... as BBC protests after journalists held at gun point

Relations between the BBC and Israel further deteriorated after soldiers held three journalists at gunpoint for four hours last Thursday.

The BBC confirmed it has filed a formal complaint to the Israeli authorities after a television crew was detained by soldiers in Nablus “in our view improperly.”

The crew was accompanying a Palestinian doctor as he visited an elderly patient in the city, when they were all held by seven Israeli soldiers who had taken over the woman’s home, according to the BBC. The soldiers then seized the journalists’ phones and videotape, banning them from making contact with anyone until they were released.

The Israeli military said the journalists had walked into an undercover operation and had to be detained in order not to expose the mission.

“Unfortunately there was no other way the soldiers could have acted without exposing themselves and endangering themselves,” said army spokeswoman Major Sharon Feingold.

The move will have worsened already fraught relations between the BBC and the Israeli authorities, recently exacerbated when the BBC commissioned and aired a BBC Two documentary interview of nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, barred from speaking to foreigners.

That came after regular accusations of “anti-Israeli bias” levelled against the broadcaster and culminated in the country withdrawing its co-operation with the BBC for a period last year.

By Wale´ Azeez

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