BBC advances Palestinian narrative on ‘E1’

In no fewer than three articles currently available on the BBC News website’s Middle East page, we find the promotion of the narrative according to which Israeli building in the area known as E1 would prevent territorial contiguity in a future Palestinian state. 

An article from November 30th 2012 entitled “Israel to build 3,000 settler homes after UN vote” states that:

“Plans to build settlements in the area, known as E1, are strongly opposed by Palestinians, who say the development will cut the West Bank in two, preventing the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state.”

Another article from December 1st 2012, entitled “Hillary Clinton warns Israel on settler homes” repeats the same mantra:

“Plans to build settlements in the area, known as E1, are strongly opposed by Palestinians, who say the development will cut the West Bank in two, preventing the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state.”

A third article entitled “UN’s Ban Ki-moon warns Israel of ‘fatal blow’ to peace“, dated December 3rd 2012, states:

“Plans for construction in the E1 envelope are strongly opposed by Palestinians, who say such development will prevent the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state.”

All three articles also include the same not-so-handy map, which does little to explain the issue to BBC audiences. 

bbc map E1

The claim repeated in all three of the BBC articles above is far from a new one. Back in 2005 our colleagues at CAMERA produced a much more comprehensive map which puts the subject of “E1” into perspective. 

map E1 camera

For an explanation of the map and more reading on the subject, see here


An additional article from December 3rd – “UK and France summon Israeli envoys in settlements row” – promotes the same erroneous narrative both in the body of the article itself and in a sidebar with analysis from the BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus.  

JM art E1


Yet another article published on December 3rd  – written by Jonathan Marcus and entitled “Israeli settlement move risks diplomatic fallout” – also repeats the same narrative. Notably, in both cases Marcus omits the caveat of “Palestinians say”, thus presenting the narrative as fact.

Whilst referring to the Israeli decision not to transfer customs revenues to the Palestinian Authority this month, Marcus makes no mention of the long standing arrears well in excess of 700 million shekels which the Israeli Electricity Corporation is owed by the PA and the Palestinian-owned ‘East Jerusalem Electricity Company’ (which supplies power to Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho and Beit Jala, among other places) and which those revenues will go towards paying. 

The Israeli Electric Corporation also supplies electricity to Gaza, for which it does not receive any payment from the Hamas regime, as well as to parts of PA-controlled territory not supplied by the ‘East Jerusalem Electricity Company’ such as Jenin and Hebron. The cost of that electricity is taken from the revenues collected on behalf of the PA by Israel. The Palestinian Authority uses some 7% of the total electricity generated by the Israeli Electric Corporation.  Meanwhile, Israeli consumers were informed this year that their electricity bills will rise by 31% over the next three years.  

JM 2 E1



56 comments on “BBC advances Palestinian narrative on ‘E1’

  1. BBC does not “advance the Palestinian narrative”.

    BBC advances the principles of international humanitarian law agreed upon by the entire international community, including the United States of America, and by quite a number of Israeli politicians.

  2. The BBC, according to its Charter, is obliged to report in a neutral and informative fashion. It is in fact prohibited from advancing anything.

    • The fact the same wording cropped up three times in three separate articles suggests the BBC draws upon set phrases and prescribed terminology from a central database. This should be investigated and brought to the licence fee payer’s attention.

      • Of course the BBC uses standard wording, for two obvious reasons:
        1) When dealing with sensitive topics they have to ensure neutrality and balance. Words and phrases that meet these standards are bound to be used repeatedly.
        2) It’s a damn sight quicker to copy and paste than to re-invent the wheel for every report.

        Why would licence fee payers be concerned?

        • I see, so that’s the reason the British Bigotry Corporation consistently refuses to acknowledge the existence of the word terrorist… Thanks for that amazingly dim reply.

          a) Since when did neutrality require the use of copy & paste?
          b) Of course it’s a damn sight quicker to copy & paste and to re-tweet rubbish than to actually make an effort to check certain facts precisely in order to remain neutral and balanced…

          The licence fee payer needs to be concerned by this basic level of so-called journalism, because the licence fee payer is currently financing half a dozen BBC correspondence in Israel and Gaza who are clearly inept, have nothing new to report and who are quite simply unwilling and not skilled enough to conduct quality journalism in line with their vastly inflated and totally unjustifiable salaries.

