A report headlined “Golan Heights: Israel unveils ‘Trump Heights’ settlement” appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page on the afternoon of June 16th.
Readers could have been forgiven for understanding that a previously non-existent town or village had come into existence. [emphasis added]
“Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has unveiled a new settlement in the occupied Golan Heights, named after US President Donald Trump.”
“Israel’s premier pledged in April to name a new settlement after Mr Trump, soon after the president overturned decades of US policy by recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan.”
Readers may hence have been confused when they later discovered that – despite the BBC’s previous claim that a “new settlement” had been “unveiled”, in fact no such place has been constructed.
“Building work has yet to begin but a sign bearing Mr Trump’s name and US and Israeli flags was unveiled.”
“The new settlement is expected to be built near Kela in the northern Golan Heights.”
As was explained here when the BBC’s Tim Franks visited the Golan Heights last month, that “new settlement” is in fact intended to be an extension of a small community that has existed since 1991.
“…the community, which will be a mixed secular-religious settlement that in its first stage will number some 120 families, will be set up in the northern Golan at Beruchim…”
That information was not provided to readers of this report, who were however told that:
“US Ambassador David Friedman, who attended the ceremony, called the settlement “well deserved, but much appreciated”.”
In fact, Ambassador Friedman said:
“I want to thank you for the extraordinary gesture that you and the State of Israel are making to the president of the United States,” Friedman said. “It is well deserved, but it is much appreciated, and we look forward to work[ing] with you and with the government of Israel to continue to strengthen the unbreakable alliance between the United States and Israel.”
Clearly this report does not inform BBC audiences either adequately or accurately.