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LONDON – The global news agency Reuters has denied it used terminology
associated with anti-Israel activists after it referred to the Israeli army as
“the Israeli occupation forces” in a report on Saturday.
Reporting on the
terrorist attack in Itamar on Friday night, in which a couple and their three
children were killed by a lone terrorist, Reuters stated: “Troops from the
Israeli occupation forces set up roadblocks and were searching the area around
the settlement of Itamar, near the Palestinian city of Nablus, for the
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The phrase was subsequently taken out of later editions of the
“Israel Occupation Forces” or the acronym “IOF” are often used by
vehemently anti-Israel activists as part of the demonization campaign against
The editor of the story was Alastair Macdonald, specialist desk
editor on the world desk at Reuters in London and former bureau chief of Reuters
in Jerusalem. He edited it from reports from Gaza, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Damascus
He told The Jerusalem Post
on Sunday that he did not use
the phrase capitalized or the acronym.
Macdonald said the phrase is one
Reuters tries to avoid, “particularly when capitalized or used with the acronym
‘IOF,’ [which has] become a term associated with the language used by those on
one side of this conflict.”
“We do, of course, routinely refer to the
‘Israeli occupation’ of the West Bank, ‘Israeli forces in the occupied West
Bank’ and many other permutations of those terms in order to explain to readers
the political status of the territory and the mission of the Israeli forces
there,” he said.
Meanwhile, the BBC has been accused of burying the
Itamar attack, focusing instead on the settlement issue.
media watchdog organization Honest Reporting said that most media outlets gave
prominence to the terrorist attack while BBC focused on the settlement issue
with no dedicated reportage of the attack.
Honest Reporting described the BBC treatment of the incident as “shocking” and “callous,” saying that while the news cycle moved on, most media outlets gave prominence to the attack even as part of a story relating to settlements.
“The BBC, however, virtually buried the Fogel family’s massacre, once again demonstrating its obsession with the settlement issue above all other issues relating to the Arab- Israeli conflict,” said a statement issued by the watchdog.
“No dedicated reportage of the brutal attack was featured elsewhere on the site. Instead, subsumed in a story of settlements, it warrants only a few lines. The BBC does, however, report that the attack ‘has shocked many Palestinians.’
“Of course, the BBC failed to mention that Hamas described the attack as a ‘heroic operation’ while candies were handed out in Gaza in celebration,” Honest Reporting added.
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