As we already know, on Friday October 16th the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet was out and about in Jerusalem. Another of the filmed interviews she conducted on that day was posted on the BBC News website under the title “Palestinian student: Israeli restrictions are ‘very oppressive’“.
Hamas had already declared that day to be yet another ‘Day of Rage’ and the Israeli security forces had taken steps to try to reduce the possibility of violence.
“Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip but has a lesser presence in the Palestinian Authority-ruled West Bank, has called for another “Day of Rage” on Friday and for Palestinians to march on Israeli checkpoints after noon prayers. Hamas had also called for a “Day of Rage” on Tuesday, when three Israelis were killed and several others wounded in a series of attacks in Jerusalem and Ra’anana.
Police announced Thursday night that access to Friday prayers to the flashpoint Temple Mount, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, would be restricted to Muslim men over 40 and women of all ages. A similar restriction was put in place last week.”
Whilst that all-important context may have been provided to viewers of Doucet’s report on BBC television news programmes, it is not in evidence in the website version – which of course is the one which will remain as part of the BBC’s “historical record”.
The report’s synopsis states:
“A Palestinian student has criticised the restrictions Israel has placed on Palestinians, saying they are “very oppressive”.
Majd Awad said that “people are feeling so angry”.
Israeli authorities have been preventing men under the age of 40 from entering the al-Aqsa mosque, which Mr Awad said is “not just a religious symbol” but also a political one and a point of Palestinian identity.”
Visitors to the BBC News website searching for “historical record” in the years to come will find the following context-free ‘information’ provided by Doucet’s interviewee.
“Well, as Palestinians they find it to be very oppressive what they [Israel] are doing. They [Israel] cutting off all roads. Like, in my whole life I never saw the street empty before. They’re not allowing anyone to enter there [Temple Mount] under the age of 40 [age restrictions applied to men only – Ed.]. For them al Aqsa Mosque is something like….not just religious symbol. It’s also political and identity. So they need to go there and see it and for them to be deprived from go over there – to be in their holy place – they feel very angry, very resentful, hateful. So I don’t think those checkpoints and cutting off all those roads will do anything besides escalating the situation.”
Lyse Doucet remains mute, providing no context concerning the declared ‘Day of Rage’ or the terror attacks which had taken place in the days preceding that interview and resulted in seven Israeli fatalities. Her interviewee goes on:
“This whole situation started – and I’m not justifying what’s going on – unfortunate that this is happening. Nobody wants this escalate like this. Unfortunately people are scared that this holy site – this identity that they have since 1,400 years ago – they don’t want it to be divided. They don’t want their holy places to be divided between them and the Jews. They want just to keep it. That’s what they want to have.”
Doucet stays silent, failing to clarify to viewers that not only are there elements which obviously do want the situation to “escalate like this” (such as those calling for ‘Days of Rage’), but that the conspiracy theories concerning the status quo at Temple Mount are utterly baseless.
And that is the picture of the events of October 2015 in Israel which will remain available to British students, academics, teachers and members of the general public in the BBC’s archive of “historical record”.