The BBC’s redundant ‘Palestinian unity government’ claim

The BBC’s ‘Palestinian territories’ profile (last updated in December 2017) tells audiences that:

“The Fatah faction of the PLO ran the PNA until 2006, when Hamas won a majority in Legislative Council elections.

Uneasy co-existence between PNA President Mahmoud Abbas and a Hamas-led government led to violence between armed wings of Fatah and Hamas, culminating in Hamas seizing power in Gaza in June 2007 and President Abbas dismissing the government.

The two PNA areas were then run by the separate factions – the West Bank by Fatah, and Gaza by Hamas – until a government of national unity assumed control of Gaza public institutions in October 2017.” [emphasis added]

That same profile’s ‘timeline‘ states:

“2017 October – Hamas lets the Ramallah-based unity government take over public institutions in Gaza as part of a reconciliation process between the two rival administrations.”

While the BBC enthusiastically reported that ‘unity government’ story at the time, those statements obviously do not reflect Palestinian political reality.

Earlier this week Fatah accused Hamas of arresting a large number of its members in the Gaza Strip.

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction claimed on Monday that Hamas has arrested 500 of its activists and officials in the Gaza Strip.

Fatah spokesmen said the arrests were designed to prevent the men from celebrating the 54th anniversary of the launching of its first attack against Israel.”

Although Hamas denied the allegations saying that “only 38 senior Fatah men were summoned for questioning”, as the Jerusalem Post reports the row continues.

“The Hamas crackdown has enraged Fatah leaders in Ramallah. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also serves as chairman of Fatah, launched a scathing attack on Hamas. In a speech, Abbas strongly denounced the Hamas measures against his supporters in the Gaza Strip. He even went as far as hinting that Hamas was working for Israel. “Those who prevent us from marking this occasion are spies,” he said, referring to Hamas. “We have been suffering from the spies here and there, and they will end up in the dustbin of history.” […]

Hamas quickly responded by hinting that the 83-year-old Abbas was senile and talking nonsense. “Abbas’s speech is trivial,” retorted Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. […]

Several other Hamas leaders and spokesmen reacted with outrage to Abbas’s charge. They used the words dictator, senile, mentally unstable, traitor, collaborator and liar to condemn the Fatah leader. The Hamas representatives said that Abbas was the real collaborator because of the security coordination between his security forces and Israel in the West Bank.”

Prominent analyst Khaled Abu Toameh went on to report that:

“Fatah officials in the West Bank said on Wednesday that Hamas’s actions against their men indicate that there’s no chance that the two parties could ever resolve their differences. The officials pointed out that the Egyptians have given up on their repeated attempts to end the Hamas-Fatah rift.

“That’s it: There will be no dialogue with Hamas,” said Hussein al-Shiekh, a senior Fatah official in the West Bank. “We have notified Egypt and Qatar that their efforts to achieve reconciliation [between Hamas and Fatah] have reached a dead end.” […]

Until recently, it appeared as if the Egyptians were on the verge of reaching another “historic” reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah. The two parties have signed several reconciliation accords in the past 11 years, but none have been implemented. The last reconciliation agreement was signed in Cairo in October 2017. That accord, too, has yet to be implemented.

Judging from the actions and words of Fatah and Hamas, it now seems that the chances of ending the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are virtually zero.”

Clearly it is high time for an update to bring the BBC’s ‘Palestinian territories’ profile into step with reality.

Related Articles:

BBC News continues to side-step internal Palestinian politics

BBC ignores Fatah’s anniversary incitement

BBC News ignores Fatah Day for fourth year running

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Weekend long read

1) As has been the case in past years, BBC audiences did not see any coverage of the events earlier this month marking the anniversary of the founding of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement. The ITIC has published a report on some of those events.

“January 1, 2018, was the 53rd anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement. Various events were held in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip to mark the day. Among the participating institutions were universities and colleges in Judea and Samaria. Events at academic institutions were mainly organized by Fatah student movements, which held marches and demonstrations, and put on presentations. […]

The Fatah movement, on which the PA is founded, integrated unambiguous themes into events marking the anniversary, among them the glorification of shaheeds who died in suicide bombing and mass “self-sacrifice” attacks and encouragement for suicide bombing attacks.”

2) At the Times of Israel, Yaakov Lappin takes a look at the security challenges facing Israel in 2018.

“According to figures released in December by the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, security forces foiled no fewer than 400 significant planned terrorist attacks in 2017. These include 13 planned suicide bombings, 228 gun attacks, 50 bombings, eight kidnappings, and 94 vehicle and knife attacks. The Shin Bet was able to disrupt 148 Hamas terrorist cells that were operating in the West Bank in 2017 alone. Many of these attacks were planned by local Hamas cells, with the assistance and funding of Hamas’s headquarters in the Gaza Strip, and the newly established Hamas presence in Lebanon, which is under Hezbollah’s protection.”

3) Writing at the Algemeiner, Ben Cohen discusses the academic cited by Mahmoud Abbas in the recent speech that was grossly under-reported by the BBC.

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s angry speech on Sunday castigating the US and Israel drew on the work of an Egyptian academic who dedicated his career to denying the existence of an independent Jewish people with political rights.

In his speech, Abbas described the late Egyptian academic Dr. Abdel Wahab Elmessiri as “one of the most important people that spoke about the Zionist and Jewish movement.”

On Israel, Abbas said, Elmessiri “described this entity with these words: ‘The significance of Israel’s functional character is that colonialism created it in order to fill a specific role; it is a colonialist project that is not connected to Judaism, but made use of the Jews so they would serve as pawns, and they were, under the motto ‘the Promised Land’ and ‘the Beloved Land,’ and they brought them here.’””

