Previously we saw how the BBC News website and BBC World Service radio recently promoted redundant linkage to the topic of vaccinations for Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens in reports ostensibly about Israel’s vaccination drive, despite the corporation having acknowledged on February 9th that “the Oslo Accords give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health”.
The same practice was in evidence on BBC Radio 4 last week in two reports about ‘green passports’.
On February 24th listeners to ‘World at One’ heard an interview with a representative from Israel’s ministry of tourism (from 24:11 here) which was introduced by presenter Sarah Montague as follows: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]
Montague: “Meanwhile, in Israel approximately 30% of the population has been vaccinated. In the occupied territories the rate among Palestinians is far lower, with both sides saying the other bears responsibility for vaccinating the population. Israel is operating a green and purple badge scheme which means some citizens are able to go on holiday within the country and there are plans for travel corridors with Greece and Cyprus.”
Davis: “Now the ethical debate about Covid vaccine passports has taken off in this country. But the idea is not just an abstract one: we can now observe a working version of a passport system in Israel. With a third of Israelis vaccinated, a digital vaccine passport was introduced at the start of this week. Holders of the green passport can now go into synagogues, theatres, gyms and hotels. Israel’s health minister has said that whoever doesn’t get vaccinated will be left behind. Now the situation for Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip is very different. There only a few thousand people have been vaccinated. We’ve reported on that before on PM. But let’s hear now from the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Yolande Knell who sent this report from Jerusalem after getting her second jab.”
In both cases the topic of vaccination rates among Palestinians was not remotely relevant to the content of the item. Nevertheless, BBC producers chose to gratuitously shoehorn that topic into their introductions.
Notwithstanding the BBC’s February 9th clarification concerning the responsibility for Palestinians’ healthcare, the corporation’s staff continue to opportunistically promote unwarranted linkage in unrelated reports about Israel’s vaccination drive.