Learning by rote with the BBC

‘Repetitio est mater studiorum’. So goes the old Latin proverb which alludes to the long recognised connection between repetition and learning.  

In an article entitled “John Kerry hails plan to boost Palestinian economy” which appeared in the Middle East section of the BBC News website on May 26th readers were told:

“Mr Kerry has called on Israel to prevent further settlement building where possible in the West Bank but has stopped short of calling for a total freeze.

Palestinian officials want all settlement activity in the West Bank to stop before they return to negotiations with Israel.

Israel says it will not accept any preconditions for talks.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

Other contentious issues include borders, the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.”

The same five sentences appeared in almost exactly the same form and order – albeit with other statements interspersed – in another BBC article published two days earlier on May 24th.

“Mr Kerry called on Israel to prevent further settlement building where possible in the West Bank but stopped short of calling for a total freeze. […]

Palestinian officials want all settlement activity in the West Bank to stop before they return to negotiations with Israel.

Israel says it will not accept any preconditions for talks. […]

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

The main issues to be addressed in a peace agreement include borders, the future of Jewish settlements, the status of Jerusalem and fate of Palestinian refugees.”

So just how frequently are BBC News website readers exposed to the repetition of the narrative whereby “Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law”? In addition to the two articles above, during the last four weeks alone that same message appeared in articles published on May 16th, May 9th, May 7th and April 30th: six times (at least) in four weeks. 

And yet, not once in any of those articles was the slightest attempt made to inform readers of the wider aspects of the issue beyond that trite slogan or to present alternative views on the subject or even to inform BBC audiences of the fact that there are opposing views to it which come from non-Israelis.  

One might almost think that the BBC does not want readers to be able to make up their own minds on the subject or to have informed opinions – preferring instead that they diligently learn the party line by rote. 

 

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12 comments on “Learning by rote with the BBC

  1. There are no “wider aspects” to the total illegality of settlements on the West Bank.

    We now know that even the legal advisor of the Israeli government of the time, Theodore Meron, told Israel they’d be illegal before they started.

    • Professor Stone Professor , a leading authority on the Law of Nations, categorically rejected the use of the term “occupied territory” to describe the territories controlled by Israel
      “That because of the ex iniuria principle, Jordan never had nor now has any legal title in the West Bank, nor does any other state even claim such title. Article 49 seems thus simply not applicable. The Fourth Geneva Convention applies only, according to Article 2, to occupation of territory belonging to ‘another High Contracting Party’; and Jordan cannot show any such title to the West Bank, nor Egypt to Gaza.”.

      • Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank was entirely legal. Accepted by the two important parties (residents and adjoining states) and not protested by anyone.

        Dramatically different from the claimed annexation of East Jerusalem, which was and is condemned by everyone.

        • Jordan annexation of the WB was recognize by only Britian and Pakistan .Even the arab leage didin;t recognized it. What makes Jordan occupation legall and the Israeli one not? if all the people in the West Bank became Jordnaian citizents than how come 19 years later they were again palestinian refugees?
          The fact that there was no protest just prove world Hopocricy .The same way there is no protest aginstn turkey occupation of north Cyprus.

          • It is beyond belief that some Zionists now claim there was anything improper about Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank.

            It (and the division of Jerusalem between Israel and Jordan) was suggested by the Zionists in 1937 at the Peel Commission. There was some kind of further deal in 1947 between Jordan and the Zionists preparatory to Israel seizing everything it could, going far beyond what it had illegally been “granted” by UNGA 181. Jordan agreed that Israel was to have West Jerusalem (only).

            After the event, Moshe Shertok, speaking for Israel, proposed that Jordan have the West Bank (and West Jerusalem?) on the 6th Oct 1948 and the US supported the same thing in Dec.

            Later again, annexation was requested by the WB Palestinians and legitimised by the Arab League in 1950. Neighbouring states were still very angry with Jordan for their collaboration with the aggressors, but they agreed to accept Jordan as a “trustee”. Which amounts to the same thing.

            Further recognition of this uncontroversial annexation was not necessary or even particularly desirable – compare that with the wholesale condemnation by everyone in the world of Israel with its claimed annexation of East Jerusalem.

            See United Nations Security Council Resolution 252 of 21 May 1968, UNSC 267 of 3 July 1969, UNSC 271 of 15 Sept 1969, UNSC 298 of 25 Sept 1971, UNSC 465 of 1 Mar 1980 and UNSC 476 of 30 Jun 1980. And by many lesser General Assembly resolutions. Israel’s advance over the Green Line was condemned again in 2004 by the World Court (a body that Israel signed up to join because it wanted disputes settled according to law and not by force … ho-ho).

          • As far as I can remember 181 was rejected by the arabs. Why is is improper. According to the San Remo resolution the West Bank than Judea and Samaria were to part of the Jewish state. Jordan didn;t have any claime for the West Bank.
            all the people who lived there were Jordanian citizents how come after 1967 they became Palesitnian refugees?

      • That is just so convincing:

        The following text is an adapted Google translation of the article published by Dreuz

        … and as should be obvious, French courts can rule on French contracts, they do not and cannot rule on the legality of the settlements.

      • Then lets test their legality in court.

        Oh, look, they’ve been tested by a court (the one that Israel begged to be subject to, remember?) and found to be illegal by an unusually decisive 14-1-0 decision.

        And they are even making Israel’s last friend in the world most unhappy.

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