BBC yawns at PA paper’s call for violence at Holocaust commemoration

Ahead of a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp which is to be held at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem later this week with the participation of numerous world leaders including Prince Charles, the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper published an op-ed which, after translation by PMW, has received local and wider Jewish media coverage.

“The official Palestinian Authority daily published an opinion piece on Saturday that called for a terrorist attack on a major upcoming memorial ceremony in Israel marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, saying, “One shot will disrupt the ceremony and one dead body will cancel the ceremony.” […]

According to a translation from Palestinian Media Watch, columnist Yahya Rabah wrote in PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that Israel “is now energetically planning to hold a ceremony for the Holocaust in occupied Jerusalem, and it is accustomed to the world participating with it in this ceremony, as the Jews’ Holocaust is terrible, but the Palestinian holocaust by Israel that still continues is insignificant, beautiful, spectacular, and good.”

“Of course, the Palestinians will never accept this equation, and it can be assumed that they will resist the ceremony being held in Jerusalem itself, as Jerusalem is theirs, despite Trump, who gave it to Israel as part of the filthy deal of the century,” he added.

Rabah then called for an act of terrorism, writing, “One shot will disrupt the ceremony and one dead body will cancel the ceremony.””

Like the rest of the British media the BBC – which of course has an entire department dedicated to translation of foreign language media – has to date not deemed that narrative-busting article published by a Palestinian Authority mouthpiece to be remotely newsworthy.

Reviewing BBC News website coverage of Palestinian affairs in 2019

Our monthly summaries of BBC News website coverage of Israel and the Palestinians show that throughout 2019 audiences saw eight and a half times more coverage of internal Israeli affairs than they did of internal Palestinian affairs. Four of the year’s twelve months (May, October, November and December) saw no reporting on Palestinian affairs whatsoever.

Throughout the year the BBC produced four reports concerning internal Palestinian politics. Audiences learned of the new Palestinian Authority prime minister three months after he had taken office and were not informed of the resignation of the previous government.

Five arrested after Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation raided (5/1/19) discussed here

Palestinian Authority removes staff from Gaza-Egypt crossing (7/1/19) discussed here

Anger at Palestinian ministers’ secret 67% pay rises (6/6/19) discussed here

Gaza explosions: ‘Suicide bombers’ kill three police officers (28/8/19)

The economic crises in PA controlled areas and the Gaza Strip were the topic of just two reports throughout the year:

US stops all aid to Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza Yolande Knell (1/2/19) discussed here

Gaza economic protests expose cracks in Hamas’s rule Yolande Knell (18/3/19) discussed here

BBC coverage of social affairs within Palestinian society during 2019 included two reports about sex education (one of which was removed without explanation) published in July:

Teaching Palestinians to talk about sex – removed (9/7/19) discussed here

Talking about sex no longer so taboo in the Arab world Shereen El Feki (17/7/19)

The same month BBC audiences saw a report about a singer which did not provide any substantial information on the issue of the challenges faced by LGBTQ Palestinians living under Hamas or Palestinian Authority rule. 

Meet Bashar Murad: The Palestinian singer blurring gender lines Newsbeat (14/7/19) discussed here

In September the BBC News website published two reports about the murder of a Palestinian woman.

Israa Ghrayeb: Murder charges for Palestinian ‘honour killing’ (12/9/19)

Israa Ghrayeb: Palestinian woman’s death prompts soul-searching Tom Bateman (16/9/19) discussed here

Issues the BBC chose to ignore in 2019 included the arrests of Palestinians by the PA in connection to property sales, protests against social security reforms, legal cases concerning the torture of Palestinian citizens, Palestinian Authority harassment of LGBTQ activists and hate speech in school text books.

As has often been observed here in the past, only very occasionally do BBC audiences see stand-alone reports concerning internal Palestinian affairs which are not framed within the context of ‘the conflict’ and do not have an Israel-related component. That editorial policy continued throughout 2019.

