Friday, October 24, 2008

BBC lack of balance on the issue of Palestine/Israel

Compare the following two BBC stories found on BBC Online today:

Article 1, Title:Israeli dies in settlement attack

Article 2, Title:Israelis kill Palestinian youth

There appears to be a superficial balance but take a look at the facts...


- both stories have been in the middle east news section today, but the former has had a consistently higher profile and was a featured story on the middle east front page this morning, when the latter was just a link article. Since then both have been demoted but the former retains a higher profile.

- both stories quote Israeli witnesses or Israeli authorities

- both portray Palestinians as the source of the violence even though the latter purports to describe the killing of a Palestinian teenager

"A Palestinian man has stabbed and killed an elderly Israeli civilian in a Jewish settlement"

"Gilo is on land in the West Bank captured by Israel in 1967, and has been a target for attacks by Palestinian militants in the past."

"A number of attacks have been carried out in Jerusalem since July by Palestinians who live on the west, or Israeli-controlled, side of the extensive barrier system Israel has built around autonomous Palestinian areas."

"The military says the youth had been preparing to throw petrol bombs at the cars of Jewish settlers."

- The second article also has a gross distortion:

"Tension is rising across the West Bank with each side, Israeli settlers and Palestinians, complaining of violent attacks by the other."

In fact the vast majority of attacks are committed by settlers against Palestinians rather than the number of attacks being equivalent.

- Yet again Israel is given an automatic right of reply in the article 2:

"Settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this."

They wouldn't ever say that robbing banks is considered a crime, but the bank robbers dispute this.

In fact, on balance from the two articles, the only thing that Israel appears to be charged with is the rather bland crime of 'building settlements' that are 'disputed'. This bland facade of a term, ignores the land seizures, house demolitions, evictions, arbitrary detentions, assaults, torture, shootings, stoning, destruction of crops, diversion of water, and a multitude of other crimes that take place before the 'settlement building' can take place.


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