have clear links to the Islamic Movement,” the Shin Bet said.

As an example, the agency noted that the terrorist who served as the al-Malsa’a mosque’s muezzin was once active in the Mourabitoun, a group that often clashed with Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount and was declared illegal in September 2015 over its ties to the Islamic Movement and Hamas.”

Additionally, the BBC has not informed its audience of the public glorification of the terrorist who murdered three members of a family in Halamish on July 21st and severely wounded another. As well as being lauded by PLO and Palestinian Authority officials and in official PA media, the terrorist’s acts were justified by the spokesman for PA’s security forces, who has previously been quoted in BBC content.

Related Articles:

BBC News ignores Northern Islamic Movement ban – in English

The part of the Temple Mount story the BBC refuses to tell

Another Temple Mount related story ignored by the BBC 

 

 

 

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BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – July 2017

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during July 2017 shows that throughout the month a total of 222 incidents took place: 129 in Judea & Samaria, eighty-seven in Jerusalem, four inside the ‘green line’ and two originating from the Gaza Strip.

In Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem the agency recorded 184 attacks with petrol bombs, 21 attacks using explosive devices, one stabbing attack, six shooting attacks, two vehicular attacks and two arson attacks. Within the ‘green line’ one stabbing attack (in Petah Tikva), one petrol bomb attack and two arson attacks took place. Also recorded were two missile attacks from the Gaza Strip.  

Five people were murdered (3 civilians and 2 members of the security forces) and seven were wounded (2 civilians and five members of the security forces) in attacks during July.

The BBC News website covered the July 14th terror attack (without calling it terror) at Lions’ Gate/Temple Mount in which two policemen were murdered and one wounded. The attack in Halamish in which three members of the Salomon family were murders and one wounded was also reported – again without the BBC describing it as terrorism in its own words. An attempted stabbing at Gush Etzion junction on July 28th was briefly reported.

Among the attacks that did not receive any BBC coverage were a vehicular attack near Tekoa on July 10th in which a soldier was wounded, a petrol bomb attack in Jerusalem on July 14th, a drive-by shooting near Ateret on July 15th, a vehicular attack near Hebron on July 18th, an attempted stabbing in Gush Etzion on July 20th and a stabbing attack in Petah Tikva on July 24th in which a civilian was wounded.

The missile attacks from the Gaza Strip on July 23rd and 24th also did not receive any BBC coverage.

In all, the BBC News website reported three of the 222 attacks which took place in July. Between January and July 2017 inclusive, the BBC News website reported 0.78% of the total terror attacks that took place and 92% of the resulting fatalities.

Related Articles:

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – June 2017

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – May 2017

BBC coverage of the Jerusalem terror attack – part one: BBC News website

BBC coverage of the Jerusalem terror attack – part two: BBC radio

Reviewing BBC ‘historical record’ of the July 2017 Temple Mount story – part one

Reviewing BBC ‘historical record’ of the July 2017 Temple Mount story – part two

BBC refrains from using the word terror in report on murdered family

BBC ignores two more missile attacks from Gaza

 

 

BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ promotes equivalence between violent rioters and victims of terror

Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today‘ programme last week heard two reports on consecutive days relating to the Palestinian rioting ostensibly in reaction to security measures installed at Temple Mount after two Israeli policemen were murdered in a terror attack on July 14th. Both of those items were notable for their promotion of moral equivalence between the murders of victims of terrorism and the deaths of rioters killed while engaged in violence.

In the July 25th edition of ‘Today’, presenter Nick Robinson introduced the item (from 01:16:07 here) as follows: [emphasis added]

Robinson: “Will the decision by the Israeli security cabinet to remove metal detectors at one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites lessen the tension which has led to the deaths of three Israelis and four Palestinians in recent days, as well as an attack on Israel’s embassy in Jordan?”

The three Israelis mentioned by Robinson are the members of the Salomon family murdered by a terrorist who infiltrated their family home on July 21st as they finished dinner. The four Palestinians were all engaged in violent rioting (that was praised by the Palestinian president’s party Fatah) at the time of their deaths. Radio 4’s presenter however made no effort to inform listeners of the vastly different circumstances behind those deaths or to clarify that the Israelis were victims of terrorism.

Robinson likewise failed to clarify that the two Israeli policemen he went on to mention were also victims of terror, or who carried out that attack.

Robinson: “The detectors were installed at entry points to the al Asqa [sic] mosque – the third holiest site in Islam – after two Israeli policemen were shot dead in the area of the Temple Mount.”

