Readers may recall that in late March and early April of this year, the BBC repeatedly promoted the notion that “a rare convergence” of Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious festivals could be the potential spark for violence at Temple Mount where, audiences were told, “visits by religious Jews…are viewed by Palestinians as provocative”.
As documented at the time, the BBC consistently failed to inform its audiences of the pre-planned and organised nature of specific incidents of rioting at Temple Mount or of the fact that Hamas had been inciting such violence for several weeks beforehand.
Only in late May did the BBC News website get round to reporting one example of Hamas’ practical efforts to provoke violent clashes at Temple Mount:
As major Jewish holidays and holy days are set to commence next week, reports of similar incitement have appeared in the Israeli media.
“Israeli officials have “concrete warnings” that terror groups plan to incite violence in and around the Temple Mount ahead of the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, Kan news reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed security official. […]
The source also said police had issued restraining orders to known Jewish and Arab agitators to keep away from the site during the upcoming holiday season.
East Jerusalem social media accounts have encouraged Muslims to visit the Temple Mount throughout the upcoming Jewish holidays, particularly during the morning and afternoon, when Jews are allowed to visit.”
The Jerusalem Post reported:
“Hamas and extremist Palestinian forces are trying to escalate the situation on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, with the aim of having it develop into an all-out conflict with Israel, Eyal Hulata, head of the National Security Council, said on Thursday.
“There are constant efforts by Hamas and others to escalate and create a narrative that al-Aqsa is in danger and to turn Jerusalem into an explosive detonator,” Hulata said at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Herzliya.”
BBC audiences have to date seen no mention of this latest incitement or related police preparations.
In contrast to previous reporting over the years, it would clearly be beneficial to BBC audiences to be informed of such incitement in order to enhance understanding in the event of any violent incidents at Temple Mount in the near future.
It would also be prudent for the BBC to remind its journalists that the use of partisan and politically motivated terminology such as “settlers” (to describe Jews visiting Temple Mount) and “storming” (to describe walking tours) is not consistent with the BBC’s claim to impartiality.
Additionally, it is of course high time that the BBC returned to its own style guide’s dictates concerning the description of that site rather than using the politically motivated – and confusing – titles such as “Al Aqsa Mosque” or “Al Aqsa Mosque compound” which it has embraced since 2014.