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BBC apologizes after news anchor asks Bennett if Israeli forces 'happy to kill children' during Jenin operation

Former Israeli prime minister rebukes BBC anchor on air for her inaccurate statements

BBC anchor Anjana Gadgil interviews former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (Photo: Screenshot)

BBC anchor Anjana Gadgil asked former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett if “Israeli forces are happy to kill children during a recent confrontational interview about Israel’s latest counter-terrorism operation in Jenin. 

"The Israeli military are calling this a 'military operation,' but we now know that young people are being killed, four of them under eighteen. Is that really what the military set out to do? To kill people between the ages of 16 and 18?” Gadgil asked Bennett.

The former premier rebuked Gadgil for her factually inaccurate statement. 

"Actually, all 11 people dead there are militants. The fact that there are young terrorists who decide to hold arms is their responsibility." 

“Terrorists, but children," Gadgil stated.

"The Israeli forces are happy to kill children?” she asked, as she pressed Bennett further, which forced him to not only justify Israel's position to protect itself against terrorists but to correct her portrayal of the IDF counter-terrorism operation in Jenin, which "has become an epicenter of terror."

Even so, the BBC anchor continued to interrogate Bennett with an insulting line of questioning about the operation, eventually asking Bennett about the displaced residents of the Jenin refugee camp.

”Can you say with assurance that cautions are being taken to prevent the loss of civilian life," Gadgil asked the former prime minister, to which he replied, "Absolutely."

“But we also know that 3,000 people have been forced to leave Jenin, so they fear for their lives,” she continued.

“I can understand that, and fortunately these 3,000 civilians are not killed temporarily," Bennett explained. "They left the center of the camp – not Jenin – they left the camp because the camp has become a terror camp and we have to go in, clean up the terror and leave."

“Where are those 3,000 people going to go now?” she continued.

“They're gonna find a temporary sanctuary… Look, this is not something we want to do. You're presenting it as if, you know, we enjoy this," Bennett replied, before continuing to answer her questions.

Toward the end of the interview, Gadgil insinuated that Israel's military operation was an "action" taken to distract from current divisions within Israeli society.

"Is there something, is there something in this action to distract from what else is going on in Israeli politics?” she asked, and again repeated the question..."Is this just something to distract from the other things that are going wrong in Israel right now?"

The Board of Deputies of British Jews blasted the BBC anchor in an official statement. 

"We are appalled by comments made by a BBC presenter during an interview with former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.” 

BBC has a history of bias against the Jewish state. For instance, during the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, BBC frequently refused to use the word terrorism when the victims were Israeli Jews. In addition, the BBC has been accused of trying to create a false moral equivalence between terrorists targeting civilian Israelis and IDF forces eliminating armed terrorists. 

Following significant criticism, BBC Dir.-Gen. Tim Davie eventually apologized for the network anchor’s question to Bennett about Israeli forces being happy to kill children.

“Across the BBC’s platforms – including the BBC News Channel – these events have been covered in an impartial and robust way. The United Nations raised the issue of the impact of the operation in Jenin on children and young people. While this was a legitimate subject to examine in the interview, we apologize that the language used in this line of questioning was not phrased well and was inappropriate,” stated Davie. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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