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June 19, 2015 11:08 am

BBC Reporter Turns Palestinian Story Into Anti-Israel Hatefest

avatar by Hadar Sela

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BBC screenshot. Photo: HonestReporting.

BBC screenshot. Photo: HonestReporting.

The news that Mahmoud Abbas had unilaterally decided to dissolve the one year-old ‘Palestinian Unity Government’ was reported on the BBC News website’s Middle East page in an article titled “Palestinian unity government ‘to resign over Gaza row.’” The article originally appeared on June 16.

Excepting the very coy description of Hamas’ violent seizure of power – and the lack of any mention of the fact that the results of the 2006 Palestinian elections no longer hold any relevance (“…Hamas, which won parliamentary elections in 2006, ousted Fatah from Gaza in 2007…”) – the report is reasonable and correctly notes that:

“Israel has insisted it will not deal with a government backed by Hamas, which is sworn to its destruction.”

As readers will of course recall, it was Abbas’ decision to form that unity government with Hamas, which was the final nail in the coffin of the last round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in 2014.

However, listeners to the June 17th edition of BBC World Service radio’s ‘BBC World Update: Daily Commute’ – available for a limited period of time here, from 3:04 – heard a decidedly different take on the story. Whilst the first part of the five-minute item is indeed devoted to discussion of the subject matter between host Dan Damon and guest Ghassan Khatib, starting around 5:27 the focus changes. Damon – apparently ignorant of the fact that the last round of negotiations collapsed because Abbas chose to embrace and legitimize Hamas (the terror organization that refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist) – poses the following misleading question.

Damon: “There isn’t much of a peace process anyway in relationship between the Palestinians and the Israelis but does this make it more unlikely that there’ll be any kind of valuable negotiation?

Khatib: “I don’t think there is any great deal of interaction between forming or not forming a new Palestinian government on one hand and the Palestinian-Israeli relations on the other hand because chances are almost zero about the peace process, especially after the last Israeli election and the election of that far Right-wing government that has no interest in discussing the possibilities of Israel giving up its illegal control over the Palestinian occupied territories.”

Failing to clarify to listeners that any current Israeli control over territory occupied by Jordan in 1948 is the result of agreements willingly signed by the representatives of the Palestinian people over two decades ago and therefore cannot be accurately termed “illegal,” Damon asks:

“Was this an opportunity missed, do you believe, to improve the lives of some desperately poor people in that part of the world?”

Khatib: “Yes, I think that much of the needs of people can be better fulfilled on a practical level, on humanitarian level, on services level, between the bodies in charge of the West Bank and those in the Gaza Strip. However, much of this is also related to the Israeli restrictions. Israel is supposed to be more forthcoming in easing the blockade against Gaza and easing the restrictions and the settlement expansion and the settlers violent [sic] against Palestinians in West Bank, especially East Jerusalem.”

Damon’s next question-cum-political statement provides plenty of insight into the motives behind his failure to challenge that blatant propaganda.

Damon: “And if you follow that analysis through, this gives the hardliners on the Israeli side exactly what they want. They can say ‘look – no negotiating partner so we’ll continue with our policy of creating facts on the ground’.”

Khatib: “Actually, this is like mixing the cause with the effect. It’s actually the victory of those Right-wingers in Israel and their continued settlement expansion is the reason why there is no sound negotiations. Palestinian side is ready for negotiations – that was announced again and again, including last week by President Abbas in a conference in South Africa. He said that he’s ready to go back to negotiations. But is Israel ready to negotiate the future of the Palestinian territories? That’s the main question. Is Israel ready for the two state solution? Even the closest friend of Israel, President Obama, said on an interview last week with Israeli Channel 2 that there’s little hope that this government Israel is ready for a two state solution.”

The item ends there, with listeners deprived of any chance to hear the Israeli point of view or response to the propagandist allegations touted by Khatib.

This was supposed to be a report informing audiences about the dissolution of the PA unity government and of course there was no need to introduce Israel into the story at all. Instead, Dan Damon turned it into an exercise in Israel bashing and the one-sided promotion of falsehoods and propaganda intended to further the Palestinian Authority’s PR campaign. So much for accurate and impartial journalism.

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  • Gee

    The British have been pro-Arab since 1918.

    They totally ignore the facts that the Islamofascists have violated every single provision of every treaty that they have ever signed. That they have never fulfilled a single obligation for even one day. They have never accepted or offered a single compromise. Or that the Islamofascists are the colonists on Israeli lands.

    The Islamofascists scream that they will never live in peace and that they will never let Jews live in peace. Abbas is now in the 11th year of a four year term. Every single ‘official’ in the PA has no legal authority period.

    None of those facts will ever be mentioned on the BBC

  • Paul

    The fact is that the right-wing government does NOT want peace with the Palestinians, since that would entail giving up parts of the West Bank. Naftali Bennet said outright that he does NOT want a 2-state solution. Bibi stole many voters from Bennet by stating just before the elections that he, too, does not want a 2-state solution (which he retracted immediately after the elections were over, after he had drawn the voters from Bennet).
    The Religious right wing do NOT want to give back “holy ground”, promised to the Jews by God. The non-religious right wing do NOt want to give back territories because of security concerns and because it is NICE to take this land.
    The only people who want to pretend this is not true are – the extreme right wingers.

  • it is one of the stipulations for the bbc that one has to be anti-semi
    tic to work in their establishment. Britain has just got around to making an official memorial for the Battle of Waterloo, last year Richard 111 was found and re-buried. The bbc is brilliant in programming past histories, going back to the killing of jesus christ has always been a thorn in the sides of the British and Christianity which has spilled over all the way through to today’s Jew and Israeli situation. The British also never recovered from getting a royal kick up the ass by Israelis to get out of the country which is and was called palestine so this latest variation of BDS by the bbc is just that a propaganda, or even hate-fuelled bullying syndrome for which there is no remedy.

  • Henna du Plessis

    So, what’s new?

  • Reform School

    Hatred of everything Jewish permeated BBC Radio’s Far Left ‘News’ division decades ago. Its Left spin is so thorough BBC Radio ‘News’ had to be renamed ‘BBC WHIRLED Service.’

  • The BBC lost its credibility ,as an impartial fair ,news service provider,along time ago.