On the afternoon of December 28th the BBC News website published the following ‘breaking news’ (relating to this story):
Leaving aside the noteworthy (though not novel) editorialising use of the word “outburst” (defined as “a sudden release of strong emotion”), it is of course impossible for something to be both the “latest” (i.e. most recent) and “unprecendented” (i.e. “never done or known before). Apparently somebody at the BBC got so carried away that both impartiality and grammar were sidelined.
In the six hours or so following its initial publication, that article was amended numerous times and now goes under the title “John Kerry warns Israel over peace deal with Palestinians“. From the sixth version of the article onwards, an insert was added which purports to explain to BBC audiences “What is the two-state solution?”.
Readers of versions six to nine inclusive were told that: [emphasis added]
“A “two-state solution” to the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the declared goal of their leaders and many international diplomats and politicians.
It is the shorthand for a final settlement that would see the creation of an independent state of Palestine on pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, living peacefully alongside Israel.
The United Nations, the Arab League, the European Union, Russia and the United States routinely restate their commitment to the concept.”
Notably, that BBC portrayal of the two-state solution promotes and amplifies the Palestinian interpretation of it as meaning a Palestinian state on all of the territory occupied by Jordan and Egypt between 1948 and 1967.
Further, the BBC told its audiences that various international bodies and countries are ‘committed’ to that concept when in fact the UN, the EU, Russia and the US in their ‘Quartet’ capacity support “an agreement that […] resolves all permanent status issues as previously defined by the parties; and fulfils the aspirations of both parties for independent homelands through two States for two peoples”. Those “permanent status issues” defined in the Oslo Accords of course include borders and Jerusalem.
Noteworthy too is the fact that the BBC’s portrayal of the two-state solution does not include the all-important phrase “two states for two peoples” – a definition which would require Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state.
At some point somebody at the BBC News website apparently realised that the phrase “on pre-1967 ceasefire lines” is problematic and in version 10 of the article that paragraph was changed to read:
“It is the shorthand for a final settlement that would see the creation of an independent state of Palestine within pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, living peacefully alongside Israel.” [emphasis added]
However, no footnote was added explaining the amendment and those who read the previous four versions of the report have no way of knowing that the information they were given is inaccurate.
Moreover, the amended version still does not include the phrase “two states for two peoples” and that omission means that BBC audiences remain unaware of that key aspect to the answer to the question “What is the two-state solution?”.
That in turn means that if BBC audiences were to come across (non-BBC produced) reports concerning any of the numerous Palestinian rejections of Israel as the Jewish state – including those voiced after the speech by the US Secretary of State to which later versions of this article relate – they would be unable to understand the significance of statements such as the following from BBC frequent flyer Mustafa Barghouti:
“PLO Executive Committee member Mustafa Barghouti welcomed the overall message of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Wednesday, but he said the Palestinian leadership cannot accept the top US diplomat’s suggested parameters. […]
Barghouti elaborated that the Kerry’s principles pertaining to refugees, recognition of the Jewish state, and Jerusalem are “unacceptable.” […]
“Second, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would deny the right of the Palestinian people who are citizens of Israel and that is totally unacceptable.
Israel cannot be a Jewish and a democratic state at the same time,” Barghouti continued.
Kerry said that both sides will have to recognize each other including Israel recognizing Palestine as a home for Palestinians, and Palestine recognizing Israel as a home for Jews.”
In other words, the BBC’s promotion and amplification of the PLO’s interpretation of the two-state solution flies directly in the face of its remit of enhancing “audiences’ awareness and understanding of international issues”.