 

 

BBC News ignores Fatah Day rallies as usual

The BBC’s online profile of the Fatah movement – which has not been updated since 2011 – tells audiences that:

“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.”

And:

“With international pressure mounting, Fatah – though notably not the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades – signed a declaration rejecting attacks on civilians in Israel and committing themselves to peace and co-existence.”

Earlier this week Fatah marked the 55th anniversary of its first terror attack against Israel with rallies in various towns including Ramallah, Bethlehem (which BBC audiences heard described as “a city of peace” just days before) and Gaza City.

“Around a dozen masked men led the march through Ramallah, firing several rounds of gunfire into the air. Some wore what appeared to be fake suicide vests, referring to the organization’s past terror activities against Israelis.

On Wednesday, another Fatah rally was held in Bethlehem, including posters with pictures of Marwan Barghouti, thought to be a popular Abbas rival within Fatah. Supporters also lofted pictures of Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist who took part in a 1978 terror attack in which 38 Israelis were killed.”

Bethlehem

As has been the case in past years, the BBC elected to ignore the fact that a party – headed by the Palestinian Authority president – which it claims rejected terror attacks and committed itself to “peace and co-existence” years ago still celebrates the anniversary of its first terror attack with military-style rallies and glorification of terrorists.

 

Weekend long read

1) The ITIC provides some background to the news that the ‘Great Return March’ will take on a different format in the new year.

“Hamas and other terrorist organizations participating in the return marches have recently been discussing whether or not to continue the marches, and ideas for new formats have been raised. Apparently after almost two years and 85 return marches, Hamas has come to the conclusion that the marches and their inherent violence have exhausted themselves. That is because Hamas is interested in achieving a short-term, minimalist arrangement in which there is no need to continue the marches in their current format. Moreover, the Gazans are showing signs of becoming tired of the marches (and Hamas is obliged to consider the public and its hardships).”

2) At the INSS Pnina Sharvit Baruch analyses last week’s announcement by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Notwithstanding pressure that will undoubtedly be applied on the Court, the Court is more than likely to adopt the Prosecutor’s position that its jurisdiction covers all of the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The Pre-Trial Chamber bench is fixed, such that these are the same judges who ruled in November 2018 that the Prosecutor must review her decision not to launch an investigation in the Marmara flotilla affair, and which in July 2018 instructed, in unprecedented fashion, that the Court Registry set up an information and outreach mechanism for victims in Palestine while the preliminary examination was still under way. In other words, this is a bench whose attitude toward Israel is, to say the least, unfriendly.”

3) MEMRI’s translation of an interview with Saeb Erekat provides more background to the ICC story.

“Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, was interviewed on Palestine TV on December 21, 2019. In the interview, he said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appointed a committee that would pursue legal action against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC).  He added that the committee includes members from Hamas as well as “all Palestinian political factions”, such as PFLP and DFLP. Erekat thanked Qatar for providing financial aid to cover the legal fees.”

4) At the Jewish Review of Books, Matti Friedman reviews a new work.

“The ship, SS Kedmah, was the very first vessel belonging to the Zionist movement’s new shipping company, ZIM. It was sailing for the Land of Israel, still under British control, where its arrival was occasion for a national celebration in the Jewish home. […]

As usual, the story—as told in Kobi Cohen-Hattab’s excellent new history, Zionism’s Maritime Revolution—wasn’t that simple. The new Zionist ship was, in fact, a refurbished English vessel with 20 years of rough service behind her, including the wartime evacuation of Singapore in 1941. She nearly broke down in the Mediterranean en route to the Yishuv. Saltwater got into the internal systems, the refrigerators didn’t refrigerate, the ovens didn’t cook, and the lights went out. The crewmen, who were Jewish, couldn’t stand the officers, who were British. The feeling was mutual, and eventually there was—inevitably, in those times of proletarian consciousness—a strike.”

