On June 5th a video billed “1967 Six Day War – in 60 seconds” appeared on the BBC News website’s main homepage and its Middle East page.
The video itself is titled “Six Day War: What happened – in 60 seconds” and its synopsis reads:
“In June 1967, Israel and Arab countries fought a war which lasted six days, but changed the face of the Middle East.”
The video’s opening frame tells viewers that they are about to learn “How the conflict unfolded”. However, the events which caused Israel to launch what the BBC rightly recognises as “a pre-emptive strike” are bizarrely erased from this account. The video continues:
“Day 1 June 5 1967
In a pre-emptive strike Israeli planes took out Egypt’s air force before it could take off
As fighting began, Israel also attacked Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi air forces, gaining air supremacy
Israeli ground forces enter the Sinai to fight the Egyptian army
Jordanian army shells West Jerusalem and other Israeli cities
Day 2 June 6 1967
Heavy combat between Israeli and Jordanian forces across Jerusalem and the West Bank
Day 3 June 7 1967
Israel captures the Old City of Jerusalem with its holy sites: Western Wall and Dome of the Rock
Day 4 June 8 1967
In the south, Israeli forces reach the Suez Canal, capturing the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt
Israel takes over the West Bank. An estimated 300,000 refugees flee to Jordan
Day 5 June 9 1967
In the north, Israeli forces push into the Syrian Golan Heights, taking most of it from Syria
Day 6 June 10 1967
Israeli forces capture more territory on the Golan Heights. Ceasefire declared ending the war.”
Completely absent from this backgrounder is any mention of the crucial events which preceded Israel’s preemptive strike on June 5th 1967: the massing of Egyptian troops in Sinai, the UN’s removal of peacekeeping forces from Sinai at Nasser’s demand, the closure of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt, the massing of troops by other Arab countries on Israel’s borders or Israel’s concerted diplomatic efforts to avoid the conflict.
Neither is any mention made of the message conveyed by the Israeli prime minister to the King of Jordan on the morning of June 5th, telling him that “we shall not engage ourselves in any action against Jordan, unless Jordan attacks us”. Likewise, Syrian attacks on Israeli communities both before and during the war are completely eliminated from the BBC’s account.
Once again we see that the BBC is not in the least committed to providing its audiences with the full range of accurate and impartial information that would enhance their knowledge and understanding of an event it so vigorously promotes.