One to listen out for on BBC Radio 4

As we noted here a few weeks ago, the BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen recently found time to visit this part of the region for the annual olive harvest. The fruits of his labours will, we are told by the BBC Media Centre, beBowen Olive Wars broadcast to listeners to BBC Radio 4 on Sunday December 7th at 13:30 UK time under the title “Olive Wars”. The BBC’s publicity informs us as follows:

“The BBC’s Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen, shows how the olive harvest lies at the heart of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis for control of the land.

Jeremy has been travelling during the harvest through the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967 and wanted by the Palestinians for a state. He spoke to Palestinian farmers, Jewish settlers, oil exporters and Israeli soldiers, and found that the harvest is about a lot more than olives, or oil, or the soap they make from it.

In a land where everything is politicised, so is the olive harvest. It’s the politics of the struggle for land between the Palestinians and the Israelis who want it, and in that struggle the olive tree has become a potent symbol and the olive harvest has, at times, become a serious flashpoint.

Jeremy, who has been reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1991, finds that the status quo in the West Bank guarantees more bloodshed. He concludes that is not just disastrous for Palestinians and Israelis – at a time when the whole world can feel the impact of the tumult in the Middle East – it’s not good for the rest of the world either.”

Meanwhile, in an interview he recently gave to BuzzFeed about the Syrian civil war, Bowen yet again brought up the unrelated issue of the incident over fourteen years ago in which his Lebanese driver was accidentally killed.

“When asked if he had any regrets about his coverage, Bowen returned to the incident in 2000 when his driver was killed by an Israeli tank attack in Lebanon while Bowen was covering the Israel Defense Forces’ withdrawal from the area.”

Once more, Bowen’s subjective view of the incident he continues to raise in interviews and elsewhere does little to affirm his ability to report accurately and impartially on Israel-related issues. 


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