BBC’s Sarona Market attack speculations come unraveled

Readers may recall that in much of its reporting on the terror attack at Sarona Market on June 8th in which four Israelis were murdered and 15 wounded, the BBC found it necessary to stress the proximity of the site of the attack to the Ministry of Defence and the IDF’s headquarters, thus inferring some kind of significance which audiences were left to interpret for themselves.

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

The two terrorists and an accomplice have now been indicted and during that process it emerged that the location of the attack was chosen randomly.

“The Shin Bet also discovered that alleged terrorists originally conspired to attack passengers traveling on an Israeli train, according to the indictment. The investigation noted that the Sorona market attack was a “random,” last-minute target.”

Ynet reported on the original plan.

“In the indictment handed down, it was written that the two turned to their friend, Yunas Zayn, also a resident of Yatta, with the intent of carrying out the attack. They planned to carry it out on a train and therefore went about gathering information about timetables, journey routes, entrances and exits, gateways and numbers of passengers passing through different stations. They came to the decision to carry out the attack against passengers travelling from Tel Aviv to Haifa.

As part of the attack, the two purchased 30cm knives. They also purchased suits, watches, leather bags, shoes and glasses at the cost of 2,600 shekels. Additionally, they bought rat poison to spread on the knives which would then be used to stab Israelis and maximize the damage caused. In total, the two spent 4,000 shekels on their grizzly plan.”

The BBC’s repeated focusing of audience attention on the proximity of the site of the attack to the Ministry of Defence building and the IDF HQ was obviously rooted entirely in its own journalists’ speculations.

As was noted here back in January when the Jerusalem bureau’s Kevin Connolly likewise engaged in redundant speculations concerning a terror attack (which, by the way, still remain in situ), the BBC’s editorial guidelines on accuracy state:

“The BBC’s commitment to accuracy is a core editorial value and fundamental to our reputation. Our output must be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language. We should be honest and open about what we don’t know and avoid unfounded speculation.” [emphasis added]

Moreover, the BBC’s editorial guidelines on “War, Terror and Emergencies” clearly demand a responsible approach from the corporation’s journalists which does not accommodate wild speculation.

“The BBC has a special responsibility to its UK and international audiences when reporting conflict including wars, acts and planned acts of terror, sieges and emergencies. Large numbers of people across the world access our services for accurate news and information.  They also expect us to help them make sense of events by providing context and impartial analysis and by offering a wide range of views and opinions.

At such times, when there may be conflicting information and opinions, and with reliable information hard to come by, we need to be scrupulous in applying our principles of accuracy and impartiality.”

Perhaps if BBC correspondents devoted less of their energies to the promotion of their own speculations concerning terror attacks in Israel, they might find the time to actually describe them in accurate terminology. 

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BBC R4 reveals what ‘really’ threatens to reignite Hamas-Israel conflict

On June 9th – the day after the terror attack at Sarona Market in which four people were murdered and 17 wounded – BBC Radio 4’s programme ‘The World Tonight’ broadcast an item apparently intended to convey to audiences that any future outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas would be down to one prime factor.

As readers may be able to guess, that factor was not terrorism: the word did not appear even once throughout the report. Presenter Shaun Ley set the scene (from 18:13 here):R4 the world tonight 9 6

“Now, Israel’s newly appointed defence minister Avdor [sic] Lieberman has issued an order preventing the return of the bodies of any Palestinians who are killed in attacks there. The gunmen who shot dead four people and injured six [sic] others at a shopping centre in Tel Aviv last night were captured alive but this is a signal by Mr Lieberman – a political hardliner. In addition, permits for 83,000 Palestinians who were planning to come to Israel have been revoked and more troops are to be deployed in the occupied West Bank. Our reporter Andrew Hosken reports now from Jerusalem.”

Ley did not inform listeners that Lieberman’s order constitutes a return to previous policy or that the entry permits for Palestinians were frozen rather than “revoked”.

Hosken began his report with a description of Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, going on to say:

“But in recent months Damascus Gate has also been the scene of a string of knife attacks, mainly by young Palestinians of both sexes, on Jewish Israeli policemen and women.”

Over a dozen attacks have taken place at Damascus Gate since October of last year. Contrary to the claims from Hosken, the attacks were not directed exclusively at members of the security forces and many Israeli police and border police officers are not Jewish. At least four civilians were wounded in attacks at that location. Neither were all the attacks at Damascus Gate “knife attacks” as inaccurately claimed: at least five shooting attacks took place, including the one on February 3rd in which Border Police officer Hadar Cohen was murdered.

