BBC apologises after presenter said 'Israeli forces are happy to kill children'

Anjana Gadgil questioned former Israeli PM Naftali Bennett over the IDF's military operation in Jenin


The BBC has apologised after a presenter insisted that “Israeli forces are happy to kill children” in an interview with Naftali Bennett.

News presenter Anjana Gadgil made the comments whilst discussing Israel’s military operation in Jenin with the former Israeli PM on Tuesday evening. 

After pressure from Jewish community groups who accused the BBC of being impartial and showing anti-Israel bias, the corporation apologised later on Wednesday. 

In the Tuesday night interview, BBC presenter Anjana Gadgil asked Bennett: “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?”

Responding, Bennett said: “Quite to the contrary. Actually, all 11 people dead there are militants. The fact that there are young terrorists who decide to hold arms is their responsibility.”

Bennett went on to say that many of the perpetrators responsible for terror attacks that killed dozens of Israelis over the last year came from or were trained in Jenin.

He added: “Jenin has become an epicentre of terror. All the Palestinians that were killed were terrorists in this case.”

Gadgil then interjected: “Terrorists, but children. The Israeli forces are happy to kill children.”

An angry Bennett then said: “It’s quite remarkable that you would say that because they [the terrorists] are killing us.”

After the ex-Israeli PM asked how she would define an armed 17-year-old shooting at her family, she doubled down, citing the UN which has “defined [the militants] as children.”

Gadgil went on to say after Bennett repeated the question: “We're not talking about that.” 

A BBC spokesperson told the JC: “BBC News has received comments and complaints concerning an interview with Naftali Bennett broadcast on the BBC News channel about recent events in the West Bank and Israel. 

“The complaints raised relate to specific interview questions about the deaths of young people in the Jenin refugee camp.  

“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 apologise that the language used in this line of questioning was not phrased well and was inappropriate.”

However, the corporation stressed the BBC covered the wider events in Jenin in an “impartial and robust way.”

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