One might perhaps expect that an article titled “Palestinian prisoners ‘moved’ before Israel release” would be about prisoners. But in fact the report of that title (including the curious use of apostrophes) appearing on the Middle East page of the BBC News website on August 13th was largely about something else.
The final version of the 667-word article (not including the side-box of ‘analysis’) contains 244 words relating to the subject of Palestinian prisoners scheduled for release. A further sixty-seven words are devoted to reporting the firing of missiles at Eilat in the early hours of the same day – an event apparently not deemed worthy of a report in its own right – which was also briefly mentioned at the bottom of this article.
So what are the other 356 words (along with a further 21 words of photo captions) in this article about? A clue comes in the form of the visuals used to illustrate the piece, which include one picture of a Palestinian woman holding a photograph of a prisoner, one picture of apartment buildings under construction and a much-used map of ‘settlements’ in the Jerusalem area.
Yes – the majority of this article is devoted once again to the subject of the recent announcement of the issuing of tenders for the construction of 1,187 homes (not 1,200 as yet again erroneously claimed) in neighbourhoods in Jerusalem, Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, Beitar Ilit and Efrat. And once again that announcement is presented to BBC audiences as likely to “sabotage” renewed peace talks, yet again the report is garnished with a hyperbolic quote from a Palestinian official and as usual the article contains some of the standard misleading BBC slogans which are inevitably now part and parcel of any report relating to the subject of construction.
“About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.”
It’s hardly surprising that some people consider the BBC to be promoting an agenda, is it?