Marcus’ report (from 37:49 here) provided listeners with a good picture of the current situation along the border between Israel and Syria and the potential implications.
“The changes in Syria have brought Iran closer to Israel’s borders than ever. […]
It does create at least in theory the possibility of Iranian-Hizballah cooperation not only along the border between Israel and Lebanon but along the border between Israel and Syria as well. Israel has never faced that kind of situation on the northern border.”
However, audiences also heard a much less helpful portrayal of the events which brought about Israeli control over the Golan Heights in Marcus’ opening to the report.
“This is Israel’s front line with Syria. The Syrian army was evicted from the Golan Heights when Israeli forces captured it in 1967. Israeli law was extended here in 1981, effectively annexing this crucial strategic high ground.”
On February 8th a written report on the same topic appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page under the headline “Is a new Middle East war on Israel’s horizon?“. While as interesting and informative as the audio report, the article similarly presents a context-free portrayal of the Six Day War.
“This is Israel’s front line with Syria. The Syrian army was evicted from the Golan Heights when Israeli forces captured it in the 1967 Middle East war.
Israeli law was extended there in 1981 – effectively annexing this crucial strategic high ground. It is now a heavily fortified area.”
As regular readers will be aware, it is extremely rare for BBC audiences to be provided with the background information necessary for their understanding of the events which preceded Israel’s capture of the Golan Heights and additional areas in 1967. All too often we see that the BBC begins its accounts of history in June 1967 without providing the necessary context.
With the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War approaching – and with it, one can assume, augmented BBC coverage of the topic – it is obviously all the more important for audiences to be provided with accurate, impartial and comprehensive information concerning the background to that war.