 

Fatah officials contradict the BBC’s ‘two-state’ narrative

In recent years the BBC has promoted the notion of Palestinian support for a two-state solution, telling its audiences that:

“It is unclear whether the [US administration] plan will be based on the so-called “two-state solution” – a long-standing formula for resolving the conflict by creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel, with Jerusalem a shared capital.

The Palestinians and most of the international community support this approach in principle, while the Israeli leadership is cooler towards it.” [emphasis added]

We have in the past observed here that such a portrayal avoids the obviously inconvenient fact that the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected offers based on the two-state solution that the BBC claims they “support” and that the BBC’s implication that there is one unified Palestinian voice which aspires to a two-state solution is clearly inaccurate and misleading. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad obviously do not share that aspiration and in October this year the head of the Palestinian mission to the UK described it as “a Palestinian concession” while rejecting the idea of a “shared capital in Jerusalem”.

Palestinian Media Watch provides some insights into views on that topic recently expressed by members of the dominant PA’s Fatah faction.

“[Murad] Shtewi [media spokesman, Fatah Qalqilya branch] emphasized that the Palestinian people will not relinquish a grain of soil from the land of historical Palestine from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, despite the American administration’s attempts to allow the occupation state to expand the settlement and legitimize it, and he demanded that our people carry out a popular revolution against the occupation everywhere.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 30, 2019] […]

Head of Fatah’s Jenin Branch Ata Abu Rmeileh: “Our God has honored us and placed us in this land to stand against the invaders and the oppressors. The Tatars, the Mongols, the Crusaders, and the British have left, and these [Israelis] will leave, they will leave [too]. We are carrying out Ribat (i.e., religious conflict over land claimed to be Islamic) in this land. We in the Fatah Movement… today we are at the beginning of an ongoing confrontation, and are not making do with a rally or procession.” [Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Nov. 28, 2019]

 “No one can force the Palestinians to renounce their homeland’s borders, its name, the shape of its map, and the position of its neighbors’ names in memory, and there are two strong neighbors that have been adjacent to Palestine and protecting it since the dawn of history: The [Mediterranean] Sea to the west and the [Jordan] River to the east – and no one has a right to describe the land that they are protecting between [the river and the sea] with any description other than Palestine.” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Nov. 29, 2019]

BBC audiences of course never get to hear such voices – which contradict the BBC’s own narrative of Palestinians committed to a peaceful two-state solution. Were they to do so, the BBC’s licence fee paying public might of course have a better appreciation of the context to the chant ‘from the river to the sea’ which they often encounter on their own streets and hence be better positioned to “participate in the democratic process, at all levels, as active and informed citizens” as the corporation’s public purposes require.

Related Articles:

BBC News plugs PA rejection of US peace initiative

Examining the BBC’s claim of Palestinian support for the two-state solution

BBC News continues to under-report Palestinian affairs

Back in August we noted that a story concerning a Palestinian Authority ban on the activities of a LGBTQ group had received just two minutes of airtime on one domestic BBC radio station.

Earlier this month local media reported an incident in a Palestinian Authority controlled area.

“A transgender Palestinian woman and two friends were assaulted and robbed Tuesday by a group of men from a West Bank refugee camp.

Sammy, who today lives in Jaffa, was in the West Bank to attend a doctor’s appointment in the village of Kafr ‘Aqab near Ramallah.

She and her companions were attacked by a group from Kalandia refugee camp, who kicked and punched them, and stole tens of thousands of shekels. They also completely destroyed the vehicle in which the thee were travelling.

Sammy, who is originally from Hebron, was thrown out by her family when they discovered her gender identity. Today she lives in Jaffa and receives regular aid from the LGBQT Center in Tel Aviv.”

Although that story was picked up by non-local media such as the UK’s Pink News, it was not reported by the BBC, which continues to under-report internal Palestinian affairs in general, including the treatment of the LGBTQ community.

Related Articles:

Disparity in BBC LGBTQ Middle East reporting

No BBC follow up on Palestinian police LGBTQ group ban story

BBC News ignores Dutch aid cut to Palestinian Authority

Over the past couple of years BBC audiences have seen numerous articles relating to the subject of cuts in direct and indirect financial assistance to Palestinians by the US administration, with some of those stories being connected to the issue of Palestinian Authority payment of salaries to terrorists.

