BBC report on building tenders presented in one-sided political terminology

Here are two Tweets sent from the BBC News (World) Twitter account on October 30th 2013:

BBC World tweet 1

BBC World tweet 2

Note the terminology used: “occupied East Jerusalem”, “obstacle to peace”, “new settlement building”.

Beyond the fact that the second Tweet misleads readers by suggesting that Israel announced the building of at least one “new settlement” (rather than the construction of apartments in an established suburb of its capital city, north of the city centre – not east), the adoption of the language of one party to the dispute is clearly visible in these Tweets and it continues in the article they promote, which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on the evening of October 30th. The article is titled “Israel approves new East Jerusalem settlement homes“.

Ramat Shlomo art

The caption to the photograph appearing at the top of the article reads:

Settlements in East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law” [emphasis added]

That choice of wording fails to inform readers of the fact that there are differing legal opinions on the subject. It also adopts the politically loaded term “East Jerusalem” and uses the politically motivated terminology which describes suburbs of Jerusalem as “settlements”.

The article itself opens:

“Israel has announced plans to build new homes in a Jewish settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, hours after freeing 26 Palestinian prisoners.” [emphasis added]

Language does not get much more political than that.

It goes on:

“An estimated 200,000 settlers currently live in East Jerusalem, alongside 370,000 Palestinians.” [emphasis added]

Again, the BBC adopts the politically motivated stereotypical language of anti-Israel campaigners and the Palestinian Authority.

The article then informs readers that:

“Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and formally annexed the area in 1980. Settlements built there and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal and undivided capital. However, Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.” [emphasis added]

Again, no attempt is made to inform audiences that many others besides Israel dispute that tendentious interpretation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention . Neither is any mention made (as usual) of the fact that Jordan’s 19-year occupation of parts of Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria was never recognized as legal by the international community and that before the Jordanian invasion those areas were part of the Mandate for Palestine established by the League of Nations for the purpose of the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.  By eliminating those all important facts from the picture, the BBC dumbs down the issue and – in true totalitarian tradition – steers readers towards a very specific interpretation of the dispute which is based entirely on certain political views, closing down all other avenues of thought.

The article includes reactions from the PA: Ramat Shlomo

“The Palestinian Authority said the move was “destructive to peace efforts”.” […]

“The Palestinian Authority reacted angrily to Wednesday’s announcement, but it was not immediately clear if it would have any impact on the talks.

“We are worried and concerned that if Israel continues with the expansion of settlements, this might kill the two states vision which we would like to see on this land,” Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for the [Palestinian] president, told the AFP news agency that the move “destroys the peace process and is a message to the international community that Israel is a country that does not respect international law“.”

Naturally, the BBC does not encourage its audiences to consider how the official Palestinian Authority glorification of terrorism as seen in its lavish welcoming ceremonies for the murderers of Israeli and Palestinian civilians just hours beforehand might have an effect on “the peace process”.

Clearly, the BBC has fully embraced the politically motivated terminology used by the Palestinian Authority and fringe groups of radical anti-Israel campaigners, to the extent that parts of this article look more like a PA press release or an article from ‘Electronic Intifada’  than a report written by an organization committed to impartiality which states in its editorial guidelines “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…”.

8 comments on “BBC report on building tenders presented in one-sided political terminology

  1. 1: When did Jerusalem serve as a capital to any Arab Country? Never.
    2: When did Jerusalem serve as a Palestinian capital? Never.
    3: Only Israel have had Jerusalem as there capital in Ancient and modern times. Jerusalem was never in history an Arab capital and never will be one.
    4: How many times is Jerusalem mentioned in the Koran? Zero. Was Mohammed to so badly educated, he could not utter the word “J-e-r-u-s-a-l-e-m”

  2. Israeli on Arab TV: J’lem Was Ours When Moslems Worshipped Idols
    A Bar Ilan Univ. researcher told Al Jazeera, “Jews were in Jerusalem while Muslims were drinking wine; we don’t need your permission to build.”

  3. Jerusalem has had a Jewish population majority since the late 1850s – that’s 130 years already, before ‘Palestinianism’ was invented:

    Jews were expelled from East-Jerusalem by the Jordanian occupation at 1948. They lived in East-Jerusalem for thousands of years. They returned to their homes after Israel liberated the city in 67.

    ISRAEL which is defending itself against Pan-Arabism, Arab imperialism and Arabization of the Middle East – that is the “problem the BBC don’t like.

    The real problem is global Arab/Moslem insistence to spread hate, violence, wars, terrorism, lies, false accusations against Jews and reducing Jews to subhumans or second class citizens – slaves or servants – without any human rights.

    The BBC wants to help the Terrorstinians destroy all Jewish history in Jerusalem.
    PA TV: Western Wall area to be turned into Arab housing neighborhood.
    Palestinian Authority TV:
    Western Wall area to be turned into Arab housing neighborhood -Jewish presence in Jerusalem will be erased from history.
    Aug. 17, 2011

    Palestinian revisionism is the only obstacle to peace
    The attempt to “refute” the Jewish claim to the Western Wall is merely the latest in a series of efforts to deny the Jewish people’s connection with its homeland.