          Long Live Israel!

          • The only real point in your post concerns use of the word ‘terrorist’. The BBC prefers the term ‘militant’ precisely because it is morally neutral. That doesn’t mean that the BBC regards Hamas rockets (for example) as justified. You will find many comments to the contrary. Equally the BBC doesn’t condemn the IDF as state terrorists. Much more BBC criticism of brutal IDF behaviour would be welcome however.

          • @ sencar: You would do well to consult a dictionary as to the difference between militant and terrorist action. Furthermore, a phrase such as “morally neutral” is a contradiction in terms, but then I wouldn’t expect you to comprehend that. Last but not least, a quick Google search clearly reveals that the BBC does “regard Hamas rockets as justified” and that the British Bigotry Corporation has frequently condemned “the IDF as state terrorists”. I suggest you do your homework prior to posting further idiotic rubbish, because you’re nothing other than a complete and utter joke.

            Long Live Israel!

          • What do you expect? Israelis accuse anyone who disagrees with them of terrorism. After the UN vote they called the UN terrorists! Pathetic.

          • @ Alex (not Alex Beck): Your contrived dribble really is proof Palestinians are truly pathetic liars. You couldn’t even substantiate your claims if you tried.

            Long Live Israel!

          • sencar, the BBC has no problem using the word “terrorist” when it suits – for example when an Real IRA bomb found its way to their front entrance a few years back, which harmed no-one. Likewise, the Mumbai attacks were (rightfully) labelled “terror attacks” – perpetrated by “terrorists”.Only when the victims are Israeli Jews and the terrorists are Palestinians does the BBC develop a problem with the term. Can you explain that double standard?

            Like I said, sencar hates Israel, yet defends the BBC. The two are not a coincidence.

          • Of course you can’t substantiate your claims that Lieberman and Ayalon recently accused the UN of “diplomatic terrorism”, because they really didn’t accuse the U.N. of “diplomatic terrorism” and the pathetically misleading link to the article you provide proves this beyond doubt as well.

            The link you provide is an article by the highly anti-Semitic William Saletan who of course totally misquotes a Jerusalem Post article to which he even links in his very own article you quoted. In the linked and quoted Jerusalem Post article you can read the following facts:

            Ayalon, speaking at a cultural event Saturday in Bat Yam, related to Friday’s Land Day events and said they were a further expression of the Palestinian “strategy of confrontation, and are a continuation of the diplomatic terror that Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] is using against Israel in international forums.”

            Liberman first used this term last week while condemning the PA’s initiative at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to send a fact-finding mission to probe the impact of the settlements on Palestinian human rights. Israel has said it would not cooperate in any way with that mission, and cut off all ties with the Human Rights Council.


            Neither Ayalon nor Liberman accused the UN of “diplomatic terrorism”, instead they quite rightly accused the insanely stupid PA’s initiative at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

            So, not only did your friend William Saletan manage to shoot himself in the foot and disprove his own bigoted views and words of wisdom, but you also managed to disprove your own claims.

            This is absolutely hilarious :-)))

            Thanks for your help you moron and Long Live Israel!!

          • For the definition of ‘diplomatic terrorism’ to be valid, the UN has to concede to the palestinian request, Ergo complicit, ergo terrorist by this definition.

            A dead country walking won’t live long. Sorry friend.

          • How very nice of you to betray your true anti-Semitic feelings. For as long as Palestinians are supported by dumb morons such as yourself, Israel will always be perfectly safe.

        • “It’s a damn sight quicker to copy and paste than to re-invent the wheel for every report”.

          If speed and ease are the prime considerations how much easier and quicker it is to take material directly from a PA propaganda handout than actually to originate it.

          • The BBC realises it is a lot quicker to copy and paste, which is why the BBC has repeatedly copied and re-tweeted all kinds of anti-Israeli innuendo….

          • Adam

            1- You support the settlements built in violation of international law even though they make a two-state solution, and a Jewish state with a Jewish majority, impossible.

