Throughout the month of December 2020, twenty-eight 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 six 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)

Two articles related to the normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab nations:

Morocco latest country to normalise ties with Israel in US-brokered deal (10/12/20 to 15/12/20)

Sudan-Israel deal fuels migrants’ fears (21/12/20 to present) discussed here

Six reports (three of which were carried over from the previous month) concerned an assassination in Iran which the BBC chose to link to Israel, not least by means of tagging:

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: Iran blames Israel for killing top scientist (28/11/20 to 2/12/20) discussed here

Iran’s Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: Why was he assassinated? Massoumeh Torfeh (28/11/20 to 4/12/20) discussed here

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: Iran scientist ‘killed by remote-controlled weapon’ (30/11/20 to 7/12/20) discussed here

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassination: How will Iran respond? Frank Gardner (1/12/20 to 10/12/20)

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: ‘Machine-gun with AI’ used to kill Iran scientist (7/12/20 to 9/12/20)

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: Iran ‘makes arrests’ over scientist’s killing (9/12/20 to 14/12/20)

Three reports carried over from the previous month concerned a visit to Israel by the US Secretary of State:

Pompeo: ‘US regards BDS movement as anti-Semitic’ (19/11/20 to 11/12/20)

Golan Heights ‘a central part of Israel’, Pompeo says (19/11/20 to 16/12/20)

Trumplomacy: Mike Pompeo eyes history on Israel swansong trip Barbara Plett Usher (20/11/20 to 9/12/20)

Three Christmas items were about Bethlehem:

Faith and fertility at Bethlehem’s Milk Grotto Yolande Knell (19/12/20 to present) discussed here

Christmas celebrations to go ahead in Bethlehem Yolande Knell (20/12/20 to present)

Coronavirus mutes Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem Yolande Knell (24/12/20 to 29/12/20)

Two items concerned Palestinian affairs:

Gaza imposes strict measures as cases surge Tom Bateman (7/12/20 to 9/12/20) discussed here

Samaa Abdulhadi: Activists call for release of ‘Palestinian techno queen’ Tala Halawa (30/12/20 to present)

Of nine items in all relating to Israeli affairs, two concerned politics:

Israel elections loom as lawmakers back bill to dissolve parliament (2/12/20 to 7/12/20)

Israel election: New poll due after unity government crumbles (22/12/20 to 28/12/20)

Two related to the Coronavirus pandemic:

Israel PM vows to take Pfizer vaccine as first doses arrive (9/12/20 to 11/12/20)

Israel orders third national lockdown (24/12/20 to 29/12/20) discussed here

Two related to a business deal:

Beitar Jerusalem: UAE sheikh buys stake in racism-tainted Israeli club (8/12/20 to 10/12/20) discussed here

How UAE sheikh came to buy infamous Israeli football club Tom Bateman (8/12/20 to 15/12/20) discussed here

Two concerned new arrivals in Israel:

Ethiopian Jews flown to Israel in latest operation (3/12/20 to 7/12/20)

Jonathan Pollard: Israel spy greeted by Netanyahu after flying to Tel Aviv (30/12/20 to 1/1/21)

One related to a legal case:

Malka Leifer: Israel court approves extradition of sex abuse suspect to Australia (15/12/20 to 18/12/20)

Three reports can be categorised as miscellaneous:

Al Jazeera journalists ‘hacked via NSO Group spyware’ (21/12/20 to 24/12/20)

Gal Gadot defends Cleopatra casting after ‘whitewashing’ controversy (22/12/20 to 24/12/20)

Ivry Gitlis: Celebrated Israeli virtuoso violinist dies at 98 (25/12/20 to 30/12/20)

21.4% of the reports appearing on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page throughout December concerned events in Iran which – as was the case the previous month – were tagged ‘Israel’ despite there being no proof to date of Israeli involvement. While one rare item relating to internal Palestinian social affairs appeared towards the end of the month, audiences as usual saw considerably more coverage of Israeli internal affairs.  

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