Compared to some previous years, BBC News website reporting on the topic of Christmas 2022 was quite low-key.
The main item was a report by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell together with Mattea Bubalo which appeared on the website’s ‘Middle East’ page on December 24th under the headline “Bethlehem sees Christmas tourism boost after two-year Covid hiatus”.
However, as was already apparent in the fourth paragraph, Knell and Bubalo did not confine themselves to reporting on the topic of the post-Covid return of tourists to Bethlehem:
“Festivities follow a deadly escalation of violence in the occupied West Bank and Israel.”
Among the report’s descriptions of the celebrations and observations on the revival of tourism, readers find the following, together with a link to a problematic recent BBC report about a government which has yet to be sworn in.
“While businesspeople here are optimistic about an economic recovery, there is also concern about the impact of a recent increase in violence between Israelis and Palestinians and how the policies of the incoming far-right Israeli government could increase tensions.
The new government, considered the most right-wing in Israel’s history, sees Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to a historic sixth term in power.
Earlier this month, Israel said its forces unintentionally killed a 16-year-old Palestinian girl during a gun battle with militants in the occupied West Bank. In November, five Palestinian men were killed by Israeli forces in four separate incidents in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.”
Below that readers find three more links, the first of which relates to the December 11th incident during which a girl who was on a rooftop during a gunfight was accidentally shot:
The second link leads to a BBC report on what Knell and Bubalo tepidly describe as “five Palestinian men” killed in November, without any clarification of the fact that all were involved in violent activity at the time of their deaths, including one who carried out a terror attack:
The third link promotes a problematic December 3rd article by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman about an incident in al Mughayyir which was also reported in the previous link:
Notably, Knell and Bubalo’s portrayal of “a recent increase in violence between Israelis and Palestinians” makes no mention whatsoever of the five Israelis murdered (and 28 injured) by Palestinian terrorists during November. Neither do they bother to explain how the long-standing policies of the Palestinian Authority – such as employing terrorists, glorifying terrorism and paying stipends to terrorists – “could increase tensions”.
In other words, Knell and Bubalo exploited reader interest in the topic of Christmas in Bethlehem for promotion of existing one-sided narratives to which the BBC long since self-conscripted.