            2 – You do not represent Israel, a democracy committed to peace and to freedom of the press; you only represent a tiny, marginalized minority of activists supporting the settlement policy.

            This is not a coincidence.

          • There’s wrong with building settlements in E1. The Palestinians were offered the land repeatedly, could have therefore built their own settlements there decades ago and instead chose to continue terrorising the peace loving and democratic citizens of Israel. Since the Palestinians didn’t want the land in the past, they can’t suddenly lay claim to what they’ve already rejected on several occasions.

            Long Live Israel!

          • CORRECTION

            My iPad’s keyboard must have experienced a minor pro-Palestinian glitch. My last reply should of course have read:

            There is NOTHING wrong with building settlements in E1. The Palestinians were offered the land repeatedly, could have therefore built their own settlements there decades ago and instead chose to continue terrorising the peace loving and democratic citizens of Israel. Since the Palestinians didn’t want the land in the past, they can’t suddenly lay claim to what they’ve already rejected on several occasions.

            Long Live Israel!

          • Alex, the Palestinians cannot be “offered” land in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, since both are part of the territory of Palestine.

          • @ Nat: “Territory of Palestine”? Clearly neither history nor geography are your strengths, for else you’d know there is no such territory of Palestine.

            Long Live Israel!

          • Nat, the setllements are not in violation of international law. I suggest you read San Remo and get an education, instead of parrotting the BBC.

            I never claimed to represent Israel, yet it’s funny how you spend your time doing nothing but vilifying her and her people.

          • “Territory of Palestine”?

            What on earth are you on about? Utterly clueless – this is ahistoric drivel Nat.

          • Adam, the San Remo conference has no validity and you know it. It dates back to 1920 and was based on principles that now violate international law. The conference was attended by colonial powers at the time. It may come as a surprise to you, but the colonialist era of the 1920s has long come to an end and its principles are now outlawed.

          • Adam, I suggest you read the press. Palestine became a state last week, and its internationally recognized borders were acknowledged by most nations in the world – the so-called “1967 borders”.

            Both Israel and Palestine are states, and both Israel and Palestine have borders – you can’t have a state without borders.

            It’s time you move on, get a grasp on reality and focus on what Israelis really want: peace. This is what the Jewish state needs – people who deal with reality, not with their own fantasies, and who help secure peace and safety for Israel.

          • Nat, the whole UN was set up by colonial powers, yet you have no problem slavishly admitring that cesspit of dictatorships.

            By the way, San Remo is valid – your ignorance and posturing isn’t.

      • Nat you aren’t forced to pay for BBC watch – I am forced to pay for the BBC’s institutional antisemitism.

        It’s called choice.

  3. The BBC relies for its legal,/ diplomatic ” facts ” on Her Majesty’s Govt. It is the view of HMG and just about every govt in the world that building in E1 is a sure sign that there is no seriousness in Isreal’s claim that it wants a two state solution. So no prob let it have one state. What a roller coaster ride that is going to be.

  4. Adam Curtis’s BBC-carried blog has a lengthy post called Save Your Kisses For Me: How the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Israeli Right Became Co-Dependants in an Abusive Relationship.

    It’s not malicious per se, but it is replete with errors that diminish Jewish association with Israel, or push it into later periods. For instance, it claims that Zionism was “invented by Theodor Herzl in the 1890s”; something which would have come as a surprise to the many existing Zionist groups of the time. It mentions ” the Zionists who were moving into Haifa and the rest of Palestine in the 1930s”, giving the impression that it was this time that major Jewish immigration to the area began. Here’s a paragraph that sums up Curtis’ approach to history:

    “Starting in the 1930s, the Israelis set out to try and build in Palestine the new kind of Zionist society that Theodor Herzl had laid out in his novel Altneuland – Old New Land. ”

    In fact Tel Aviv was named and formally laid out in 1910 after decades of Jewish migration to the then-small village of Jaffa nearby. The architect Patrick Geddes, referred to by Curtis presented his plan to the Tel Aviv council in 1925 – but Curtis describes this as being based on “the technocratic belief that flourished in the 1930s – and again in the 1950s – that you could shape the environment around human beings as a total system that would make them stronger, more confident and morally better human beings. ”

    So, not only late, but fascist.

