Three stories the BBC will not tell its audiences

As has been noted in previous posts (see related articles below) concerning the BBC’s coverage of the hunger strike by convicted Palestinian terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons, while audiences have been told that the strike’s aim is to “protest detention conditions”, they have not been informed in any of the BBC’s reports what those conditions entail or exactly what the strikers are demanding.

On May 15th the strike leader Marwan Barghouti’s list of nineteen demands was published.

Also apparently among the leaders of the hunger strike are two cousins – Karim and Maher Younis – who are both serving 40 year sentences for the kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in the early 1980s. Earlier this month (while Mahmoud Abbas was visiting the White House and telling the US president that the PA is “raising […] children […] on a culture of peace”) a Palestinian Authority official and the PLO announced that a main street in Jenin is to be named after Karim Younis. This week a square in the town of Tulkarem was named after the other cousin, Maher Younis.

As recently as last week BBC World Service audiences were told that Israel “has long accused Palestinian officials” of glorifying terrorism but seeing as the BBC consistently avoids reporting stories such as the naming of streets, squares, schools and sports tournaments after terrorists, its audiences are not in a position to know whether such charges are true.

Another story that BBC audiences are unlikely to be told is that of a Palestinian Legislative Council MP from Fatah (previously imprisoned for membership in a terrorist organisation) who was recently caught on camera hurling rocks during a riot.

“A Palestinian Authority lawmaker recently took part in violent clashes against Israeli security forces in the West Bank, images of which were published on Monday.

In the photos, Fatah party member Jamal Hawil can be seen using a slingshot to hurl rocks at Israeli troops during a riot at the Beit El junction amid large plumes of smoke, as well as taking cover behind makeshift barricades alongside other protesters.

Asked by Channel 2 to comment on the images, Hawil tried to downplay the significance of a PA official throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.

“It doesn’t matter if I threw rocks or not, the entire Palestinian nation throws rocks,” he said.”

As readers may recall, on May 3rd the BBC News website inaccurately informed audiences that during Mahmoud Abbas’ visit to the White House, the US president had “stressed there would be no lasting peace unless both nations found a way to stop incitement of violence”. The BBC, however, consistently fails its audiences by refraining from providing the readily available information which would enhance their understanding of the involvement of the Palestinian Authority and its ruling party Fatah in promoting violence, incitement and glorification of terrorism.

Related Articles:

BBC News promotes PLO narrative in copious coverage of prisoners’ strike

BBC fails to provide crucial background in reports on Fatah prisoners’ strike

Identifying the BBC’s anonymous “mother of a Palestinian inmate”

BBC’s Knell tells audiences that convicted terrorists are ‘political prisoners’

Omissions in the BBC’s report on terrorist’s ‘hunger strike’ nosh

BBC Trending recycles a previously published BDS falsehood

The news the BBC has to omit in order to keep up its narrative

Last month we noted the emergence of “The terror group BBC audiences have never heard of” in the Gaza Strip and that organisation’s statements concerning its intended expansion of operations.

“A Palestinian jihadi group with close ties to Iran claimed on Wednesday that it has expanded out of the Gaza Strip and is now operating in the West Bank and Jerusalem as well.

“We have an armed branch whose goal it is to wage war on the Israeli occupation everywhere,” Hisham Salim, founder of the Harakat al-Sabireen, told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

“Within this framework we have members in the West Bank and Jerusalem who will soon receive financial and military support from us,” he said.”

Recently the Palestinian Authority announced the arrest of members of that group.

photo credit: Times of Israel

photo credit: Times of Israel

“Palestinian Authority security forces have recently arrested five pro-Iranian operatives in Bethlehem planning to establish a foothold in the West Bank and carry out attacks against Israel, Israel Radio cited Palestinian security forces as saying. 

According to the sources, the five members of the ‘a-Sabrin’ organization had operated in the Gaza Strip over the past years before being arrested two weeks ago after leaving the coastal Palestinian enclave. 

The operatives working under Iranian orders had reportedly received funding in Gaza and were instructed to carry out terror attacks.”

To date there has been no BBC coverage of that story or of the earlier Israeli announcement concerning the apprehension of a Hizballah-run terror cell in Tulkarem.

Hizballah logo

Hizballah logo

“A terror cell based in Tulkarem in the West Bank and recruited and funded by Lebanon-based Hezbollah planned to carry out a shooting attack and suicide bombings against Israelis, but was stopped by a joint operation of the Shin Bet security service and the army, officials announced on Wednesday.