Hosken continued:

“The attacks here have earned this wave of assault that began last October the not terribly subtle title ‘the Intifada of knives’. But the latest assault involved machine guns and at the heart of Jewish Israel – Tel Aviv – some fifty miles or so west of Jerusalem. The Israeli government, led by the Right-wing Likud party, has promised a severe reaction against any Palestinian entity – individuals, organisations, even families – it considers culpable.”

Listeners then heard some general statements from MK Dr Anat Berko before Hosken went on:

“Raids were conducted today by Israeli security forces in Yatta – a small town which is home to at least two of the attackers. It’s in the Palestinian West Bank area where so many Israeli Jews have created settlements in defiance of a number of United Nations resolutions.”

There were two terrorists involved in the Sarona Market attack and both came from Yatta which is in Area A and under full Palestinian Authority control. There are of course no ‘settlements’ in Areas A or B.

Hosken next went to Kibbutz Alumim in the Western Negev.

“Jeremy Maisel [phonetic] lives on the Alumim kibbutz in south-west Israel just two and a half miles from the Gaza Strip – home to 2 million Palestinians.”

As of July 2015 the population of the Gaza Strip was 1.87 million.

“In the summer of 2014 during the conflict between Israel and Hamas – the Islamist organization that controls Gaza – the Alumim kibbutz came under rocket attack. No fewer than 282 code red alerts were issued to the people here, giving them 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter. Jeremy Maisel remains pessimistic about any prospects of peace with the Palestinians.”

Maisel: “Hamas is a very extremist government there and they don’t hide their goals of destroying Israel, of killing Jews.”

Hosken continued:

“Most of the leaders of Hamas are based in Gaza and as far as the Israeli government is concerned, Hamas – which has often vowed to destroy Israel in the past – remains suspect number one when it comes to the attack in Tel Aviv.”

The Hamas movement in Yatta claimed that the two terrorists belonged to its organization soon after the attack.

Hosken then journeyed to Gaza.

“I’ve just crossed over from Israel into Gaza and the dysfunctionality of the place is clear on entry because after passing through Israeli passport control you have to negotiate two checkpoints on the Palestinians’ side operated by separate and differing organisations that have fought bitterly in the past for control of the Strip. The first is operated by Fatah and the second manned by Hamas.”

The checkpoint is actually Palestinian Authority – rather than “Fatah” – operated. Hosken then gave an inaccurate account of how the Gaza Strip came under Hamas control, completely erasing the terror organisation’s violent June 2007 coup from audience view.

“Hamas has controlled Gaza since winning elections here in 2006. Fatah controls the Palestinian Authority which holds sway on the West Bank – home to two of the Tel Aviv attackers.”

Listeners heard entirely unchallenged statements from three interviewees in Gaza, the first being “a prominent Fatah leader” whom Hosken asked about “the so-called Intifada of knives”.

“It is a reaction more than Intifada. It is a reaction from the people. The humiliation they face on the borders and cross points of the Israelis. They are using a very, very bad way in dealing with the Palestinians. They keep them for long time on the cross points, on the entrances and they don’t allow them to go to Jerusalem. They touch the feelings of the people so it is not an organized act. It is just a reactionary act.”

Hosken did not bother to clarify to listeners that Palestinians can in fact travel to Jerusalem with the appropriate paper work or that the security measures at crossings into Israel are the direct result of Palestinian terrorism.

Listeners also heard from a similarly unchallenged porter whom Hosken asked “what he thought about the attack in Tel Aviv”.

“I feel happy because they have taken Jerusalem, they have taken our land and it’s right to defend ourself. The operation is a natural because they took our land and look what they are doing in Gaza: they cut the electricity, they close the border.”

Hosken did not explain to listeners that the electricity cuts in the Gaza Strip have nothing at all to do with Israel and are the result of a dispute between Hamas and the PA. He went on:

“…but could there be another war soon? Even before Tel Aviv there was concern at the appointment as Israeli defence minister of Avigdor Lieberman – a hawk when it comes to the Palestinians and a man who has supported the assassination of Hamas leaders in the past.”

Listeners then heard from an associate professor of politics at Gaza’s Al Azhar University.

“The Palestinian elite in Gaza are a little bit concerned that maybe the bringing of Lieberman as defence minister might mean another war is in the making between Israel and Hamas within the next six months or a year. Lieberman in the past year or so since the Israeli elections have asked Netanyahu to reoccupy the Gaza Strip and have pushed Netanyahu to assassinate the political leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip so it could mean military activity against Hamas and the Palestinians in the Gaza strip in the foreseeable future.”

