Forum

profile |  register |  members |  groups |  faq |  search  login

Exchange with BBC re 'Israel disputes this'

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Media Lens Forum Index -> your letters
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
johnwhilley



Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Posts: 724
Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: Exchange with BBC re 'Israel disputes this' Reply with quote

Dear Steve Herrmann

The following BBC online piece states:

"Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967. It annexed the area in 1981 and sees it as its exclusive domain.

Under international law the area is occupied territory and the international community does not recognise Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8638895.stm

Please can you confirm that this more accurate definition of Israel's illegal occupation of East Jerusalem will now also be applied to BBC discussion of the West Bank settlements and will replace the 'but Israel disputes this' caveat.

Regards

John Hilley

--------------------

Dear Mr Hilley,

Steve Herrmann asked me to reply to your email.

Our standard characterisation of the legality of Jewish settlements is: “The settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.”

That Israel disputes this conclusion is a simple statement of fact. The Israeli government’s argument can be found here: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Israeli+Settlements+and+International+Law.htm

It is true, of course, that most readings of the relevant treaties and conventions lead to the conclusion that settlements are illegal. The UN secretary general recently stated this unambiguously.

But the issue is contested, and it would be unfair and inaccurate not to reflect that.

The arguments around this issue are addressed in detail in a report commissioned by the BBC governors a few years ago http://www.bbcgovernorsarchive.co.uk/docs/reviews/lubell_law_report.pdf

Best regards,

Tarik Kafala
Middle East Editor
BBC News website

---------------------------

Dear Tarik

Thanks for writing back.

The piece in question includes the helpful line:

"Under international law the area is occupied territory and the international community does not recognise Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem."

My question, more speifically, was why can't this same line be used in BBC reports when referring to the West Bank settlements, rather than inclusion of the 'Israel disputes this' wording?

For example:

'Under international law the West Bank is occupied territory and the international community does not recognise Israel's presence there.'

It's simply a reformulation of the BBC's own wording on the status of East Jerusalem, as applied to the West Bank.

Of course, Israel disputes all such interpretations of international law, as laid out in the spurious document noted. It's the same rejection with regard to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, The problem lies in the BBC's dutiful acknowledgement of such rejections, serving to cast residual doubt over the legitimacy of international law.

The use of 'disputes this' permits the false characterisation of the situation as merely 'a dispute' - an unresolved, two-sided contesting of the facts - rather than a one-sided violation.

The term 'disputes this', for all its proclaimed balance, serves to sanitise the issue, giving undue weight to Israeli claims and serving to sow uncertainty in the minds of the reader/viewer who might not be inclined to go off and read what passes for such a rejection of international law.

Thus, wouldn't the formulation used by the BBC regarding East Jerusalem be better employed when referring to the West Bank?

Best regards

John Hilley
Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:55 am
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger
johnwhilley



Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Posts: 724
Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

20 May, 2010,

Dear Mr Hilley,

Thank you for your further comments.

As I have said, it seems to me that it is fair and reasonable to represent Israel's position on this issue. Whether the Israeli arguments are spurious or reasonable is not the point.

You seem to be arguing that we are using different standards on referring to the settlements and East Jerusalem. I don't believe that we are. We are trying to offer as accurate and rounded a definition as we can. In the case of the East Jerusalem, the definition you refer to is used in our stories with two accompanying sentences that represent Israeli and Palestinian views on the issue. These are:

Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967. It annexed the area in 1981 and sees it as its exclusive domain. [Under international law the area is occupied territory and the international community does not recognise Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem.] Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.


Best regards,

Tarik Kafala

--------------------

Thanks Tarik

I'll record your reply.

http://medialens.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3080

Another day, another tortured BBC interpretation of 'equivalence'.

Be well.

John
Fri May 21, 2010 2:40 pm
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Media Lens Forum Index -> your letters All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2005 phpBB Group
    printer friendly
eXTReMe Tracker