BBC Misses the Boat

Wednesday, December 12 was another terrible day in Israel. Palestinian terrorists ambushed a civilian bus and killed 10 Israelis with bombs and withering gunfire. U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni’s plans to establish a 48-hour ceasefire were blown to smithereens. Palestinian spokesmen took to the airwaves to blame Israel for the paroxysm of violence, charging that earlier in the day Israeli helicopters killed four Palestinians in Gaza.

BBC echoed the charge: “Four Palestinians have been killed as Israeli helicopters launched a missile strike on a Palestinian neighborhood in the Gaza Strip. The helicopters attacked twice, hitting a residential area near the Khan Yunis refugee camp. Two Palestinians, who were in a cemetery at the time, were killed in the first strike. More people had gathered there when the helicopters attacked again, killing two more people.”

A residential area in a cemetery after midnight?

HonestReporting commends Associated Press for its coverage in which the four were identified as Fatah-linked “militiamen” and for providing the context for the Israeli action: “The latest exchange began when Palestinians fired four mortar shells at Jewish settlements.” AP quoted Palestinian residents who admitted that the “first air strike targeted a hiding place of members of a local militia, the so-called Abu Rish group.”

To complete the picture, The Jerusalem Post cited Israeli sources: “An Israeli Air Force helicopter attack early this morning killed four members of a Palestinian mortar crew in the Gaza Strip. The crew, spotted in the Khan Yunis refugee camp, was responsible for numerous mortar shelling attacks in recent weeks, Army Radio said. Palestinians said the missile strikes came shortly before and after midnight. The helicopters targeted an unfinished building, according to Palestinians. Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, were hiding in the building, the sources said.”

See the difference? According to BBC, four innocent Palestinians were killed in a residential Palestinian neighborhood. Other media reported that the four were combatants, and that Israel was responding to mortar shellings.

Even British political leaders are getting fed up with BBC’s biased coverage. British Tory leader, Iain Duncan Smith, told a London audience this week:

“Surely it is time that our national broadcasters, not just, but including the BBC, stopped describing Hamas and Jihad with such euphemisms as radical and militant. Let us call things what they are: they are terrorist organizations… Such fudging of what Hamas or Islamic Jihad are confers some sort of legitimacy on people who are terrorists.”

Read the BBC account of Wednesday’s events at:

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While some news agencies refused to label Wednesday’s attack on the bus an act of “terrorism” committed by “terrorists,” Reuters went far beyond and offered justification for the murder spree.

According to Reuters, “militants killed 10 Israelis, mostly Jewish settlers, in the West Bank… Most of the Israeli dead were settlers, whom [Palestinian] militants consider targets as occupiers of Palestinian land.”

HonestReporting member Laura B. fired off the following comment to the editor of Reuters:

“In the past I have suggested to my Communications students to read Reuters news briefs for journalistic coverage of all issues. However, I am sorry to say, now that your coverage of Israel is so biased in favor of all Palestinian viewpoints, that I have removed your coverage. It is a one-sided travesty. What ever happened to honest reporting?”

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