Listeners were not informed of the all-important fact that the terrorists used weapons smuggled into the al Aqsa mosque.

Robinson: “The UN’s Middle East envoy has been warning of catastrophic costs well beyond the walls of the Old City. This is the reaction of Manuel Hassassassian [sic], the head of the Palestinian mission to the UK.”

Listeners then heard completely unchallenged statements from Manuel Hassassian.

Hassassian: “I think for the moment, removing the metal detectors is a stepping stone in the right direction of calming down the situation. But Israel is insisting on putting cameras and smart technology to control and to supervise the area of the Haram Sharif that alone heavily guarded by manpower and that in itself is also instigative to the Palestinian faithful worshippers who will go and pray in the Haram Sharif. But I must say that, you know, the removal, in general, of the metal detectors will pacify the situation and we hope – we hope – that Israel won’t resort to such measures in the future because the question of religion is something very, very, very sensitive that could create tension and escalation as we have seen the last week.”

Although he opted out of asking the PA’s representative any questions at all (for example, regarding incitement to violence by the PA and its dominant party Fatah), Robinson did find it appropriate to ask the item’s second interviewee – Efraim Halevy, who is not a representative of the Israeli government – questions relating to Israeli policy.

Robinson: “…is it time that your prime minister, your government, changed its approach?”

The next day – July 26th – ‘Today’ listeners heard another item on the same topic which was introduced (from 02:49:29 here) by Nick Robinson thus:

Robinson: “The area of East Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Haram al Sharif remains very tense after days of protests by Palestinians over new security measures. Israel has now removed controversial metal detectors, saying they’ll be replaced with alternatives. But the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says he’ll maintain a freeze on security cooperation with Israel. Our Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman now reports from Jerusalem.”

Failing to clarify that the July 14th attack at Lions Gate was an act of terror, Bateman began:

Bateman: “Gunshots rang out from one of the most revered sites on earth nearly a fortnight ago. Two Israeli policemen were shot dead by three Israeli Arabs who were killed by security forces. In the volatile moments that followed police closed the compound and two messages competed for public attention.”

Listeners next heard material recycled from a report by Tom Bateman that was broadcast on the BBC World Service twelve days previously.

Erdan: “The terrorists they used firearms inside the Temple Mount violating, violating the holiness of this important place.”

Bateman: “Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan spoke out, as did the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem Adnan Husseini.”

Husseini: “We are living under occupation. Now the mosque should be open. If the mosque will not be open, it means that we are going to have more problems. This moment is very dangerous moment, very sensitive moment. We have to go to pray.”

Bateman: “They did pray – but on the streets outside the al Aqsa mosque; the holy Islamic shrine and also a powerful symbol of Palestinian hopes for statehood. To Jews the site is the abode of God’s presence where the biblical temples once stood.”

Bateman then gave a brief qualified explanation of the reason for the installation of the metal detectors which it is hard to believe would have been fully understood by listeners. He failed to adequately clarify which “guns had been smuggled in” to where or by whom.

Bateman: “Israel said it was installing the metal detectors because the guns had been smuggled in. Tensions grew and on Friday became a day of Palestinian protest. Fearing unrest, Israel barred entry to the site to all men aged under 50.”

As was the case in a previous report for the BBC World Service, Bateman downgraded what was in fact defined by its initiators as a ‘Day of Rage’ to a “day of Palestinian protest”.

After listeners heard a brief recording of Bateman in Jerusalem on July 21st, he continued:

Bateman: “Israeli police fired stun grenades. The protests spread. This was now about more than metal detectors. For Palestinians it evoked fears Israel wanted to change the long-standing access agreement over al Aqsa. Israel repeatedly said this was not the case. The site is in East Jerusalem which was annexed by Israel half a century ago. In the clashes over the weekend, five Palestinians were killed.”

Bateman then went to visit the family of a person killed while participating in violent rioting in a district of Jerusalem.

Bateman: “Children played outside as I visited the home of Susanne Abu Ghannam. Her son Mohammed was among those who died on Friday, shot – she said – by Israeli forces.”

Although listeners heard the mother claim that “the occupation forces were surrounding the hospital in order to take his body”, Bateman did not inform them that there is no indication that was the case.

Bateman then moved swiftly on, promoting equivalence between that death and the murders of three Israelis in the July 21st terror attack in Halamish.

Bateman: “Another woman was left grieving on Friday. An hour’s drive from Jerusalem, in the Jewish settlement of Halamish in the West Bank, a Palestinian man – claiming his actions were for al Aqsa – entered the home of an Israeli family celebrating a birth. He stabbed to death Michal Salomon’s husband, sister-in-law and father-in-law.”