4) The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz addresses the significance of that speech by Abbas with regard to Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

“Unsurprisingly, Abbas made no mention of Olmert’s extraordinary peace proposal during his two-hour-plus anti-Israel, anti-Trump and anti-peace ramble before members of the PLO leadership in Ramallah on Sunday. Yet that appalling speech nonetheless provided the dismal explanation of why the man charged with leading his people to statehood had, nearly a decade earlier, rejected the best chance he would ever have to achieve that declared ambition.

Out of Abbas’s embittered 82-year-old mouth came the truth: He himself believes the vicious propaganda disseminated first by his late and unlamented predecessor Yasser Arafat and then maintained during his own 13 years at the helm of the Palestinian Authority.”

 

BBC News ignores Fatah Day for fourth year running

While BBC audiences were told much on the topic of ‘settlements’ in the corporation’s generous coverage of UNSC resolution 2334, as noted here at the time only one BBC News website article made a brief – and not entirely accurate – mention of the clauses in that resolution relating to another topic.  

“References to the parts of the resolution condemning terror and incitement were to be found in just one of the BBC’s reports. In contrast to the impression given to BBC audiences, the word ‘Palestinian’ is in fact not included in that part of the text

“French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said the “key goal” of the resolution was “to preserve and reaffirm the two-state solution”. […]

“It also condemns the violence and terrorism. It also calls to prevent all incitement from the Palestinian side so this is a balanced text.”” (report 2)”

Those clauses read as follows:

unsc-2334-clauses-6-7

Given the considerable interest in this UNSC resolution displayed by the BBC, one might have anticipated that the self-styled “standard setter for international journalism” would have deviated from its practice over the past three years and provided its funding public with some coverage of the glorification of terrorism seen at this year’s celebrations of the first terror attack carried out by Fatah in 1965.

fatah-day-b

Gaza Strip – poster showing convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti.

fatah-day-a

Bethlehem – poster showing terrorist Dalal Mughrabi.

fatah-day-c

Fatah Facebook account

However, the BBC did not produce any coverage at all of the ‘Fatah Day’ celebrations that took place just days after the UNSC approved the above texts.  

Clause 12 of UNSC resolution 2334 states that it:

“Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution”

One can but hope that the new UN Secretary-General and the permanent members of the Security Council – including the UK – do not rely exclusively on the BBC for news.

BBC News avoids reporting Fatah Day rallies for third year running

In recent weeks visitors to the BBC News website have frequently come across a standard inclusion in articles relating to the subject of the ongoing wave of terror attacks against Israelis which goes along these lines:

“Israel says Palestinian incitement has fuelled the attacks. The Palestinian leadership has blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.”

As has been noted here on countless occasions over the past few months, BBC News has refrained from providing its audiences with any serious reporting on the topic of the incitement underpinning the current wave of terror, choosing instead to consistently present that issue in terms of “Israel says”.

Hence it was not overly surprising to see that for the consecutive third year – see ‘related articles’ below – there was no BBC coverage of the recent ‘Fatah Day’ celebrations (the anniversary of the group’s first terror attack against Israel) in Palestinian Authority controlled areas.

Fatah is of course the controlling party in the Palestinian Authority as well as the largest faction in the PLO. The BBC’s most recently published profile of that party describes it as follows:

“Under Arafat’s leadership, the group originally promoted an armed struggle against Israel to create a Palestinian state. But it later recognised Israel’s right to exist, and its leaders have led Palestinian peace talks aimed at reaching a two-state solution.”

Readers of that profile are also told that Fatah “signed a declaration rejecting attacks on civilians in Israel and committing themselves to peace and co-existence.”

The BBC’s Palestinian Territories Profile has the following to say about the head of the Fatah movement:

“Many analysts regard Mahmoud Abbas as a moderate. He has condemned the armed Palestinian uprising and favours the resumption of negotiations with Israel.”

One might therefore have expected the media organization which describes itself as the “standard-setter for international journalism” to have reported that – as has so often been the case in the past – this year’s Fatah Day celebrations did not reflect that supposed rejection of terrorism and commitment to “peace and co-existence”.

The pictures below come from the Fatah Day rally in Bethlehem – courtesy of Israeli journalist Gal Berger,  along with those that follow.  

Fatah Day 1

These pictures are from Birzeit University near Ramallah.

Fatah Day 2

The Fatah Day event in Nablus (Schem) was attended by the district governor Akram Rajoub: Mahmoud Abbas’ representative.

Fatah Day 3

On Fatah social media accounts (translated by PMW) the movement celebrated “Half a century of sowing terror in the eyes of the sons of Zion” and vowed “With blood we will redeem the homeland and saturate its ground”.

Via MEMRI we learn that:

“In his Fatah Day speech in Ramallah, PA President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his support for young Palestinians who set out to commit terrorist attacks, and senior Fatah officials likewise expressed support for the Palestinian people’s “awakening” and resistance in all its forms.”

Members of the BBC’s audience seeking to enhance their understanding of the topic of the failure of the ‘peace process’ and the background to the current violence clearly need to be informed of this – and related – news. The BBC, however, continues to promote its stylized and sanitized portrait of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas whilst studiously avoiding any real reporting on the crucial topics of incitement and glorification of terrorism. 

Related Articles:

BBC ignores Fatah’s anniversary incitement

BBC silent on ‘Fatah Day’ celebrations

BBC ‘tidies up’ Fatah celebrations