    The recent Palestinian Authority report stating that the Western Wall has no religious or historical significance to the Jewish people is sadly yet another attempt at political historical revisionism. Under normal circumstances, we could dismiss this as a pathetic and infantile attempt to erase the history and peoplehood of another people. Unfortunately, as the recent UNESCO report on Jewish sites in Judea and Samaria exposed, the Palestinian rejectionist narrative is foisted on the international agenda and is supported by an automatic majority in multilateral forums.

    The recent “study” prepared by Al- Mutawakel Taha, a senior official in the PA’s Ministry of Information, attempting to “refute” the Jewish claim to the Western Wall is merely the latest in a series of efforts, stretching back more than 100 years, to deny the Jewish people’s connection with its homeland.

    However, like all Palestinian lies and distortions, it was plucked from thin air. The PA Ministry of Information claims on its website that “according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, published in 1917, the Western Wall became part of the Jewish religious tradition around the year 1520 AD, as a result of Jewish immigration from Spain, after the Ottoman conquest the year 1517.”
    In an age of Internet it is very simple to check this outrageous assertion and expose it for the fraudulence that it is. In fact, the entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1917 provides historic references to the Western Wall from antiquity and certainly before the Arab invasion, conquest and occupation of the Middle East.

    The recent UNESCO report that Rachel’s Tomb near Jerusalem is the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque is an even greater scandal. Bizarrely this claim not only flies in the face of Jewish tradition, it also disposes of hundreds of years of Muslim tradition. Muslims throughout history revered the site as that of Rachel’s Tomb and would regularly visit to pray.

    According to an Ottoman document found by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in 1830 the Turks issued a firman (royal decree) that gave legal force to Rachel’s Tomb being recognized as a Jewish holy site. The governor of Damascus sent a written order to the mufti of Jerusalem to fulfill the sultan’s order: “The tomb of esteemed Rachel, the mother of our Lord Joseph… they [the Jews] are accustomed to visit it from ancient days; and no one is permitted to prevent them or oppose them [from doing] this.”

    THIS HISTORIC denial has political ramifications. In 2000, talks between former prime minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at Camp David in the presence of former US president Bill Clinton broke down over similar historical revisionism. After Barak had made an overly generous offer about splitting sovereignty of the Temple Mount, Arafat claimed that he could not concede an inch of this “Islamic territory” because the Jewish Temple never existed. This “Temple denial” wasn’t just distorting Jewish history and tradition but also Christian. Arafat was attacking the belief of more than a billion Christians worldwide.

    As we approach Christmas, another form of historical revisionism emerges.
    The myth that Jesus was a Palestinian is told to anyone who arrives on a pilgrimage to Bethlehem or other Christian holy sites under the Palestinian Authority.

    However, the facts once again don’t add up. The Jewish province of Judea was destroyed by Roman Emperor Hadrian in 135 C.E. when the Romans quashed the Bar Khochba-led Jewish revolt. To sever the Jewish connection with the Land of Israel, the Roman emperor changed its name to Syria Palaestina, eventually becoming known in English as Palestine.
    According to Christian scholars, Jesus was crucified somewhere between 26 and 36, a full hundred years before the term Palestine had even been coined.

    The world at that time did not have a single mosque and Islam and the Arab conquest of this land was still six centuries away.
    It is perhaps understandable that those who came late to a region would need to supplant a history by appropriating and denying that of its earlier inhabitants. While the Palestinians claim to be the original residents of our land, history and fact stand in their way.

    While the majority of the Jewish people had to endure a two millennia exile from our land, the stones of our Temple, the burial sites of our forefathers, our ritual baths, ancient cisterns and synagogues remained. Palestinians will attempt to destroy historical memory just as surely as they destroyed actual Jewish holy and historical sites like Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
    However, 2,000 years of foreign occupation and attempted negation of Jewish history could not prevent the return of the aboriginal people to our land.

    AS A result of the rejectionism and negationism in its media and education, the PA has become so brazen that it is now selling its lies to the world. The international community needs to utterly reject this anti-Jewish crusade.
    Recent polls among the Palestinians have shown that almost two-thirds would accept a two-state solution only as a first step to an eventual unitary Palestinian state, supplanting Israel.

    This once again proves that the real obstacle to peace is Palestinian rejection of Israel and the self-determination of the Jewish people.

    The PA brainwashes its people to disallow Israel’s legitimacy and falsifies history, Jewish, Christian and Muslim in the process. The international community needs to focus on this issue and completely reject and condemn the Palestinian Authority for its actions. This rejectionism has been at the heart of every failed peace effort for more than 70 years. Palestinian hate and intolerance, more than all the other issues combined, will doom the region to many more years of conflict.

    Peace can only arrive after acceptance of the other, not just a laying down of arms and weapons. It needs to be enforced by mutual recognition. The current Palestinian revisionism doesn’t just distort history and deny our connection with our ancestral home; it denies the possibility of a peaceful resolution to the conflict and a better future for the people of the region.

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