A year ago, in January 2021, the BBC commenced multi-platform promotion of an opportunistic campaign to delegitimise Israel using the subject of vaccinations against Covid-19, the first two months of which are summarised below:
Promotion of that campaign – in no small part by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman – continued in the months that followed:
In June 2021 the Palestinian Authority rejected an arrangement whereby Israel would provide it with over a million doses of the vaccine:
BBC amplification of the campaign by what it termed “aid groups and human rights groups” largely – but not entirely – subsided after that.
However, on January 2nd 2022 the BBC News website published a report titled ‘Covid: Israel Omicron spike could bring herd immunity but with risks – health boss’ on its ‘Middle East’ page in which readers find the following:
The link offered to readers leads to an article by the BBC’s ‘Reality Check’ department that was last updated in March 2021 and which we discussed here:
The claim that “UN experts had been critical of Israel’s failure to fully extend its vaccination programme to Palestinians under its control” is inaccurate.
As we noted in January 2021, those “UN experts” are in fact two UN special rapporteurs (who are not UN staff members) for the notoriously anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council – Tlaleng Mofokeng and Michael Lynk. In common with numerous previous BBC reports, this one too makes no effort to inform audiences of the obviously relevant anti-Israel record of one of the authors of the cited document.
“The suggestion from the United Nations, that we cited, that Israel has a legal obligation to make sure Palestinians under occupation have access to vaccinations, came on this occasion from two special rapporteurs working for the UN’s Human Rights Council. They are independent experts, rather than UN staff.”
As we see, that misinformation is nevertheless still being promoted by the BBC.
The claim that “The Israelis said the Palestinians were responsible for managing health matters in the Palestinian Territories” fails to inform readers of the relevant section of the 1995 Oslo Accords which states:
“Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of Health in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be transferred to the Palestinian side, including the health insurance system.”
Moreover, in February 2021 the BBC acknowledged that:
“We agree we should have said the Oslo Accords give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self determination…”
A clarification issued by the BBC on February 9th 2021 reads:
“We suggested that under the Oslo Accords, Palestinian healthcare is ultimately the responsibility of the Israeli government.
Although there is a wider dispute over the issue, the Accords – which Israel signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation – give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self-determination.”
Members of the BBC’s funding British public may well be asking themselves why misleading claims that were already the subject of complaints and eventual corrections and clarifications are still appearing in BBC content months later, thereby potentially bringing about a waste of public funds to handle further complaints on the same issues.