Five months on, BBC Arabic corrects east Jerusalem inaccuracy

A post by CAMERA Arabic

(All translations and added emphasis by CAMERA Arabic)

On November 14th BBC Arabic editors finally amended a May 29th report which mislabelled east Jerusalem as “Palestinian.”

Relating to Israel’s Jerusalem Day events and repeating the same-day wording of AFP, that report originally read:

“Israeli security forces were intensely spread in East Jerusalem on Sunday in order to accompany the annually organised march, on the anniversary of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian portion of the city”

However, east Jerusalem was not the “Palestinian portion” of the city in 1967. From 1948 to 1967, it was illegally occupied by Jordan. Before that, just like the western part of the city, east Jerusalem was part of Mandate Palestine. The 1947 partition plan – rejected by the Arabs – had called for Jerusalem to be a corpus separatum; an international city administered by the United Nations for 10 years, at which point the city’s status was to be decided by a referendum. Before the British Mandate, the city was under Ottoman control, and so on. Going back through history, at no point has east Jerusalem ever been “the Palestinian portion of the city.”

Furthermore, until Israel gained control of east Jerusalem in 1967, even the PLO – charged by the Arab League in 1964 with the task of mobilising Palestinian Arabs to “liberate their homeland” and practice “self determination” – did not consider east Jerusalem as part of Palestinian “regional sovereignty.” Article 24 of its 1964 Charter clearly states:

“This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields.”

In fact at the time the PLO sought to exert Palestinian sovereignty only over western Jerusalem, together with the rest of internationally recognised territory of Israel (see also here.)

CAMERA Arabic secured a correction from AFP to its own report as well as a correction to the American public channel Alhurra’s syndicated version of it shortly after publication.

However, in the case of the BBC Arabic report, action was only taken 117 working days after submission of the original complaint – i.e. more than 11 times the timeframe for addressing a complaint as set by the BBC itself. The amended version of the report now reads: “…anniversary of Israeli annexation of east Jerusalem”.


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