Jawad Nasrallah, son of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, recruited the cell via social media, the Shin Bet said. […]

To assist the cell, Hezbollah gave it $5,000 so it could acquire weaponry and equipment for an attack. Two members of the cell acquired guns and were preparing to shoot IDF troops in the area, but were captured before the attack could be carried out.

In addition to the planned shooting attack, the terror cell also received orders about carrying out suicide bombings and collecting intelligence on IDF activities and positions.

The five-man cell was led by Mahmoud Zaghloul, 32, from Zita outside of Tulkarem, who was recruited directly by Jawad Nasrallah. It was an initiative of Hezbollah’s Unit 133, which is charged with setting up terror cells in Israel.”

These two stories join the growing list of similar ones (see for example here and here) concerning the apprehension of cells connected to established terrorist groups which have been completely ignored by the BBC.

However, at the same time as it elects not to report such stories, the BBC does continue to promote the “DIY unrest” narrative on the topic of Palestinian terrorism which it adopted over four months ago, repeatedly telling audiences (in a manner eerily similar to the dictates of the PLO’s guidance for foreign journalists) that the ongoing wave of attacks against Israelis is the result of “frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation”.

The BBC’s framing of this topic leads to the failure to meet its obligation to enhance audiences’ “awareness and understanding of international issues” by serially avoiding compromising its adopted narrative with any mention of terrorism which is not ‘grassroots’ but organised by groups such as Hamas and Hizballah out of motivations which go far beyond “frustration”. 

Beyond the BBC Middle East news filter

Among the recent Middle East events not reported by the BBC was the controversy caused on April 1st when Fatah-affiliated students at a university in Tulkarem hung and burned an effigy of the Emir of Qatar at an election rally. 

The action was condemned by PA president Mahmoud Abbas, as well as by Hamas – which apparently demanded that the PA arrest the students concerned. According to journalist/activist Hazem Balousha (he of the Donnison fauxtography tweet fame), Hamas e-mailed a statement on the subject to reporters:

“In a press statement that was sent out to reporters via email, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas’ spokesman, said that “Hamas considers Abbas’ condemnation of the abusive act on the part of some Fatah-affiliated youth to the Qatari leadership not to be enough and does not relieve him from responsibility given the fact that he is the head of the Fatah movement. We condemn this irresponsible act and call upon Abbas to arrest the culprits in order to preserve our foreign relations. We consider this act to be the result of incitement on the part of some Fatah leadership to support certain Arab parties against others.” “

The possibility that this incident received no coverage from the BBC because its e-mail does not appear in the Hamas address book of course exists, but given the BBC’s well documented – if naïve – enthusiasm for the subject of Hamas/Fatah reconciliation, it seems rather more likely that this was not considered to be a ‘need to know’ item for BBC audiences. 

Another recent event not reported by the BBC was an additional incident of cross-border fire in the Golan Heights on April 12th. The ever-looming possibility of withdrawal of UN peace-keeping forces from the buffer zone between Israel and Syria has also failed to generate any significant coverage by the BBC. 

“Austrian UN peacekeepers, fearing their safety due to fighting in Syria, will assess on a daily basis if they can stay to monitor a truce between Israel and Syria, Austria’s foreign minister said on Friday. [..]

“We have decided, as Austrians, to stay as long as we can, this is our mandate … (but) we have to decide every day if it’s possible,” Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said.

 “We will do so as long as is possible,” he told Reuters after visiting Austria’s UN contingent on the Golan Heights, where he was briefed about the situation.

 In the past three months, Japan and Croatia have both said they were withdrawing their troops from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

Austrians account for around 380 of the 1,000-strong mission and should Vienna quit the operation, it was unclear if any other nation would be ready to step into the breach.”

On April 13th the IDF apprehended a Palestinian intending to carry out a terror attack at the Eliyahu checkpoint near Kfar Saba and on April 14th three prominent members of Hamas from the Jenin area were arrested by the IDF according to Palestinian sources. There has been no coverage of the attempted terror attack by the BBC.

Neither has the BBC seen fit to inform its audiences of the recent call by the overwhelming majority of members of the Jordanian parliament to pardon the murderer of seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997 at the ‘Isle of Peace’ at Naharayim.  

BBC audiences’ understanding of the Middle East is of course just as dependent upon which news items are filtered out as it is on what is actually reported.