BBC News report on US aid cut excludes relevant context

On August 24th the BBC News website published a relatively short report titled “US to cut $200m aid to Gaza and West Bank” on its Middle East page.

Readers were told that:

“US President Donald Trump has ordered more than $200m (£155m) in economic aid which was to be allocated to Gaza and the West Bank be redirected elsewhere.

A State Department official said the decision was made after a review “to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests”. […]

…the US official said the decision took into account “the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation”.”

Referring to another story from January of this year, the article also reminded readers that:

“It [the US] has already withheld $65m from the UN relief agency for the Palestinians.”

As readers may recall, that story received very generous BBC coverage at the time.

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BBC WS Newsday coverage of UNRWA aid story – part two

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Falsehoods go uncontested on BBC World Service – part two

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BBC WS facilitates UNRWA PR again – part two

The background to the latest announcement from the US State Department was presented as follows:

“Relations between the Palestinians and the US have been difficult since Mr Trump took power.

They hit a low point after the US recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017. As a result, the Palestinians said the US was unable to continue its mediation role in the peace process and suspended contact.”

The BBC’s report does not tell readers that in January a review of US aid was ordered in light of Palestinian reactions to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“US President Donald Trump has ordered his administration to review aid to the Palestinians and to the international bodies that sustain them, weighing a significant cut if Palestinian leadership refuses to enter serious peace talks with Israel, a senior administration official said on Thursday.”

The BBC article goes on:

“The US administration, meanwhile, suspended aid to the Palestinians pending a review in the light of the Taylor Force Act back in June.

The act aimed to force the Palestinian Authority to cease paying stipends to families of individuals convicted of terrorism against Israel.”

The BBC News website did not report on the Taylor Force Act when it was passed in March (rather than June) and so readers would be unlikely to be aware of the fact that it relates exclusively to funding that comes from the Economic Support Fund (ESF) which just one of three categories of US aid to Palestinians. Last month visitors to the BBC News website found the first reference to that legislation and were told that:

“In March, the US Congress approved similar legislation, the Taylor Force Act, which suspends some US financial aid to the PA until it stops making payments to prisoners and their families. The act was named after an American killed in an attack by a Palestinian in Israel in 2016.”

However, BBC audiences have not seen any meaningful coverage of the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to stop paying salaries to terrorists even in light of that policy’s negative effect on its finances and aid donations to Palestinians.

Significantly, visitors to the BBC News website also did not see any reporting on the transfer of an estimated $42 million of US aid to the Palestinian Authority when it emerged at the beginning of this month.

“The Trump administration recently released millions of dollars of frozen aid money to the Palestinian Authority, but only for Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, The Times of Israel learned on Thursday.

While Washington says it will continue to review its assistance to the Palestinians, it chose to allocate specific funds for the current fiscal year to specific PA programs that ostensibly serve American interests, including terrorist prevention measures in the territories, an official said. […]

“This assistance underpins Palestinian Authority security cooperation with Israel, which remains in force despite recent tensions,” the official added. “This decision does not in any way prejudge the outcome of our review of other funding streams and programs. It is simply the first decision to emerge from the review, which is ongoing.””

While readers of this BBC report are told that the US is now redirecting “more than $200m (£155m) in economic aid” that had previously been allocated for use by the end of September and that the US “already withheld $65m from the UN relief agency for the Palestinians”, they were not provided with the broader context available on a US State Department interactive webpage: the fact that in 2018 the US has donated well over $92 million to projects in PA and Hamas controlled areas.


5 comments on “BBC News report on US aid cut excludes relevant context

  1. Really Neil, meanwhile a whole load of right wing newspapers whose owners have big investments overseas continue to smear & vilify Jeremy Corbyn & the Labour Party with the tacit approval of the BBC & a number of Jewish UK newspapers that run daily stories on anti-semitism & definitions of what it is to be a “good Israeli supporter” when according to Fact Checkers anti-Semitic attacks have never been lower!? As for coverage of what exactly the Israeli armed forces are doing in PA territories there is nada as atrocities continue to happen Mr Chamberlain.

    • What on earth right wing newspapers have to do with the United States rightly cutting aid that is being paid as wages or a monthly stipend to murderers and prisoners only you Mr JV Wisteria know that. It is not rocket science, stop the attacks on the borders, which have been going on for five months now and are masqueraded by the Hamas controlled reporters and the BBC as ‘peaceful protests’ where citizens are co-erced into taking part, perhaps for a few morcels of food, stop the incendiary bombardment of the Kibbutzim along this border destroying, crops, conservation areas animals bees and trees and magically Palestinians will stop being killed and injured. Having spent time visiting friends along the border in early June a few weeks after the attacks began I can assure you being subjected to rocket attacks day in day out is terrifying, but of course that is the very purpose of terrorism. The majority of civilised human beings understand that sticking your hand in a burning fire will get your hand burnt, unfortunately UNWRA’s indoctrination of the masses for years has created a brainwashed society who can no longer apply common sense or perhaps their very lives depend on not doing. As regards that ultra left facist Corbyn, I am sure he is busy now polishing his jackboots, the man is a disgrace and not fit to be an MP let alone the leader of the Labour Party and a potential PM. The man’s skeletons in his cupboard are all coming out now because of his denial of antisemitism, a denial which after three years as leader and zero action taken regarding over 1000 incidents simply proves to most Jews, his own Jew hatred.

  2. Pingback: An eleven minute BBC WS report on UNRWA funding – part one | BBC Watch

  3. Pingback: An eleven minute BBC WS report on UNRWA funding – part two | BBC Watch

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