After listeners had heard from Michal Salomon, Bateman closed his report.

Bateman: “For Israel the crisis was about a profound need to maintain security at what one minister called the most sensitive location on earth. It has drawn in Israel’s neighbour Jordan; the custodian of al Aqsa as part of the two countries’ peace deal. Amid international calls for calm, Palestinian leaders said last night their boycott on entering the mosque would continue. It seems Israel’s decision to remove the metal detectors has yet to see this crisis resolved.”

Although this is far from the first time that we have seen the BBC equating the deaths of Palestinians participating in violent acts with those of Israelis deliberately murdered by terrorists, the fact that the BBC refuses to use the word terror to describe attacks against Israelis makes that politicised editorial policy of moral equivalence all the more misleading to audiences – and all the more offensive.

Related Articles:

BBC refrains from using the word terror in report on murdered family

 

BBC WS ME editor gives a partial portrayal of the Temple Mount story

When the BBC’s former Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza City in 2007, another BBC journalist gave an interesting view of his job description.

“”It is his job to bring us day after day reports of the Palestinian predicament in the Gaza Strip,” said the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, Paul Adams, himself a former Middle East reporter.” [emphasis added]

At the time, the BBC also reported the following statement:

“On Tuesday, Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said the government was making every effort it could to secure Mr Johnston’s release.

“We in the government are deeply sorry and ashamed that this kidnapping is ongoing, especially since he is a friend of our people and has done a lot for our cause.

“His kidnapping is detrimental to our nation and our national cause,” Mr Barghouti said.” [emphasis added]

Another member of the Barghouti clan had this to say:

“Imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti appealed Wednesday to the kidnappers of BBC journalist Alan Johnston to release him immediately, calling him a “friend” of the Palestinians. […] “From my cell, and in the name of 10,000 prisoners in the occupation jails, I appeal and call immediately for the release of journalist Alan Johnston, the friend of the Palestinian people,” Barghouti said in a statement sent to reporters.” [emphasis added]

Following his release in July 2007, Johnston spent several years broadcasting and reporting on issues unrelated to the Middle East but was later appointed to the post of BBC World Service Middle East editor. Although those following the BBC’s Israel related coverage have heard comparatively little from Johnston since that appointment came into effect some two years ago, that has changed in the last couple of weeks, with Johnston providing commentary on the latest flare-up of violence in Jerusalem and elsewhere. 

The lead story in the July 23rd late edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour‘ concerned the attack on a security official at the Israeli embassy in Amman (from 00:11 here). Presenter James Coomarasamy brought in “our Middle East analyst” Alan Johnston who had little news to bring listeners about the incident itself at that stage. However, Johnston went on to tell listeners:

Johnston: “Now, we have no more information; it’s just not clear what sparked this but in the absence of more concrete information, I think there is bound to be speculation – speculation – that this was an attack of some kind and that it was linked to the current tensions in Jerusalem. And as you know, Palestinians there have been angered by Israel’s introduction of new security measures at the holy site known to Muslims as the Haram al Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.”

Coomarasamy: “What’s the latest about that particular controversy?”

Johnston then gave a noteworthy portrayal of the story that began on July 14th.

Johnston: “Well that controversy [sighs] began when there were two Israeli policemen killed in the vicinity of the holy site and the Israelis introduced metal detectors in the area.”

Remarkably, the BBC World Service’s senior “analyst” did not bother to inform listeners who murdered the two Israeli policemen or that the incident was a terror attack. Neither did he make any mention of the all-important fact that the terrorists used weapons smuggled into al Aqsa mosque by an accomplice – as shown in footage released by the Israeli police three days before this programme was aired. Although that footage is obviously crucial for understanding of the decision to install metal detectors, it has not been shown or described to BBC audiences on this or any other BBC platform. Johnston continued:

Johnston: “They [Israel] would argue that that’s a wholly legitimate security measure but of course Palestinians see this very, very differently. They see the arrival of the metal detectors as a sign of their Israeli occupiers seeking to gain more control over this crucially important, sensitive holy site.” [emphasis added]

Johnston did not bother to balance his uncritical amplification of the Palestinian narrative with factual information that would help listeners understand that Israel is responsible for security at the site and that the installation of metal detectors does not breach existing arrangements. Neither did he make any effort to tell listeners of the incitement and repeated calls for ‘days of rage’ by Palestinian leaders before he went on to promote equivalence between Palestinians killed while rioting and Israelis murdered by a terrorist while having a family dinner.

