Last month we took note here of the fact that the BBC’s Jerusalem Bureau consistently under-reports Palestinian Authority news, citing the PA crackdown on Palestinian journalists and bloggers which included the arrest and physical assault of the director of the radio station ‘Bethlehem 2000’ with which the BBC has or had a partnership.
“The BBC has FM relays in Gaza, Ramallah and Hebron, and a partner FM station, Radio Bethlehem 2000.”
We also noted in that post that the BBC had failed to report an assassination attempt on a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council who had previously published an article describing Mahmoud Abbas as a “tyrant” and a “dictator”. The failure to report on such a significant event of course contrasts sharply with the often gossip column style interest shown by the BBC in domestic Israeli politics.
More recent events have also failed to spark any BBC interest in PA domestic politics, despite their obvious potential influence on the sustainability of any agreements reached during the current talks between Israel and the PLO.
“The most recent crisis in Fatah erupted last week when Fatah legislator and activist Jamal Abu al Rub, who is nicknamed “Hitler,” punched senior Fatah rival Jibril Rajoub three times in the face after a violent confrontation in Ramallah’s Grand Park Hotel, where Rajoub, a former Fatah security commander, was waiting to meet with the Chinese foreign minister. […]
Abbas, in response, decided to expel Abu al Rub from Fatah.
The decision drew strong condemnations from Abu al Rub’s supporters in the Jenin area of the northern West Bank, where dozens of Fatah activists tendered their resignations to Abbas. In a further escalation, Fatah gunmen loyal to Abu al Rub expelled Palestinian Authority policemen from the town of Qabatya near Jenin. […]
By expelling Abu al Rub from Fatah, Abbas has managed to enrage many Fatah activists in the northern West Bank, who have anyway long been complaining that the Palestinian president was “marginalizing” them.
Some Palestinians see the recent events in the northern West Bank as the beginning of a mutiny against Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah.”
With the exception of one recent lackluster article pertaining to a recently published EU audit which criticized the payment of salaries to PA civil servants in the Gaza Strip who have not been to work since the 2007 Hamas coup there, the BBC generally avoids anything which could be even remotely described as investigative reporting into the Palestinian Authority’s finances, its use of foreign donor contributions or corruption. Hence, BBC audiences are not informed of the fact that some 6% of the PA budget is spent on salaries for imprisoned terrorists or of the financial packages allocated to those recently released. And of course the related subjects of PA incitement and glorification of terrorism are pastures which the BBC consistently avoids.
No presentation of the subject of talks between Israel and the PLO can be comprehensive and conducive to audience understanding of this “international issue” without coverage of internal PA politics and other crucial factors such as incitement and glorification of terrorism.