BBC News report on US aid cut excludes relevant context

BBC News inverts cause and effect in US aid story headline

BBC News does some catch-up reporting on PA’s terror salaries

On November 20th another government announced that it was cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority because of its policy of paying terrorists and their families.

“The Dutch government has cut funding for the Palestinian Authority over its salaries to terrorists serving time in Israeli jails.

The aid ministry announced the move Wednesday during annual budget talks. […]

The country had given about $1.6 million directly to the Palestinian Authority annually to pay the salaries of justice ministry employees.

The aid ministry said that talks with the Palestinian body “did not lead to the desired outcome.””

PMW notes that:

“…the Dutch government has raised the subject of the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy over 20 times with PA officials but they have refused to budge and declined to abandon their terror reward policy.” 

Dutch government aid to the PA had already been cut last year by 7%.

To date BBC audiences will find no coverage of that Dutch government decision on the BBC News website’s ‘Netherlands’ page or ‘Middle East’ page.

Weekend long read

1) The ITIC looks at the Palestinian Authority policy of rebuilding the houses of terrorists demolished by Israel.

“On the night of October 24, 2019, the Israeli security forces demolished a building under construction in the al-Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah. The house belonged to the family of Palestinian terrorist Islam Abu Hamid, who killed an IDF soldier in May 2018. Following the destruction Palestinians rioted and clashed with the Israeli security forces. Senior Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah figures rushed to announce that the PA would rebuild the house demolished by Israel. The rebuilding of terrorists’ houses demolished by Israel is a pattern that repeats itself, part of the PA’s consistent policy of providing benefits to terrorists and their families. The PA policy is also a way to challenge the deterrent message Israel tries to convey by demolishing the houses.”

2) Also at the ITIC: analysis of the appointment of a new ISIS leader.

“Beginning on November 2, 2019, in the wake of Al-Baghdadi’s death and the new spokesman’s call to pledge allegiance to ISIS’s new leader, pledges of allegiance from the various provinces and individual operatives and supporters began to appear. It is to be expected that additional pledges of allegiance will be published in the near future.

The first province to issue a pledge of allegiance was the Sinai Province. Operatives of the province posted two photos on Telegram documenting a group of operatives pledging allegiance to ISIS’s new leader (November 2, 2019). A few hours later, a photo was posted documenting another pledge of allegiance from the Bangladesh Province. On November 4, 2019, a photo was published documenting operatives of the Somalia Province pledging allegiance to the new leader.”

3) At the JNS Yaakov Lappin discusses the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

“PIJ wishes to position itself as the “authentic” jihadist organization in the Strip at the expense of Hamas, which unlike PIJ has to balance out its considerations as a government with its commitment to armed conflict and terrorism. […]

It is more than willing to use its rocket arsenal, which is larger than that of Hamas, to upset the security situation. Iranian funding and rocket-production know-how has helped make PIJ a significant terror army, with some 15,000 armed operates (compared to Hamas’s 25,000-strong military wing).”

4) Emily B. Landau and Shimon Stein of the INSS analyse “Turkey’s Nuclear Motivation”.

“Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently complained about the unfair situation whereby some countries are free to possess nuclear tipped missiles, while others are not – a situation he cannot accept. What might be motivating Erdogan not only to raise the nuclear issue at this time, but for the first time to threaten to develop his own capability? If Erdogan decides to go down the nuclear path, this decision will have implications for Turkey’s relations with NATO/EU, the nuclear nonproliferation regime, and the Middle East.”

No BBC follow up on Palestinian police LGBTQ group ban story

Back in August we noted that the BBC had devoted two minutes of domestic radio airtime to a story concerning a Palestinian Authority ban on the activities of a LGBTQ group.

