BBC’s serial omission hinders understanding of history programme

As has been documented on these pages on numerous occasions in the past, the BBC usually avoids informing its audience of the circumstances under which Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem were occupied – and subsequently illegally annexed – by what was at the time still called Trans-Jordan.  

Time and time again BBC audiences are told of ‘occupied Palestinian territories’ without any mention of the inclusion of those areas in the territory assigned by the League of Nations to the creation of a Jewish homeland. Also lacking is explanation of the belligerent British-backed invasion and subsequent ethnic cleansing of Jews from the areas attacked by Jordan in 1948. Instead, the BBC’s portrayal of history almost inevitably begins in 1967 when, audiences are told, “Israel occupied the area” which is euphemistically described as having previously been “under the control of Jordan”.

Even the BBC’s country profile of Jordan erases its 1948 belligerent invasion of land beyond its western border from audience view.

It was against that background of serial omission that listeners to the BBC World Service radio history programme ‘Witness‘ on August 9th heard a programme about events leading up to the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan.

“In August 1994 Yitzhak Rabin became the first Israeli leader publicly to visit Jordan. But in fact talks had been going on for years. Former head of Mossad, Ephraim Halevy, was Israel’s secret peace envoy. He’s been telling Louise Hidalgo about Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan’s clandestine meetings during the often fraught road to peace.”

Listeners were not provided with any background information whatsoever concerning the context to the starting point of this otherwise interesting account. Statements such as the following from Ephraim Halevy went unexplained.

“In 1988 the king [of Jordan] came out with a statement saying that he was renouncing the interest of Jordan in Judea & Samaria, which we call the West Bank.”

Obviously the BBC’s past record of omission on the topic of how Jordan came to have an “interest” in that area and the absence of any reference to Jordan’s belligerent invasion of that territory forty years previously in the country’s online profile means that many if not most listeners would be unable to fill in the gaps for themselves.



3 comments on “BBC’s serial omission hinders understanding of history programme

  1. The description of the events in 1922 are both false and misleading. For starters, there was no “state” created but rather an Emirate of Transjordan that only became independent in 1946 (after the League of Nations ceased operating). Even the Wikipedia entry is more accurate than the BBC’s as to what transpired.
    In brief, Britain used the Mandate’s Article 25 power improperly to close off that area (which comprised about 78% of the whole) to Jewish settlement for the express purpose of installing an Arab clan that was booted from Arabia. There were no “local conditions” that justified this British breach of trust, but as the League of Nations had no enforcement mechanism, it was powerless to stop Britain.
    Things might have been a bit clearer had Britain simply named the severed area East Palestine, as that is all that it is: a carve out of the Mandate territory.

  2. Pingback: BBC’s serial omission hinders understanding of history programme — BBC Watch – NZ Conservative Coalition

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