Johnston: “There’ve been protests, there’s been violence and there’s [sic] been deaths on both the Israeli and Palestinian side.”

After Johnston had noted the installation of CCTV security cameras at the site, Coomarasamy summed up his framing of the story as follows: [emphasis added]

Coomarasamy: “So it’s a case of popular frustration and anger. But what sort of impact is this having on a political and diplomatic level?”

Johnston: “Well this site is of such huge importance; it’s difficult to overstate that and everybody involved knows just how dangerous tensions there can become. They can rip across not just the Palestinian territories but the entire Muslim world.”

That of course is true – and it is precisely the reason why journalists reporting this story need to tell it in its entirety rather than editing out or downplaying Palestinian terrorism, incitement and pre-planned violence and rioting.

This is not however the first time that Johnston has done just that. Exactly two years ago when Palestinians rioted on Temple Mount, Johnston ‘explained’ to BBC audiences that Israel was to blame:

“…it’s more than just religious feeling that gives rise to scenes like this. Decades of Israeli occupation fuels an endless, simmering frustration among Palestinians and that always feeds into this kind of violence in Jerusalem.”

While reporting that promotes the notion of ‘frustrated’, ‘angered’ Palestinians devoid of any agency or responsibility for their actions while avoiding uncomfortable facts such as the racist hatred, incitement and glorification of terror regularly promoted by Palestinian leaders may be conducive to being lauded as a “friend of the Palestinian people”, it certainly does not serve the interests of the BBC’s funding public or meet the BBC’s obligations.

One would of course expect better from any BBC journalist – but in particular from one carrying the title BBC World Service Middle East editor.

Related Articles:

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BBC refrains from using the word terror in report on murdered family

On the evening of July 21st three members of the Salomon family were murdered in a terror attack in Halamish.

“According to a preliminary investigation, the terrorist, a Palestinian in his late teens from a nearby village, arrived in the settlement on foot armed with a knife, climbed a fence and chose the last house on a street near it.

The perpetrator broke a window and entered the home, surprising a family of about 10 inside as they were finishing their dinner, and launched his stabbing spree.

During the attack, another daughter hid several of the grandchildren in one of the rooms, where she called police and began shouting that a terrorist was inside the home.

Paramedics said the victims, a father in his 60s, his son in his 40s, and his daughter in her 40s, died of their wounds.

The mother, in her 60s, was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in serious condition.

Palestinian media identified the terrorist as Omar al-Abed, 19, from the village of Kaubar, near Ramallah.

An IDF soldier on leave in a nearby home responded to the screams and shot and wounded Abed through his window, according to Magen David Adom rescue service officials. An MDA paramedic at the scene told The Times of Israel the attacker was wounded by the shooting and was evacuated to hospital in moderate condition.

In initial questioning, Abed said he bought the knife two days ago, wanting to commit a terror attack because of events surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.”

Version 1

Roughly two hours after the attack took place the BBC News website published the first version of its report on the incident. Neither in the headline – “Three Israelis stabbed to death in West Bank attack” – nor in the body of the article did the BBC describe the incident as a terror attack.

As has been the case in the past, the report did however take care to inform readers of the BBC’s preferred political classification of the location of the incident.

“Three Israeli civilians have been stabbed to death in a settlement near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.” [emphasis added]

Halamish is of course located in Area C, the final status of which – according to the Oslo Accords that were signed by the Palestinians – is to be determined in negotiations.

The first two versions of the report told readers that:

“The attack came near the end of a day of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces over new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site.”

Only in version three was some partial context to those security measures revealed.

“Israel says the extra security is needed after two Israeli policemen were killed near the site a week ago.”

Readers were not informed of the crucial point that the policemen were murdered by terrorists using weapons brought into Temple Mount by a third party.

The BBC’s description of the incident itself failed to inform readers of the presence of additional members of the family – including children – in the house.

“On Friday, four Israeli civilians were stabbed in Halamish (also known as Neve Tsuf) after “an assailant infiltrated a private home”, the Israeli army said.

Israeli media reported the victims were a man in his sixties and his son and daughter, both in their forties. Another woman in her sixties is being treated in hospital for injuries sustained in the incident.”

No mention was made in the BBC’s report of praise for the attack from Hamas (of which the corporation’s staff was clearly aware), from the Palestinian Authority president’s party Fatah or from ordinary Palestinians who celebrated the murders on the streets.

