On the evening of June 30th, as news broke of the discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped and murdered Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gil-ad Sha’ar, one interviewee the BBC deemed appropriate for the circumstances was – once again – Mustafa Barghouti.
The BBC Two ‘Newsnight’ interview with Barghouti was also promoted on the BBC News website under the title “‘Israel responsible for deaths’ – Dr Mustafa Barghouti“.
Relatively unhindered by ‘Newsnight’ presenter Laura Kuenssberg, Barghouti was given a platform for amplification of the notion of people as ‘illegal settlers’ and ‘international law’ as an excuse for murder.
Barghouti: “First of all I think the main person who’s responsible for the tragic death that happened is Mr Netanyahu himself. He sent these boys as illegal settlers to an illegal settlement and he’s also responsible for the tragic death of more than ten Palestinians so far who were killed by his army, including three children. And I don’t think that….”
Kuenssberg makes no attempt to correct the number of Palestinians who have been killed during the search and rescue operation or to clarify to BBC audiences that in the majority of cases, they were involved in violent and life-threatening rioting aimed at hindering that operation at the time. Likewise, she fails to challenge the odious notion of people as “illegal” or to point out to viewers that in fact, two of the three murdered teenagers did not live in what the BBC would term ‘settlements’. In breach of BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality, Kuenssberg also fails to inform audiences that Barghouti’s particular non-professional interpretation of “international law” is far from the only one available.
Kuenssberg: “So you’re suggesting these young boys…you’re suggesting these teenagers had it coming, are you? Because they were somewhere geographically?
Barghouti: “They should not have been in illegal settlements which are considered illegal by international law and a violation of international law. That’s what all countries in the world are saying. And Mr Netanyahu should have protected them and not sending them to these places. He is now….”
Again – no clarification comes from Kuenssberg on Barghouti’s presentation of one particular interpretation of ‘international law’ and no attempt is made to inform audiences that the specific area under discussion is under Israeli control (Area C) because the Palestinians signed treaties defining it as such. Moreover, Kuenssberg fails to challenge Barghouti’s repeated ridiculous suggestion that the murdered youths had been “sent” by the Israeli prime minister.
Kuenssberg: “But Mr Netanyahu…”
Barghouti: “He is now retaliating and he wants to retaliate without even bringing a single proof that any Palestinian was responsible for their death. This is very strange…
Kuenssberg fails to challenge that inaccurate statement from Barghouti too, avoiding the obvious question of why a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council – committed under the terms of the Oslo Agreements to the prevention of terror – is promoting the notion that the youths were not victims of a Palestinian terror attack.
Kuenssberg: “But are you not suggesting…are you not suggesting Dr Barghouti then, that any settler is fair game? President [sic] Netanyahu didn’t kill these people himself.
That, of course, is exactly what Barghouti is suggesting, along with the notion that Israelis are themselves to blame for terror attacks against them, but he is allowed to end the interview with more political propaganda.
Barghouti: “No – I – I don’t like anybody to be killed but I am saying that no security or real peace will be available either to Palestinians or Israelis unless the Israeli military occupation is ended.”
This is at least the second time in the past two weeks that the BBC has provided a platform for Barghouti’s exploitation of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers as an opportunity to promote his political propaganda. Since the beginning of this year, Barghouti has been wheeled out by the BBC on at least six separate occasions to provide interviews on topics ranging from the death of Ariel Sharon to the Palestinian unity government and each time, regardless of the topic, those interviews promote the exact same jaded inculcations.
One question which must therefore be asked is why exactly did the ‘Newsnight’ editorial team – which, based on past BBC experience, should have been able to predict exactly what Barghouti was going to say – think that this was an appropriate occasion for the repetition of standard ‘one size fits all’ political propaganda which provides no new information or insight to audiences on the topic supposedly being addressed: the kidnappings and murders of three Israelis by terrorists.
Another question is why editors at the BBC News website saw fit to provide further amplification of Barghouti’s inadequately challenged falsehoods and distortions.