Tonight and tomorrow Israel celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem on the 28th of Iyyar 5727 (June 7th 1967) after nineteen years of Jordanian occupation.
Members of the public searching BBC Online for information on the subject of Jordan’s occupation – and subsequent unrecognised annexation – of parts of Jerusalem will have great difficulty finding factual information.
A series of undated maps still available online fails to make any mention of the purpose of the Mandate for Palestine before going on to give a decidedly euphemistic portrayal of the Arab invasion of the newly declared Jewish state in 1948 whilst inaccurately portraying the 1949 Armistice Agreement.
“War broke out in 1948 when Britain withdrew, the Jews declared the state of Israel and troops from neighbouring Arab nations moved in. After eight months of fighting an armistice line was agreed, establishing the West Bank and Gaza Strip as distinct geographical units.” [emphasis added]
The next map tells audiences that:
“From 1948 to 1967, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was ruled by Jordan. During this period, the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian military administration.”
A subsequent map titled “Jerusalem: Before 1967” states:
“The armistice line drawn at the end of the 1948 war divided Jerusalem into two. Between 1949 and 1967, Israel controlled the western part of Jerusalem, while Jordan took the eastern part, including the old walled city containing important Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious sites.”
Audiences are later told that:
“The city’s status remains disputed, with Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem considered illegal under international law.”
As ever – and despite the existence of BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality – audiences are not informed of differing legal opinions on that topic.
Another set of maps (apparently from around 2005) still available online presents a similarly coy portrayal of the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem – once again with no mention of the expulsion of Jewish residents from the parts of the city invaded by Jordan.
“From 1948 to 1967, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was ruled by Jordan. […]
In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Israel took control of the western part of Jerusalem, while Jordan took the eastern part, including the old walled city containing important Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious sites.”
Clearly these portrayals do not provide a clear, comprehensive and factual portrayal of how Jordan came to ‘rule’ parts of Jerusalem “from 1948 to 1967” or of the history preceding the Jordanian invasion of the city. That obviously undermines the ability of audiences to fully understand the background to the reunification of the city in 1967 and consequently impairs their comprehension of the present day situation.
Censored by Harriet Sherwood: Jewish Voices from Jerusalem (UK Media Watch)