The BBC, olive groves, and the murder of teenage girls

October 30, 2002


1. A war of attrition against the Jewish state
2. Lawyers in Britain trying to arrest Shaul Mofaz
3. BBC incorrectly reports PA condemnation
4. "Olive groves have been bulldozed to build settlements"
5. "Olive trees provide cover for Palestinian terrorists" (, Oct. 30, 2002)
6. "Leading Israeli authors help Palestinians harvest olives" (DPA, Oct. 30, 2002)
7. Excerpts from the new Hamas comic; praising terrorism to children (Oct. 23, 2002)


[Note by Tom Gross]

In what some are calling its war of attrition against the Jewish state, the BBC continues to provide misinformation on a daily basis. I attach three examples of this from recent days, relating to (1) the non-massacre at Jenin last April, (2) the murder of three Israelis in Ariel last Sunday, and (3) olive groves. The olive grove story is significant because last night's murder of an Israeli woman and two teenage girls a terror attack that has barely been reported on in the Western press today was carried out by gunman hiding in olive groves, according to the report (attached below, 4) from CNSNews's Jerusalem bureau chief.

I also attach a report by the German press agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) titled "Leading Israeli authors help Palestinians harvest olives," and some excerpts from a new Hamas comic which praises terrorism to children. The comic characters urge the children to "fight and kill the Jews."


Lawyers in Britain are trying to have retired Israeli general Shaul Mofaz arrested for war crimes. Even months after it's been disproved by a UN report, a Human Rights Watch report and the Palestinians themselves (who now refer to it as "a victory"), the BBC uncritically repeats the Jenin "massacre" Big Lie.

From the BBC website, October 29, 2002: "General Mofaz gained a reputation for tough tactics against the Palestinian uprising in the occupied Gaza Strip and the West Bank. He directed some of Israel's most controversial military operations in the West Bank earlier this year, including Jenin where Palestinians claim a massacre took place and Ramallah."


On Sunday October 27, BBC World correspondent Jim Fish reported from Jerusalem that the PA had "rushed to condemn" the Ariel suicide bomb that killed three Israelis and injured dozens. In fact, the opposite was true. PA ministers Imad Falouji and Ghassan Khatib pointedly did not condemn the attack, because it was targeted at soldiers in a settlement, and indeed Nobel peace prize winner Yasser Arafat's Fatah (along with Hamas) proudly claimed responsibility for the murders.


Lately many publications have run articles about olive groves in the West Bank. The BBC published a piece on the decreased Palestinian olive harvest, placing the blame squarely on Israel. The article's main photo caption read: "Olive groves have been bulldozed to build settlements." After reader complaints that this was inaccurate, the caption was changed to "Olive groves have been bulldozed by the Israeli army." Neither the BBC caption nor article let readers know that Palestinian snipers have frequently used olive groves to conduct ambushes which resulted in the murder of Israeli citizens.

-- Tom Gross



Olive trees provide cover for Palestinian terrorists
By Julie Stahl
October 30, 2002

A Palestinian terrorist gunned down two 14-year-old girls and a woman overnight after infiltrating a West Bank settlement.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction claimed responsibility for the attack. It identified the gunman as Tariq Abu Safakeh, 22, of Tulkarem.

Linoy Saroussi and Hadas Turgeman were sitting on a bench chatting outside Linoy's house in the small community of Hermesh, located in between the Palestinian cities of Jenin and Tulkarem, when they were sprayed with automatic weapons fire.

The girls died a short time later, the army spokesman said. The assailant also came upon the open door of the Eshel home and fired into the house, killing Orna, 53 and injuring her husband.

A woman in the community fired a gun at the terrorist but missed when her gun jammed. Two other Israelis were wounded before soldiers were able to kill him.

Hermesh resident, Pessach Rubin, 46, lives just 30-40 meters from the area where the murders happened.

"I heard shouting in Arabic," Rubin said. It was less than two minutes between the time the shooting started and the soldiers responded and another few minutes before the terrorist was killed, he added.

Rubin explained that the terrorist was able to penetrate the community by crawling underneath the perimeter fence at a gate used by Palestinian olive harvesters.


There are several places, he said, where a few olive trees belonging to the surrounding groves are within the community boundaries. Rather than cut them down, the settlement made a provision for the olive harvesters to pick olives within the community.

"Somebody guided this terrorist," Rubin said. There were two sets of footprints leading directly to the place of the penetration, which is only 10-20 meters from the houses, he said.

"We may be naive that we [permit] them to harvest the trees," he added.

During the last few weeks there have been a number of incidents where settlers attacked Palestinian olive pickers in groves elsewhere in the West Bank.

Leftwing Israeli activists and some foreigners have banded together to help the Palestinians harvest their crops. Four foreigners, including an American, were among eight harvesters attacked and lightly injured by settlers over the weekend.

