SUMMARY OF BBC NEWS WEBSITE PORTRAYAL OF ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS – OCTOBER 2020

Throughout the month of October 2020, twenty-six written or filmed reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page, some of which were also published on other pages and seven of which were carried over from the previous month.

(dates in brackets indicate the time period during which the item was available on the ‘Middle East’ page)

Eight articles (three of which were carried over from the previous month) concerned the normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab nations:

Trump on Israel-UAE-Bahrain deals: ‘We mark the dawn of a new Middle East’ (15/9/20 to 15/10/20)

Five reasons why Israel’s peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain matter Jeremy Bowen (14/9/20 to 6/10/20) discussed here

Israel’s borders explained in maps (15/9/20 to 8/10/20)

Why Trump wants Sudan to befriend Israel Alex De Waal (8/10/20 to 1/11/20)

Signs Saudis are edging towards historic Israel peace Frank Gardner (9/10/20 to present) discussed here

Israel-UAE peace deal ‘big’ for trade in Middle East Jonathan Josephs (16/10/20 to 20/10/20) discussed here

Israel and Bahrain establish formal diplomatic relations (18/10/20 to 22/10/20)

Sudan-Israel relations agreed, Donald Trump announces (24/10/20 to 28/10/20)

Two reports concerned talks between Israel and Lebanon:

Lebanon and Israel to hold ‘historic’ maritime border talks (1/10/20 to 5/10/20) discussed here

Lebanon and Israel hold talks on disputed sea border despite state of war (14/10/20 to 20/10/20) discussed here

One report related to diplomatic affairs:

US alters passport ruling for Jerusalem births (29/10/20 to present) discussed here

Three reports focused on Palestinian issues:

Gazans struggle with pandemic and blockade (9/10/20 to 14/10/20 and 16/10/20 to 28/10/20) discussed here

Olive harvest in jeopardy as tensions rise at the West Bank Tom Bateman (16/10/20 to present) discussed here

Coronavirus: Top Palestinian official Saeb Erekat in ‘critical’ condition dated 19/20/20 but originally published 18/10/20 (18/10/20 to 23/10/20) discussed here

One report concerned an Israeli actress:

Gal Gadot’s Cleopatra film sparks ‘whitewashing’ claims (13/10/20 to 16/10/20)

One report appeared on the ‘Middle East’ page despite having very flimsy links to that region:

Cocaine worth $500m found hidden in charcoal shipment (21/10/20 to 25/10/20)

Of ten items relating to internal Israeli affairs, six (three of which were carried over from the previous month) related to the Corona pandemic:

Coronavirus: what Israel’s second lockdown feels like (18/9/20 to 16/10/20)

Coronavirus: Israel tightens second lockdown amid acrimony originally titled “Israel tightens second lockdown to avoid ‘abyss’” (24/9/20 to 1/10/20)

Coronavirus: Israel passes law to ban mass protests during lockdown (30/9/20 to 5/10/20) discussed here

Israeli PM’s wife ‘violated lockdown rules to get haircut’ Yolande Knell (7/10/20 to 8/10/20)

Israel’s second lockdown slowing outbreak, data suggest (8/10/20 to 13/10/20)

Coronavirus: Israel to ease second lockdown after cases decline (16/10/20 to 20/10/20)

Two reports concerned parliamentary news:

Israel moves to ban ‘immoral’ animal fur trade (5/10/20 to 7/10/20)

Israel unblocks big immigration of Ethiopian Jews (12/10/20 to 15/10/20)

One report can be categorised as miscellaneous:

The young girl who swims with her pet python taken from Reuters (8/10/20 to 12/10/20 and 16/10/20 to 22/10/20)

One widely promoted item carried over from the previous month concerned the funding of an Israeli organisation:

Israeli settlers’ Chelsea boss backer (21/9/20 to 13/10/20) discussed here

In short, 30.7% of the reports appearing on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page throughout October related to the topic of normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab states while 23% related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Visitors to the BBC News website once again saw no meaningful reporting on internal Palestinian affairs such as social, economic or legal issues and no coverage of Palestinian terrorism.

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