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July 22, 2012 10:57 pm

BBC Unsure of Israel’s Capital City

avatar by Lakkana Nanayakkara

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Israel's capital city Jerusalem.

Until July 18, 2012, the BBC’s Olympic Games website listed Israel as having no capital. Meanwhile, the capital of ‘Palestine’ was listed as East Jerusalem.

Responding to the error, Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote a letter of protest to Paul Danahar, the BBC’s Middle East bureau chief, stating that he was “dismayed by the BBC’s decision to discriminate against Israel on the BBC’s Olympic website.”

On July 19, 2012, the BBC updated Israel’s page in its website to state, “Seat of government Jerusalem, though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv,” while the Palestinian page says, “Intended seat of government East Jerusalem. Ramallah serves as administrative capital.”

When reporting news related to Israel, the BBC routinely uses accusatory terms such as “illegal occupation”, “Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem” and “occupied West Bank”. However, the BBC does not generally use the term “illegal” or “occupation” in reference to other territories that are under dispute such as Northern Cyprus or the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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