    • Alex, you said above:
      “Furthermore, a phrase such as “morally neutral” is a contradiction in terms”

      I’m afraid that it is you who is showing your ignorance. A ‘contradiction in terms’ necessarily requires two elements that are in conflict (e.g. “This black table is white”.). Many expressions can be correctly described as ‘morally neutral’. You may disagree concerning one in particular but that doesn’t make it a ‘contradiction in terms’.

      • @ sencar: Watching a fool like yourself revel in their own ignorance is, in fact, highly entertaining.

        Morality (from the Latin moralitas “manner, character, proper behaviour”) is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are “good” (or right) and those that are “bad” (or wrong).

        Hence, there can be no such thing as moral neutrality, because morality, by its very definition, is never neutral.

        You’re welcome 🙂

        Feel free to sign into the next class of Morality 101 For The Insanely Stupid and until then Long Live Israel!

        • You seem to have lost track of the way in which I used the term ‘morally neutral’ – i.e. to refer to the word ‘militant’. We could probably agree that ‘terrorist’ carries a morally negative connotation and ‘freedom fighter’ a positive one. It must be possible to define a word to describe violent opposition to an occupier that carries neither positive nor negative connotations. The BBC chooses ‘militant’. You are free to invent a new term to do the same job, but it would still imply ‘moral neutrality’, because that was part of your definition.

          • @ sencar: I most certainly didn’t lose track of anything. Putting words in my mouth won’t help you disguise your ignorance. You simply do not appear to be able to comprehend that morality can never ever be neutral. It’s as simple as all that.

            If I didn’t doubt your ability to understand basic definitions, I’d highly recommend you read Isaiah Berlin’s famous essays entitled ‘Concepts and Categories’. Then again I doubt you’d read them, because this great 20th Century philosopher just happened to be Jewish…

            Nonetheless, here’s complete online text of ‘Concepts and Categories’ free for public download:

            Your attempt, to white wash the despicable acts of terrorism to which your Palestinian friends subject innocent women and children, has once again completely failed. And with that in mind I strongly suggest you find yourself another target for your futile attacks against common sense.

      • Sebcar, explain why the term “terrorist” is freely used by the BBC in all cases except where the victims are Israeli Jews. Why were the Mumbai attacks terrorism, when the rockets on Sderot aren’t?

        • “Sebcar, explain why the term “terrorist” is freely used by the BBC in all cases except where the victims are Israeli Jews.”

          These extracts from the BBC Editorial Guidelines may help you, Adam. Then if you can find examples where they have been ignored I’d be interested to see them – in specific quotes not general assertions.

          “Use of Language


          We must report acts of terror quickly, accurately, fully and responsibly. Terrorism is a difficult and emotive subject with significant political overtones and care is required in the use of language that carries value judgements. We try to avoid the use of the term “terrorist” without attribution. When we do use the term we should strive to do so with consistency in the stories we report across all our services and in a way that does not undermine our reputation for objectivity and accuracy.

          The word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should convey to our audience the full consequences of the act by describing what happened. We should use words which specifically describe the perpetrator such as “bomber”, “attacker”, “gunman”, “kidnapper”, “insurgent”, and “militant”. We should not adopt other people’s language as our own; our responsibility is to remain objective and report in ways that enable our audiences to make their own assessments about who is doing what to whom.

          Summary of Main Points

          * There is no agreed consensus on what constitutes a terrorist or terrorist act. The use of the word will frequently involve a value judgement.
          * As such, we should not change the word “terrorist” when quoting someone else, but we should avoid using it ourselves
          * This should not mean that we avoid conveying the reality and horror of a particular act; rather we should consider how our use of language will affect our reputation for objective journalism
          * In a digital age, it is no longer possible to assume an easy split between domestic and overseas audiences.”

          • No sencar – that doesn’t help. Why were the Mumbai attacks terrorism, when the Palestinians bomb a bus full of Jews, it’s simply the act of “militants”? Indeed, the BBc even called the Real IRA’s bombing of their office doorway at midnight, which hurt no-one, “terrorism”.

            I guess it’s didderent when it’s you.

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