Hosken then closed with the following trite statement:

“Tonight for many people here, recent attempts by both France and Egypt to broker peace talks have never felt more forlorn.”

Hamas – along with several other Palestinian factions – clearly has no interest in peace talks, as one presumes Hosken himself knows, and has spent the last two years rebuilding its terrorist infrastructure. Nevertheless, listeners to this item were led to believe that the main factor threatening to lead to a renewal of conflict is the recent appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Minister of Defence rather than Palestinian terrorism. Apparently that is what passes for ‘reporting’ at BBC Radio 4. 

 

Continuing the mapping of BBC inconsistency in terrorism reporting

A decade has passed since the publication of the ‘Report of the Independent Panel for the BBC Governors on Impartiality of BBC Coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’ – also known as the Thomas Report.

Notwithstanding its many shortcomings, one of the recommendations made in that report called for the use of clear and consistent language.

“We say that the BBC should get the language right. We think they should call terrorist acts “terrorism” because that term is clear and well understood. Equally, on this and other sensitive points of language, once they have decided the best answer they should ensure it is adopted consistently”. […]

“The term “terrorism” should accordingly be used in respect of relevant events since it is the most accurate expression for actions which involve violence against randomly selected civilians with the intention of causing terror for ideological, including political or religious, objectives, whether perpetrated by state or non-state agencies.”

In June 2006 the BBC Governors published their response to the Thomas Report in which that particular recommendation was rejected. At the time a BBC article stated:

“Managers also questioned the use of the word “terrorism” as defined in the independent report, chaired by British Board of Film Classification president Sir Quentin Thomas.

In the report, “terrorism” was described as “the most accurate expression for actions which involve violence against randomly selected civilians with the intention of causing terror”.

Such a definition, executives argued, “would exclude attacks on soldiers” and oblige journalists to make “the very value judgements” they are asked to avoid making under the BBC’s editorial guidelines.” 

The topic of “value judgements” still forms a significant part of the BBC’s Guidance on Language when Reporting Terrorism.

“The value judgements frequently implicit in the use of the words “terrorist” or “terrorist group” can create inconsistency in their use or, to audiences, raise doubts about our impartiality. For example, the bombing of a bus in London was carried out by “terrorists”, but the bombing of a bus in Israel was perpetrated by a “suicide bomber”. Or again, “terrorists” in London bombed a tube train, but “insurgents” in Iraq have “assassinated” the Egyptian ambassador. The use of the words can imply judgement where there is no clear consensus about the legitimacy of militant political groups.

Have we assessed the merits of the different perpetrators’ cause, the acts of the different Governments against the perpetrators, or even the value of civilian lives further from home?  We must be careful not to give the impression that we have come to some kind of implicit -and unwarranted – value judgement.

Some will argue that certain events are so evidently acts of terror (and, therefore, perpetrated by “terrorists”) that those descriptions are reasonable, and non-judgemental. However, the language we choose to use in reporting one incident cannot be considered in isolation from our reporting of other stories. So to use the word in incidents which we may consider obvious creates difficulties for less clear-cut incidents. […]

We also need to ask ourselves whether by using “terrorist” we are taking a political position, or certainly one that may be seen as such.”

As we have frequently remarked on these pages, deliberate abstention from use of the word terror is often just as much a ‘value judgement’ and an expression of a “political position” as is its use.

That Guidance also demands consistency from BBC journalists:

“We can no longer isolate the BBC’s coverage of the UK from how it reports the rest of the world. With global access to our services, the concept of a “primary audience” is problematic: reports made for News 24 are often shared on BBC World; UK bulletins are streamed on the internet; and users of BBC Online can compare the words used on global and UK pages with just a few mouse clicks.

Importantly even within the same bulletin on the same service, there can be issues of inconsistency in how we describe who is doing what to whom. “Militants in Gaza launch a rocket attack: terrorists plant bombs in London…” Don’t assume that what you write or say is confined to a small part of our audience.”

We have frequently documented on these pages the lack of consistency in the BBC’s use – or not – of the word terror (see ‘related articles’ below) and this past week has unfortunately provided several additional examples of the phenomenon.

The BBC News website’s coverage of the June 8th terror attack at Sarona Market in Tel Aviv did not include any use of the word terror and its derivatives by the BBC itself and the word was only seen in direct quotes from Israelis.

