BBC forced into apology after presenter says 'Israeli forces happy to kill children'


The BBC has been forced into an apology after one of its presenters said that “Israeli forces are happy to kill children” in an interview with the former Prime Minister of the country.

Anchor Anjana Gadgil made the remarks while speaking to Naftali Bennett about the country’s military action in the West Bank.

In the interview on Tuesday night, the presenter said: “The Israeli military are calling this a ‘military operation’, but we now know that young people are being killed, four of them under 18.

“Is that really what the military set out to do? To kill people between the ages of 16 and 18?”

Mr Bennett responded: “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.”

He added that a number of those responsible for terror incidents in which dozens of Israeli’s lost their lives in the last 12 months had come from Jenin or had received training there.

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

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

The former Israeli leader, noticeably angered by the comments, replied: “It’s quite remarkable that you would say that because they [the terrorists] are killing us.”

When pushed to define how she would define an armed 17-year-old firing live bullets at her family, she said that the UN had defined militants as “children”.

Mr Bennett repeated the question, to which she said simply: “We’re not talking about that”, branding the Israeli military operation in Jenin as a “targeted attack”.

After receiving a slew of complaints about the row, a BBC spokesman said: “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.”

Israeli media outlets reported that at least 120 individuals suspected of being Palestinian militants had been arrested by the army since the onset of the operation on Monday.

The Palestinian self-rule government in the West Bank, along with three Arab countries that have normalized ties with Israel—Jordan, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates—expressed condemnation of Israel's incursion.

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