Version 3

Readers of the article were informed that:

“The Israeli army said the attacker was a young Palestinian man called Omar al-Abed, who hours before the attack, posted on Facebook linking his actions to events at Jerusalem’s holy site.”

However, as usual they were not provided with any additional information which would contribute to their understanding of how incitement from official Palestinian sources, including Fatah, encourages such acts of terror.

Rather, the BBC continued its usual practice of portraying incitement as something that “Israel says” happens while amplifying messaging put out in PLO ‘media guidance’.

“Israel says Palestinian incitement has fuelled the attacks. The Palestinian leadership has blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.”

While at least one BBC journalist was aware of photographs that emerged from the scene of the attack, the BBC preferred to illustrate its early versions of the article with a pastoral image of Halamish, later adding a photo of an ambulance crew evacuating the wounded victim.

The report was further amended the next day to include allegations of ‘collective punishment’.

“Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman also said they were taking steps to prepare the Palestinian attacker’s house for demolition – a measure regularly taken by Israel, which says it is a deterrent, but condemned by rights groups as collective punishment.”

In light of the long-standing double standard in language used when reporting acts of terror against Israelis, it is sadly unsurprising to see the BBC refusing to use the word terror to describe the brutal murders of members of a family doing no more than enjoying dinner in their own home – just as it has in the past refused to use the same term to describe Israelis murdered in their own bedsIsraelis praying in their local synagogue or an Israeli painting her own front door.

As predictable as that BBC practice is, it becomes no less repugnant and offensive with time.

Related Articles:

BBC Complaints: terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tunisia are “very different”

BBC Complaints clarifies discrepancies in terminology when reporting terrorism

Radio 4 gives insight into BBC avoidance of the use of the term ‘terror’ in Israel

BBC News finds terror (without quotation marks) in Europe

BBC finds a ‘working definition’ for terrorism in Europe

A new BBC ‘explanation’ for its double standards on terror

 

 

BBC News follow-up report on fires in Israel ignores developments

On the morning of November 25th the BBC News website’s Middle East page published a second report relating to the wave of fires in Israel. Despite remaining the lead story on that webpage for over two days, the article – titled “Israel fires: Dozen suspects arrested on suspicion of arson” – was not updated to inform audiences of developments in the story, although ‘analysis’ from Yolande Knell was added later in the day.fires-art-2

BBC audiences hence remain unaware of the severe fire damage in the community of Nataf or of the fact that 350 families had to be evacuated from Halamish where tens of homes were destroyed and dozens damaged. Neither were they informed that in all some 32,000 acres of forest were destroyed by the fires along with hundreds of homes – over 500 in Haifa alone. The fact that more than 130 people had to be given medical treatment was described in the BBC’s report thus:

“Several people have been treated for smoke inhalation but no serious injuries have been reported.”

Readers of this article were told that:

“Another town in the north, Horashim, has also been evacuated as a blaze approaches, Haaretz reported.”

Anyone trying to locate the ‘town’ of ‘Horashim’ would have had considerable difficulty seeing as no such place exists. In fact, the community which was evacuated on the morning of Friday, November 25th is called Harashim – as the BBC should have been able to report given that the name is accurately presented in the source link.

BBC Watch has contacted the website regarding that inaccuracy.

As the article’s title and opening sentence indicate, its main focus is the topic of the arrests made in connection with the fires.

“Israeli police have arrested 12 people on suspicion of arson over a series of wildfires that have burned around the country for four days.”

Readers are told that:

“Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services operations chief Shmulik Fridman told Israel radio on Friday that more than half the fires had been caused by arson.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if any of the fires were started deliberately they would be treated as an act of terrorism.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, hinted at seditious Israeli Arab or Palestinian involvement, Tweeting: “Only those to whom the country does not belong are capable of burning it.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement said Israeli officials were “exploiting the fire” to accuse Palestinians.”

Yolande Knell’s ‘analysis’ continues the same theme:

knell-analysis-fires-art-2

On this topic too, the article was not been updated to reflect developments after its initial publication.

“In all, at least 35 people have been arrested since Thursday on suspicion of setting fires or inciting others to do so. More than 15 were Palestinians arrested by the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service, an army spokesperson said. At least 10 of those being held are Israeli Arabs, according to Hebrew media reports.”

Deprived of that information, BBC audiences are obviously unable to put Yolande Knell’s statement “several Israeli politicians have implicated Arabs” into context.

The investigations into the causes of the fires are of course still ongoing but it will be interesting to see whether the BBC will report their results.

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