The link to an article which appeared on the Middle East page of the BBC News website on November 8th under the heading “Israel loses Unesco voting rights” leads readers to a report actually titled “US loses Unesco voting rights after failing to pay its dues” on the website’s US & Canada page.
“The U.S. loss of voting rights comes as Washington tries to keep peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinians afloat.
Both parties have signalled poor progress in the talks, which were revived in July after a three-year hiatus but recently became stymied over Israeli plans to continue building Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
The end of the BBC’s report reads:
“The US suspension comes amid attempts by Washington to broker peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The talks have hit a stumbling block in the last week over the continued Israeli expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
The BBC (which, unlike private news agencies, is committed to accuracy and impartiality in its reporting) fails to inform audiences of the fact that no building freeze was agreed upon as part of the preconditions to this latest round of talks.
“Even Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, opposed to these [building] announcements at the time, said categorically in an Israel Radio interview on Monday that these announcements were not in violation of any obligation Israel took upon itself when entering the talks with the Palestinians in late July.”
Additionally, the report fails to clarify to BBC audiences that additional issues besides Israeli building tenders have been promoted by the Palestinian leadership “in the last week” as a “stumbling block” to the continuation of talks.
“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Fatah leaders Monday that the negotiations have not borne any fruit, and warned that the talks may explode. He also said he would not agree to an Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley, or recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”
This is of course far from the first time that the BBC has sought to keep audiences exclusively focused on the subject of Israeli building projects at the expense of their understanding of additional issues of no less importance to the progression of talks.
The repeated presentation of Israeli building activities as the sole impediment to these preliminary talks misleads audiences by concealing the fact that the status of Israeli communities in Judea & Samaria is one of several – including Jerusalem – to be discussed in Final Status Negotiations – which have yet to take place. It also misleads by neglecting to clarify the fact that there is nothing in the Oslo Accords – to which the Palestinian representatives were willing signatories – which precludes building until agreements have been reached in those Final Status Negotiations.
The fact that the misleading mantra of ‘settlements as the main obstacle to peace talks’ is inserted as a matter of form even into tangentially related articles such as this one, is clear indication of its political purpose and of the BBC’s adoption of the narrative being promoted by the PLO as a political tactic.