A similar approach appears to have been adopted in most of the reporting on the terror attack in Orlando on June 12th with use of the word terror confined to direct quotes – see for example here, here and here. Exceptions were seen in indirect references to terrorism which appeared in written and filmed analysis from the BBC’s security correspondent Gordon Corera and in a ‘Newsbeat’ article headlined “Concerns over UK LGBT venues ‘copycat’ style terror attacks“.Paris attack 13 6 on Europe pge

Coverage of the terror attack in France on June 14th also included reports which only used the word terrorism to describe the incident in direct quotes – see for example here, here and here – while other reports made references to the perpetrator’s past links to terrorism. A filmed report by the BBC’s Paris correspondent Lucy Williamson stood out for its refreshing use of accurate terminology.

“Last night France’s battle with terrorism came to this suburban street….”

“This is the man who brought terror to a quiet commuter town.”

An ambiguous approach is also seen in recently produced material concerning the 20th anniversary of the IRA terror attack in Manchester. An article appearing on the BBC News website does clarify what the story is about in its headline – “Manchester IRA bomb: Terror blast remembered 20 years on” – but anyone unfamiliar with the story who read the ‘About The BBC Blog’ post promoted by the corporation on social media would have great difficulty understanding that the “1996 Manchester Bomb” was a terror attack committed by the IRA.

As we see once again, the BBC not only has difficulty in achieving consistency – and therefore impartiality – in its reporting of terrorism in assorted locations, but even in different reports about the same incident. 

Ten years have passed since the BBC chose to ignore the Thomas Report’s call to “get the language right”. As the past week has shown once again, that decision does not serve the corporation’s funding public by helping them understand international and domestic events and it certainly has not enhanced the BBC’s reputation as an impartial broadcaster. 

Related Articles:

Mapping the BBC’s inconsistent use of the word ‘terror’

The BBC, terrorism and ‘consistency’

No terror please, we’re the British Broadcasting Corporation

BBC News website does ‘one man’s terrorist’

BBC Complaints clarifies discrepancies in terminology when reporting terrorism

BBC News website flip-flops on description of Brussels attacks as terrorism – part two

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

BBC double standards on terrorism surface yet again

 

BBC post terror attack report focuses on travel permits rather than victims

Following the deadly acts of terror in Paris in November 2015 and in Brussels in March 2016, the BBC found it appropriate to provide its audiences with information about the victims killed and wounded in those attacks.

The morning after the June 8th terror attack in Tel Aviv in which four people were murdered and sixteen wounded, the BBC News website found it appropriate to focus audience attentions on a topic other than its victims.  The website’s Middle East page ran the headline “Palestinian permits frozen after attack”, linking to an article titled “Tel Aviv shooting: Israel suspends Palestinian permits“.

Pigua Sarona mkt follow up art permits

The third version of that report was amended to include the names, ages and gender of the four victims of the previous evening’s attack. In contrast to the articles concerning the Paris and Brussels attacks, no additional personal details or photographs were provided.

“Two women – Ilana Nave, 39, and Mila Mishayev, 32 – and two men – Ido Ben Aryeh, 42, and Michael Feige, 58 – were killed in the shootings, police said.”

Editors did however consider it necessary to amend the report in order to inform BBC audiences of the terrorists’ sartorial tastes.

“The two gunmen, who were smartly dressed, opened fire with automatic weapons on diners and passers-by after sitting down and ordering food at one of the complex’s restaurants.”

Once again, the only use of the word terrorism in the report came in the form of a direct quote.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Sarona complex shortly after Wednesday night’s attack, calling it “a savage crime of murder and terrorism”.”

While failing to note the fact that Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organization, the report included the following information:

“Islamist group Hamas praised what it called an “heroic attack” but did not say it was behind it.

In a statement a day after the killings, the West Bank-based Palestinian Presidency said it “repeatedly emphasised its rejection of all operations targeting civilians regardless of their identity and irrespective of the justifications”, without directly addressing the Tel Aviv attack.”

Readers were not however told that Fatah – also headed by Mahmoud Abbas – put out statements concerning the terror attack which used language remarkably similar to that adopted by Hamas spokesmen.  [emphasis added]

“”The Fatah Movement stated in a notice from the Mobilization and Organization Commission” that the Tel Aviv operation (i.e., terror attack, 4 murdered) which occurred last night is a private and spontaneous natural response to Israel’s choosing force…

Head of the Information Committee of the Fatah Mobilization and Organization Commission Munir Al-Jaghoub said: ‘Israel needs to understand the results of its actions, [which are] a continuation of the promotion of the option of violence and the policy of demolishing homes and expelling residents of Jerusalem, and the ongoing invasions of the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza by the herds of settlers… and the cold blooded murder of Palestinians at their checkpoints, which are spread through the territories occupied since 1967.'”

