BBC News amplifies inaccurate US claim of ‘new settlement’

On October 6th an article appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the headline “US ‘strongly condemns’ Israel over new settlement plan“. The report opened by telling readers that:shilo-planning-art

“The US has “strongly condemned” Israel for approving plans for new settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.”

Later on readers were informed that:

“”The actions of the Israeli government in announcing this settlement undermine the pursuit of peace,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

State department spokesman Mark Toner said the new settlement would be “another step towards cementing a reality of perpetual occupation” that would “further call into question Israel’s commitment to achieving a negotiated peace”.” [all emphasis added]

Although the version of the story promoted by the US administration – and uncritically amplified by the BBC – is inaccurate, the corporation did not bother to inform readers in its own words of the fact that no “new settlement” has been announced or planned. Instead it promoted a ‘he said-she said’ account of the story without providing audiences with the background information necessary for their understanding of which of the two versions is correct.

“Its [Israel’s] foreign ministry said the new homes would be built within the area of an existing settlement.”

Some seven hours after its initial publication, the article was amended to include the following additional information:

“However, Israel’s foreign ministry said the new units did not constitute a “new settlement”.

“This housing will be built on state land in the existing settlement of Shilo and will not change its municipal boundary or geographic footprint,” a statement said.”

The 98 approved housing units – and not 300 as this article inaccurately suggests – are indeed intended to be built in a neighbourhood of Shilo, with the purpose of providing accommodation for residents of the unauthorised outpost of Amona which is to be evacuated according to a High Court ruling.

Notably, the BBC did not tell its readers that part of the story. Instead, audiences were left to reach their own conclusions as to whether a “new settlement” is to be constructed or not.

The impartiality of BBC reporting on the subject of construction in Israeli communities in Judea & Samaria and some areas of Jerusalem is already compromised because of the repeated promotion of a politicised narrative.  The bizarre style of reporting seen in this latest article not only does nothing to persuade audiences that the BBC is committed to their going away with an accurate and impartial understanding of the story but also clearly fails to contribute to meeting the corporation’s remit of building understanding of international issues.

Related Articles:

BBC News amends misleading portrayal of Israeli construction

More BBC promotion of the ‘Peace Now’ narrative on construction

7 comments on “BBC News amplifies inaccurate US claim of ‘new settlement’

  1. Israel “occupies” its OWN territory just as the US, England,france and other nations. There is no problem of “settlements” but there is a big problem of western leftwing governments NOT defending their populations including Israel since the PM does not claim sovereignty probably because of the pressures it suffers.

  2. Obama’s two-faced policy towards and against Israel was in this case correctly reported by the BBC and anybody who expects them to point out the inaccuracies in Obama’s speech is, to use the vernacular, “avin a larf”. It was just another marvellous opportunity to slag off Israel without being accused of bias.

  3. The West Bank is NOT Israel legally. Not any government in Israel has annexed it. In Oslo Accords, still valid. From it conquest in a justifiable defensive war, it was and according to Netanyahu still is regarded as to be used as the main element for the creation of a Palestinian state and creation of peace.
    Building more and more settlements preventing peace destroys the very fabric of zionism. Without peace and at least an egalitarian society where this filthy neo liberalism thrives stoked by corruption, THE ZIONIST EXPERIMENT IS IN FAILURE MODE
    The settlers aren’t Israelis any more. They now live in what every sane knows will be PALESTINE. THE SETTLERS ARE DEFACTO PALESTINIANS

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