Oldie but baddie: unadulterated Palestinian propaganda on BBC News

As noted here recently, the BBC News website’s Middle East and Business pages currently offer visitors the opportunity to watch a filmed report (also broadcast on BBC television news) on the subject of “wealth disparity” in the Palestinian Authority controlled areas.

Among the other videos promoted beside that report is one dating from April 5th 2012 headed “How to make a profit from checkpoints”. 

PA economy report 2

The filmed report, which was also apparently featured on BBC television news programmes, was produced by BBC Arabic’s Ahmed Buden and narrated by Ghada Nassef.

Checkpoints al Masry

Nassef opens the report with the following context-free introduction:

“Military checkpoints are part of everyday life in the occupied territories. Long car queues are a familiar scene, except late at night. But along with the pain there is a bit of gain for some Palestinian entrepreneurs who have learned to turn this situation to their advantage.”

No explanation is provided to audiences as to why checkpoints are needed and of course no mention is made of the fact that they did not exist until Palestinian terrorism made their placement necessary. Neither does Nassef bother to inform viewers that the Kalandiya checkpoint specifically referred to in the report separates Israel from regions controlled by the Palestinian Authority under the terms of the Oslo Accords and thus is a point of crossing from areas controlled by different entities.

Nassef later claims:

“But weekly clashes between Palestinian youths and the Israeli army means the flow of supply and demand more often than not gets disrupted.”

In fact, the Kalandiya (Atarot) crossing is designated for pedestrian and vehicle crossing only – goods and supplies do not pass through that crossing, but through others in the area. Nassef fails to inform audiences that the “weekly clashes” she cites are entirely dependent upon the Palestinians organizing them: if there is no violent rioting, there are no “clashes”.

The report then interviews an anonymous ‘man in the street’ who says:

“The first problem is the occupation. They fire tear gas all the time.” [emphasis added]

That unchallenged statement is obviously untrue: crowd control means are only used when Palestinian initiated violent rioting necessitates their employment.

Nassef goes on:

“Experts see the activity as a desire by Palestinians to make ends meet, despite the occupation”

Her “expert” (singular, rather than the plural implied by Nassef) is Hany al Masry, introduced as representing the innocuous sounding ‘Palestine Media, Research and Studies Centre – Badael’. Al Masry is also a consultant for the Oxford Research Group, a member of Al Shabaka and director general of the think tank ‘Masarat’. In other words, he is a political activist rather than an economic expert – as is all too apparent in the unchallenged propaganda-laden diatribe for which the BBC provides a platform.

“This is the Palestinian people’s way to express their will to live, to break the barriers, to adapt to circumstances – no matter how tough they are. Palestinians can turn nastiness into beauty because if they don’t, they won’t be able to live on their own land. Occupation is hell and whoever lives in hell has to accommodate it.”

That, dear readers, is a report broadcast to millions by an organization which claims to adhere to editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality.

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