When, on October 23rd, the BBC News website recycled an NGO’s report about torture carried out by “Palestinian forces” we observed that:
“While it is obviously refreshing to see this issue getting some exposure on the BBC’s website […] it is nevertheless notable that this is not a report by the BBC informing its funding public about the serious topic of torture conducted by Palestinian factions but the recycling of a report by an external organisation.
And so, BBC audiences still await serious, original BBC reporting on this issue as well as on other aspects of internal Palestinian affairs.”
Since that article was published the opportunity for the BBC’s locally based reporters to produce just such original reporting has arisen.
“A Palestinian court on Thursday extended the detention of a hunger-striking Palestinian-American activist who claims she was tortured in captivity.
Suha Jbara, 31, a US citizen born in Panama, shuffled into the Jericho courtroom with her head down, appearing ashen and weak. Her father and son reached out to embrace her but were restrained by Palestinian authorities. […]
She told the advocacy organization Amnesty International that after arresting her from her home in a midnight raid, Palestinian authorities tortured her and deprived her of water, sleep and medicine she needs for a heart condition. She said security officials threatened her with sexual violence and forced her to sign a document admitting to charges she says are false.”
Despite Jbara’s case having been taken up by Amnesty International – which the BBC is usually happy to quote and promote – BBC audiences have to date heard nothing of this story.
“Issam Akel, who is also an American citizen, was arrested in Ramallah earlier in October by the Palestinian security forces for suspected involvement in the sale of a house in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, near Herod’s Gate.”
“A Palestinian man was shot to death on Friday in the Israeli Arab town of Jaljulia, and police are looking into suspicion that he was murdered due to his occupation as a seller of land plots in the West Bank to Jewish settlers.
The man, who has been identified as Ahmed Salame, was a Palestinian hailing from the West Bank who married a Jaljulia resident. Anonymous perpetrators opened fire from a short range on the car he was driving.”
The fact that BBC audiences have to date heard nothing of any of these three stories should not come as much of a surprise given that only very occasionally are they provided with reporting on Palestinian affairs which is not framed within the context of ‘the conflict’ and coverage of social and human rights issues within Palestinian society is extremely sparse.