“In a brief press release on Thursday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri deemed the operation a natural response to the Israeli occupation’s crimes against Palestinians and the constant Israeli desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque and Muslim sanctities.”

The report did include a rarely seen mention of Palestinian celebration of the terror attack.

“News of the attack was greeted in parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip with fireworks and cheering. Some Palestinians handed out sweets and waved flags in celebration.”Pigua Sarona mkt follow up art

The main focus of the report was on the topic of the temporary suspension of entry permits into Israel previously issued to Palestinians resident in the PA and Hamas controlled territories.

“Israel says it has suspended entry permits for 83,000 Palestinians after gunmen killed four people in an attack at an open-air complex in Tel Aviv. […]

Israel later announced a permit ban that will impact Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip who had planned to visit relatives in Israel, attend Ramadan prayers in Jerusalem or travel abroad via Tel Aviv’s airport.”

The report did not clarify to readers that those permits were announced several days earlier within the framework of the special goodwill measures adopted for Ramadan. 

Related Articles:

Compare and contrast: BBC News personalisation of victims of terror

Comparing BBC personalisation of victims of terror in Paris, Brussels and Israel

BBC coverage of Sarona Market terror attack – part one

BBC coverage of Sarona Market terror attack – part two

 

BBC coverage of Sarona Market terror attack – part two

As was noted in part one of this post, while news of the terror attack at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on June 8th was emerging, the head of the BBC’s Jerusalem bureau took to Twitter to inform his followers that such attacks are “rare”.

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

Despite the fact that this was the sixth terror attack in the Tel Aviv district in less than nine months and that its four victims bring the number of civilians murdered in the city in that time to ten, that theme was also in evidence in the report produced by the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ on the evening of June 8th.

Presenter Tim Franks described the terrorists (from 14:11 here) as follows:

“…we’re able to bring you up to date on that story that broke just before we came on air and that’s news of a shooting attack in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. The police say that…eh…three people have died, that two assailants were involved in the attack….” [emphasis added]

During the conversation with his interviewee – Ben Hartman of the Jerusalem Post – Franks promoted the notion that terrorism in Tel Aviv is “rare”.

“I guess…ah….some of the striking things about this attack, Ben, are the…as you mentioned…I mean Tel Aviv has been relatively free of…of violence…ah…in recent months.”

He later introduced further misleading and inaccurate claims into the conversation.

“And I suppose also, Ben, ahm…the attacks that we’ve got used to reporting – at least… ahm… within Israel, within Jerusalem – have been…tended to be…those people…ahm… going after – Palestinians going after – maybe members of the security forces with things like screwdrivers or in cars; that sort of thing and not this rather sort of…ahm…bigger attack using weapons. Err…err…guns, rather.”

As readers can see for themselves in the monthly reports produced by the Israeli Security Agency, the number of civilians killed and wounded in terror attacks since October 2015 is considerably higher than the number of members of the security forces, meaning that Franks’ implication that the terrorists primarily target soldiers and policemen is false and materially misleading to audiences. The same reports show that his attempt to suggest to audiences that the weapons of choice have been confined to “screwdrivers” or “cars” is no less misleading: while the agency recorded 96 stabbing attacks (mostly with knives rather than screwdrivers) and 20 vehicular attacks between October 2015 and May 2016, it also recorded 77 attacks using firearms and 132 attacks using IEDs.

Franks also made an unexplained reference to a building in the proximity of the Sarona Market.

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

Sarona complex, Tel Aviv

“Ahm…this was an open-air mall as well. I mean one normally associates these malls, these shopping areas, as having fairly heavy security and it’s pretty close to the main defence HQ, isn’t it?”

The mention of the proximity of the site of the attack to the offices of the Ministry of Defence was also a feature of additional BBC reporting, including the BBC News website’s written report on the attack.

“The attacks took place in two locations in Sarona Market, close to Israel’s defence ministry and main army HQ.”

There too, the BBC refrained from informing audiences why it apparently perceives that information to be relevant. 

