On Dec. 3, Channel 4 News aired a report on Bangladesh’s forced relocation of up to 100,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees – who were victims of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar – to Bhasan Char, a cyclone prone island 60 kilometres from the mainland that’s been described as “dangerous and barely habitable”.
As you watch the report, by foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller, note what he says at around 24 seconds in to the video:
If you didn’t catch it, here’s the relevant part:
There were scenes of great distress as refugees were told to board [the buses]. Their destination: Bhasan Char, a remote and soulless refugee camp, a Gaza for Rohingya.
However, as even the most rudimentary analysis should make clear, this is a lazy, misleading politically-driven analogy which doesn’t hold up to even the most minimal critical scrutiny.
- Unlike Bhasan Char, Gaza isn’t an island.
- Unlike Bhasan Char, Gaza isn’t one big refugee camp – but a Palestinian-ruled territory.
- Unlike the Rohingya in question who are all refugees, over 99% of Palestinians in Gaza are NOT and have never been refugees.
- Unlike with the Rohingya who were ethnically cleasned from Myanmar and now are being involuntarily transferred to Bhasan Char by Bangladesh, Palestinians weren’t forcibly relocated to Gaza, nor victims of ethnic cleansing.
Moreover, though, on average, tens of thousands of Palestinians leave Gaza each year for work or humanitarian reasons, Egyptian and Israeli restrictions that are in place are the result of military aggression by Hamas, the proscribed terror organisation that rules the territory as the result of the decision by a plurality of Palestinians to vote for them in the 2006 parliamentary elections.
The fact is that the Channel 4 News foreign editor has likely internalised the absurd media narrative of Gaza as “the world’s largest open-air prison”, an extraordinary misleading framing which serves to demonise Israel, whilst obfuscating Hamas’s role in perpetuating the suffering of Palestinians in the coastal enclave.