The BBC has apologised after one of its presenters said that “Israeli forces are happy to kill children” in an interview with the country’s former prime minister.
Anjana Gadgil made the comments while she was speaking to Naftali Bennett about the country’s military action in Jenin.
In an interview on Tuesday evening, she 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 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.”
He added that many of those responsible for terror attacks that had killed dozens of Israelis over the past year either came from Jenin or had been trained there.
He said: “Jenin has become an epicentre of terror. All the Palestinians that were killed were terrorists, in this case.”
Ms Gadgil then added: “Terrorists, but children. The Israeli forces are happy to kill children.”
Mr Bennett, who appeared visibly angered, said: “It’s quite remarkable that you would say that because they [the terrorists] are killing us.”
When he asked her how she would define an armed 17-year-old shooting at her family, she said that the United Nations had defined militants as “children”.
She went on to say after Mr Bennett repeated the question: “We’re not talking about that” and described the Israeli military operation in Jenin as a “targeted attack”.
The BBC received several complaints about the exchange. A spokesman for the corporation 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.”