In addition to covering the conference on the topic of the Arab-Israeli conflict held in Paris earlier this month, the BBC News website also reported on talks, held in Geneva, relating to another long-standing conflict.
Hope for a fresh settlement in Cyprus James Landale, January 8th 2017
Cyprus peace talks begin on future of divided island January 9th 2017
Cyprus peace talks ‘resolve many issues’ January 11th 2017
Cyprus peace talks: Can Cypriots heal their divided island? Selin Girit, January 12th 2017
Cyprus peace deal close, says UN chief after Geneva talks January 12th 2017
With one exception, all the reports concerning the Cyprus talks included an impartial and nuanced explanation of the main issues underlying the dispute:
In contrast to BBC coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, audiences reading the coverage of the Cyprus talks did not find any pronouncements allocating disputed territory to one side or the other in the style of the frequently seen terminology “occupied Palestinian land” and “Palestinian territory”.
Regarding the 30,000 or so Turkish troops in northern Cyprus, audiences were told that “Greek Cypriots see them as an occupying force” but not that (with the obvious exception of Turkey) the rest of the world views them in the same way and considers that occupation illegal.
None of the reports concerning Cyprus informs readers of the fact that it was Turkish state policy to facilitate and encourage the immigration of Turkish nationals to the northern part of island during the latter half of the 1970s and – in contrast to BBC reporting on Israel and the Palestinians – the words ‘settlers’, ‘settlements’ and ‘international law’ do not appear in any of the reports.
Obviously the BBC is able to report on the enduring conflict in Cyprus in a manner which refrains from promoting a particular politically-motivated narrative and provides audiences with an impartial view of the issue – just as BBC editorial guidelines demand. Unfortunately for BBC audiences seeking to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict, the same standards are not evident.