Newsreader: “Gay rights activists in the West Bank have been threatened online after the Palestinian police announced a ban on their campaigns and meetings and called for help to arrest them. The prohibition of the main local LGBTQ group was announced despite the Palestinian Authority having signed up to various international human rights treaties. From Jerusalem, Yolande Knell reports.”

Knell: “In a statement posted on Facebook, a police spokesman described the actions of the LGBTQ group al Qaws – or rainbow – as a blow to the ideals and values of Palestinian society and against the monotheistic religions. Same sex relations aren’t against the law in the West Bank but homosexuality remains largely taboo, as it is across the Arab world. Those involved with the group have been threatened with arrest, accused of sedition after a recent event in the West Bank. In response to the statement announcing the ban – which has now been deleted from Facebook – members of the Palestinian public posted angry messages. ‘Arrest them and burn them all’ read one.”

However Palestinian Media Watch reports that, despite the deletion of the police spokesman’s statement from Facebook, activists say that the situation has by no means improved.

“The Israel-based alQaws organization for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society has reported that following a statement by the PA police against LGBTQ people, violence has “continued unabated” and even “with greater frequency and intensity.” The organization further said that “much of the violence and harassment perpetrated… has been at the hands of police officers themselves.” […]

According to alQaws, the PA police has refused to officially retract its statement against the LGBTQ community in general and alQaws’ activities in particular. This is despite the fact that the police has removed the statement from its official website and its spokesman’s Facebook page, apparently after pressure from human rights groups.

However, without an official retraction, the PA police’s implied sanction of violence against LGBTQ people is still valid, – also in the eyes of police officers themselves who, according to alQaws, are the ones perpetrating “much of the violence and harassment.”

The PA police has also increased their persecution of alQaws activists, possibly due to the great support the organization has received following the police’s anti LGBTQ statement. AlQaws reports on “military-style investigations involving violence, blackmailing, and interrogations marked by coercive, offensive, and insulting questions regarding private lives”.

In that August report Yolande Knell stated that:

Knell: “The EU funded mission which trains Palestinian police said it was continuing to give advice – including on LGBT rights – and that it was trying to clarify the circumstances of the statement.”

Unsurprisingly to those familiar with the level of BBC interest in internal Palestinian affairs, audiences have not seen any follow-up reporting concerning the story itself or the apparent efficacy of the “advice” given by that EU mission with an annual budget of €12.43 million.

Related Articles:

PA’s ban on LGBTQ group gets two minutes of BBC airtime

Disparity in BBC LGBTQ Middle East reporting

 

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – October 2019

Since the beginning of the year, an average of twenty-three reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians have appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page every month (see ‘related articles’ below).

Throughout the month of October 2019, however, just seven such reports were published.

(dates indicate the time period during which the item was available on the ‘Middle East’ page)

Two of those items concerned archaeology:

Ancient ‘New York’: 5,000-year-old city discovered in Israel (7/10/19 to 10/10/19)

Israel cave bones: Early humans ‘conserved food to eat later’ (10/10/19 to 13/10/19)

One article related to political/diplomatic issues:

Trumplomacy: Are we seeing the end of a close Israel-US relationship?  Barbara Plett Usher (9/10/19 to 11/10/19) discussed here

Of four items concerning Israeli affairs, two related to internal politics:

Israel PM Netanyahu fails to form government ahead of deadline (21/10/19 to 24/10/19) discussed here

Israel’s Benny Gantz tasked with forming coalition government (24/10/19 to 27/10/19)

Two reports concerned legal stories:

Israel PM Netanyahu faces final hearings in corruption cases (2/10/19 to 6/10/19)

WhatsApp sues Israeli firm over phone hacking claims (30/10/19 to 31/10/19)

BBC audiences saw no coverage of security issues or Palestinian internal affairs whatsoever during the month of October.

Related Articles:

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – September 2019

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – August 2019

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – July 2019

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – June 2019

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – May 2019

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – April 2019

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – March 2019

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – February 2019

Summary of BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians – January 2019