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September 7, 2017 11:41 am

The BBC Claims ‘Sketchy’ Evidence of PA Terror Rewards

avatar by Hadar Sela


A BBC screenshot.

In January 2007, the BBC News website published a backgrounder titled “Analysis: Palestinian suicide attacks.” More than a decade later, that item (which was apparently prompted by a terror attack in Eilat) is still available online. This means that audiences still encounter BBC content that tells them:

Israel has accused the Palestinian Authority of funding some suicide attacks and rewarding the families of attackers. Evidence for this has been sketchy. [emphasis added]

In order to make that latter statement, the anonymous writer of this backgrounder had to ignore a wealth of evidence that had already been in the public domain for several years, including documentation of PA funding of terrorism that was seized during the Second Intifada.

Evidence of the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s financial rewards to the families of terrorists was also abundant in 2007, and payments to terrorists in Israeli prisons and their families were enshrined in PA legislation more than two years before that story was published.

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As regular readers of this site are no doubt aware, the PA’s practice of paying terrorists has continued throughout the last decade. Furthermore, salaries for convicted terrorists, benefits for released prisoners and payments to the families of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks have become part of the PA’s annual budget.

Yet rather than carrying out any serious reporting aimed at informing audiences of the facts surrounding this issue, the BBC has, with very few exceptions, chosen to ignore it — and, on occasion, has even amplified the Palestinian Authority’s PR messaging.

For example, this was written by Jeremy Bowen on the BBC News website on May 23:

“He [Netanyahu] was referring to a Palestinian Martyrs’ fund. It pays pensions to people it regards as victims of the occupation, including the families of individuals who have been killed attacking Israelis. There is also a fund to support Palestinians who have been imprisoned by Israel. The Palestinians have compared the payments to the salaries Israel pays to soldiers.” [emphasis added]

Yet the BBC’s guidance on online content states that:

However long ago our online content was first published, if it’s still available, editorial complaints may legitimately be made regarding it.

Obviously then, the inaccurate and misleading claim that there is only “sketchy” evidence of Palestinian Authority financing of and rewards for terrorists in that 2007 piece needs to be corrected.

Clearly, too, BBC audiences’ understanding of the frequently recurring topic of Palestinian terrorism would benefit from some accurate, impartial and comprehensive coverage of this much-neglected issue.

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