But Rubin said that maybe the settlers were doing the right thing by trying to push the harvesters away from the boundaries of their communities so they could not use the harvest as an excuse to come close to the settlements to collect information that might lead to attacks.

Although there have been incidents of stoning or shooting along the road to Hermesh, this was the first attack on the community itself, and until now it had good relations with its Arab neighbors, Rubin said.

Rubin, an aeronautical engineer who moved to Hermesh three years ago, said the community is not a religious or ideological settlement. Established in the early 1980s, it will soon mark its 20th anniversary.

Rubin, who owns an apartment in the center of the seaside city of Netanyah, said the attack would not deter him. "As long as I can I will live here," he said.

Two years ago, the community was almost full to capacity with about 80 families living there. A year ago after a year of violence and terrorism it had dropped to 35 families but some of those have begun to return and now there are some 40 families in the community.

Two of those killed were from families who had just returned to Hermesh in the last few months, Rubin said.

"Yesterday, I spoke with the kids [of the community]," Rubin said. "[As Jews] we are born into this agony and all the time we are trying to push [away] the timeline of when we will first meet it."

It might be at school age, or in the army or doing reserve duty that somebody one cares for or knows personally will die from something unnatural, he said.

Psychologists on Wednesday went to the Omer High School, which Linoy and Hadas attended, to help students there deal with the sudden loss of their friends.

Another Hermesh resident Avi Hachmon was quoted in the Hebrew paper Yediot Aharonot describing Linoy and Hadas as "wonderful girls...who contributed to the settlement and to all of us."

"Our two flowers have been cut down. Linoy's parents had wanted to leave the settlement, but Linoy told her father, 'If you want to leave, then do I'm staying," Hachmon said.

"I think now [the world] understand[s] our position in dealing with terror," Rubin said. "It's everybody's problem."



Leading Israeli authors help Palestinians harvest olives
By DPA (German press agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur)
October 30, 2002

Reacting to attempts by Israeli settlers to harass Palestinian olive pickers, bestselling Israeli authors A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, Meir Shalev and David Grossman toured villages in the West Bank Wednesday and helped residents harvest their olives, Israel Radio reported.

Extremist settlers in the northern West Bank have in recent weeks disrupted the Palestinian olive harvest, beating and sometimes firing at Palestinians and Israeli peace activists who come to help them.

Most Israeli politicians have condemned the harassment, but police and the Israeli army have been unable to help the Palestinians and only a handful of settlers have been arrested.



Excerpts from the new Hamas comic; praising terrorism to children
October 23, 2002

Hamas has launched a new comic for children, al-Fateh ( The second edition, (October 2002) as published on the Internet site of the Hamas movement, lashes out against the "Jewish enemy" and the other countries that assist it against the Palestinians.

The newspaper also attacks those assisting the "Jewish enemy" from within the Palestinian population, portraying them as traitors who sell themselves to the Jews. The newspaper connects the Jihad and the religion of Islam. It calls upon children to educate themselves according to Islam, in order for them to become Jihad fighters and assist the Palestinians. Below the headline, "Why is Darer Furious?" Darer is the name of one of the children is a dialogue between two Palestinian children. The dialogue indicates that children are integral participants in the Palestinian Intifada. The children complain of the silence of the Arab world regarding the current events in the region and they mention their own never tiring activity on behalf of the Intifada: "We, the children of Palestine, take part in the national struggle and encourage our heroes... We observe the actions of the settlers and of the soldiers of the occupation, and report it to our heroes..."

One of the children seeks justification for his claims from within Islamic tradition. "Our expectations will not be fulfilled until we fight and kill the Jews, especially as we are standing east of the river [of Jordan] with the Jews still standing west of the river of Jordan; and until the rock and the tree says, 'woe Muslim, woe subjects of Allah, here is a Jew [hiding] behind me. Come and kill him...' "

Also mentioned is the story of the children who were allowed to take part in the battle of Dar by the prophet Muhammad. It was at Dar, when Muhammad defeated the heretics and the Kuriyesh tribe on his way from Meca to Medina in 624CE. During the battle the children stabbed Abu-Jahal to death. As part of its non-compromising and militant nature, the comic quotes the Syrian poet, Omer Bhaa-Dein, resident in the Persian Gulf. Bhaa-Dein claims that his heart goes out to the Palestinian people, but that he is unable to help them. In addition he wishes that Palestinian children grow to become soldiers of Muhammad. This continues a theme that the comic started in its first edition, when it idolized the legacy of Abde-Alqadar Alhusseini, who was the head of the Nationalist-Palestinian movement in the years before the creation of the Jewish State in 1948. In addition the newspaper dedicates a special corner to the martyr Ismayal el-Muassabi, who blew himself up in 2001 in a car bomb in the northern Gaza strip.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.