Last month we documented inaccurate claims made by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell during a report for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme concerning the announcement of normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE.
Knell: “Because of course previous peace plans, including the breakthrough Oslo Accords, promised that Israel would get full diplomatic ties with those wealthy, powerful Arab Gulf countries – Arab countries in general – only in exchange for peace with the Palestinians. Ahm…and that would be on the terms of a two-state solution that would see an independent Palestinian state set up alongside Israel. Ahm…that’s something that came out also in the Saudi-led Arab peace initiative.”
As noted here at the time:
“Neither of the agreements known as Oslo I and Oslo II – to which no Arab country was party – conditioned diplomatic ties with Arab states on “peace with the Palestinians” as erroneously claimed by Knell.
CAMERA UK submitted a complaint to the BBC on those issues. Three weeks later we received the following reply:
“Thank you for writing and we are sorry to hear you have concerns about this report on Today on August 14th.
Yolande Knell was analysing the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalise relations and was asked whether the move was widely welcomed.
She said the Palestinians had rejected it, saying it was a free reward for Israel, and went on to explain in general how “previous peace plans“ contained the implicit promise that peace deals with other Arab countries would follow on from peace with the Palestinians on the terms of a two-state solution and “that’s something that came out of the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative as well.”
You are of course right to say that the Oslo Accords do not specifically call for a Palestinian state – rather they promise to fulfil “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” – and while we agree that we could have clarified the specific point you raise, the peace process that built on this agreement does specifically seek an independent Palestinian state, including in 2016, UNSC resolution 2334.” [emphasis added]
Coincidentally or not, that highlighted portrayal of the Oslo Accords is remarkably similar to the one found in the opening lines of the Wikipedia entry on the topic.
In other words, unlike other media outlets (see below), the BBC is clearly not interested in relieving its audiences of the repeatedly promoted misconception that the Oslo Accords stipulated a ‘two-state solution’ to the conflict. Likewise, it is obviously quite content to leave standing Yolande Knell’s entirely inaccurate claim that the Oslo Accords conditioned diplomatic ties with Arab states on “peace with the Palestinians”.