Listeners to the 10:30 p.m. news bulletin on BBC Radio 5 live (from 01:58 here) heard that same theme promoted:

“Police in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv say they’ve made two arrests after a shooting at a popular shopping and restaurant area that’s left four people dead. The attack happened near the country’s defence ministry.”

Later bulletins on that same station at midnight (from 01:30:00 here) and at 01:00 (from 00:47 here) similarly failed to clarify to listeners that the “shooting” was a terror attack.

Listeners to the BBC’s most popular radio station – Radio 2 – on the evening of June 8th may have noticed an interesting editorial decision in news reports on the attack.

The third item in the station’s 9 p.m. news bulletin (from 01:00:59 here) informed listeners that:

“Three people have been killed and five wounded in a shooting in Tel Aviv. The attack happened in an area of bars and restaurants. Two suspects are in custody. Police are still looking for a possible third gunman.”

However, an hour later in the 10 p.m. news bulletin (from 00:06 here), the report was changed.

“Three people have been killed and five seriously wounded in a shooting attack in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. The attack happened near the country’s defence ministry. Police say two suspects are in custody, one of whom is undergoing surgery.”

At 11 p.m. listeners to the news (from 00:08 here) were told that:

“Israeli police say two Palestinian gunmen have opened fire in Tel Aviv, killing at least four people. Thirteen others were wounded in the incident near the Israeli defence ministry. Both suspected attackers were arrested; one was injured by gunfire.”

In other words, not only were Radio 2 listeners not informed that this was a terror attack but the BBC decided to erase the information which previously enabled them to understand that the victims were customers frequenting cafés and restaurants and instead shifted the focus over to a location unrelated to the story.

Related Articles:

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

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

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

Telegraph thinks it’s important that attack on Israelis occurred “near the defense ministry”  (UK Media Watch)

BBC coverage of Sarona Market terror attack – part one

As information concerning the terror attack in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market on the evening of June 8th came to light, the BBC News website updated its report on the incident numerous times over a period of some ten hours.

The initial article was titled “‘Several wounded’ in Tel Aviv shooting”.  None of the later amendments to the headline – made after circumstances became clearer – informed readers that the incident was a terror attack, with editors opting instead to use the ambiguous phrasing “shopping centre attack”.

Pigua Sarona mkt headlines

The first three versions of the report made no mention of the word terror. Later versions included statements from the Tel Aviv chief of police, the Israeli prime minister and from eye witnesses which did include the word terror inside quotation marks but in all versions the BBC refrained from telling audiences in its own words that Palestinian terrorists had murdered and wounded civilians enjoying a night out in a café.

The latest version of the BBC’s report has not to date been updated to inform BBC audiences of the statement released by Hamas claiming that the terrorists are members of its organization or of the praise for the attack from Ismail Haniyeh.

The attack was the sixth in the Tel Aviv-Yaffo area since October of last year.

October 8th 2015: Tel Aviv: Female soldier and three others stabbed. Terrorist was shot and killed.

November 19th 2015: Tel Aviv: Two people were killed and one wounded in a stabbing attack during afternoon prayers in a Judaica store located in the Panorama building – a commercial center in southern Tel Aviv. The terrorist, from Dura in the West Bank, was apprehended. Hamas “welcomed” the attack. The victims: Rabbi Aharon Yesayev, 32, of Holon and Reuven Aviram, 51, of Ramle.

January 1st 2016: Tel Aviv: In a shooting attack at a pub, two killed – Alon Bakal (26), the pub’s manager, and Shimon Ruimi (30) – and 8 injured, two seriously. The assailant (29, Arab-Israeli citizen from Arara village in northern Israel) was killed a week later during an attempt to apprehend him. Taxi driver Amin Shaaban, 42, of Lod, was later shot and killed by the terrorist who carried out the shooting attack on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street.

March 8th 2016: Tel Aviv-Jaffa: 29-year-old American student Taylor Force was killed and 10 others wounded in a stabbing attack which began near the Jaffa port. The assailant fled on foot along the Tel Aviv beach promenade, stabbing passersby and motorists before he was shot and killed by police.

May 30th 2016: Tel Aviv: An Arab from Salfit (17) stabbed a soldier with a screwdriver. The assailant was arrested.

Nevertheless, the head of the BBC’s Jerusalem bureau thought it necessary to inform his Twitter followers that such attacks are “rare”.

Pigua Sarona mkt Colebourn tweet

That theme was also seen in some of the radio coverage of the attack which will be discussed in an upcoming post.

Related Articles:

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

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

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