As is usually the case in BBC News website reports that come under the category of ‘ethically selective interest in Israeli planning permits’, the prime source quoted and promoted in the August 22nd article headlined “Israel advances plans for 1,000 new West Bank settler homes” was a political NGO. The report opened:
“Israel has advanced plans to build more than 1,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Final approval for construction was given for 382 homes, while the others cleared an earlier planning stage.”
Readers were then provided with a link to the website of the political NGO ‘Peace Now’.
“Anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now said most would be built in communities that were likely to be evacuated as part of any peace deal with the Palestinians.”
A click on that link shows that the irrelevant claim which the BBC chose to promote is based on the ‘Geneva Initiative’ which has gone nowhere since its conception fifteen years ago. The BBC did not bother to inform readers of additional past proposals under which that claim would not necessarily be accurate and, as ever, the fact that in the past Israel evacuated communities in 1982 as part of the terms of the peace agreement with Egypt and evacuated all Israeli citizens from the Gaza Strip and from four communities in northern Samaria in 2005 was ignored by the anonymous writer of this report.
Readers were also told that:
“Peace Now reported that 370 of the homes given initial approval would be built in the settlement of Adam, where an Israeli civilian was stabbed to death and two others wounded by a Palestinian last month.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman had promised to build 400 units there in response to the attack.”
Once again BBC audiences were not told that the “400 units” concerned are part of already existing planning that was in the process before the Minister of Defence made his statement.
In addition to the messaging from ‘Peace Now’, readers found statements from a variety of sources promoting the political narrative that Israeli communities are a barrier to peace.
“But a left-wing Israeli party, Meretz, warned that the decision was like “sticking a finger in the eye” of any possible peace process.
There was no immediate response from the Palestinian Authority to the announcement, but it has previously said settlement construction threatens peace and undermines the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. […]
Donald Trump said earlier this year that the settlements “complicate” the peace process and urged Israel to be “careful” over the issue.
His predecessor Barack Obama said they were incompatible with a two-state solution and did not veto a 2016 UN Security Council resolution declaring they had “no legal validity and constitute[d] a flagrant violation under international law”.”
Altogether, those amplified statements made up 50% of the report’s word-count. In contrast, readers saw 23 words presenting what might be categorised as a contrasting view.
“The main body representing Jewish settlers – the Yesha Council – expressed disappointment that plans for “so few” homes were approved on Wednesday.”
As is inevitably the case in BBC News website reporting on the topic of construction in the neighbourhoods and communities it terms ‘settlements‘, audiences found the standard BBC insert on ‘international law’ which makes no attempt to inform them of legal views on the topic that fall outside the corporation’s chosen political narrative.
“The settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.
More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem – land the Palestinians claim for a future state.
There are also some 100 outposts – small settlements built without the Israeli government’s authorisation – across the West Bank.”
The BBC’s editorial guidelines on ‘controversial subjects’ state:
“When dealing with ‘controversial subjects’, we must ensure a wide range of significant views and perspectives are given due weight and prominence, particularly when the controversy is active. Opinion should be clearly distinguished from fact.”
The BBC’s audiences are however serially denied the “wide range of significant views and perspectives” which would broaden their understanding of this issue because the BBC has instead elected to promote a specific narrative.