BBC WS radio’s ‘Witness History’ does Oslo Accords week

Between September 11th and 15th the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Witness History’ aired five editions primarily based on archive material. The explanation given to listeners for the recycling of programmes broadcast in previous years – which will now be available once again “for over a year” – is presented as follows in all those broadcasts:

“It’s 30 years since the Oslo Accords were signed. This agreement in 1993 aimed to bring about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This week we’re bringing you stories from Israeli and Palestinian history.”

On September 11th listeners heard a programme dating from 2010 titled ‘Oslo Peace Accords: The secret talks behind Middle East deal’.

“In September 1993, a peace agreement was signed between Israel and the Palestinians after months of secret negotiations.

The historic handshake between Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin took place on the lawn of the White House.

Mona Juul and her husband were part of the team that planned and orchestrated top-secret meetings that culminated in the signing of the Oslo Accords.

She spoke to Louise Hidalgo in 2010.”

On September 12th a programme from 2017 titled ‘Camp David Summit: How Middle East peace talks failed’ was aired.

“In 2000, President Bill Clinton led a major effort to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The two sides were brought together at the leafy presidential retreat in Maryland. The Israeli leader, Ehud Barak and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, failed to reach any agreement and the summit ended in failure.

In 2017, Farhana Haider spoke to senior American diplomatic interpreter and policy adviser, Gamal Helal, who attended the Camp David summit.”

That programme was previously discussed here:

BBC WS HISTORY SHOW ‘EXPLAINS’ CAMP DAVID SUMMIT FAILURE

On September 13th the programme’s producers chose to air an edition first broadcast in 2012 titled ‘Ariel Sharon visits al-Aqsa’ which recycles a myth long promoted by the BBC concerning Sharon’s pre-coordinated visit to what – using PLO approved terminology – is described as “the al-Aqsa Mosque compound”.

“Rioting broke out in 2000 after the Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon made a controversial visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city.

In 2012, Mike Lanchin spoke to an Israeli and a Palestinian who were there that day.”

On September 14th listeners heard a programme dating from 2015 titled ‘The siege at the Church of the Nativity’.

“The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is on the site believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

But in 2002, it was at the centre of one of the most dramatic sieges of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For almost six weeks, Palestinian gunmen and civilians were holed up in the church.

In 2015 Louise Hidalgo spoke to Father Amjad Sabbara, a Franciscan friar who lived in the compound, and to Carolyn Cole, an American photojournalist who managed to get inside the church in the last days of the siege.”

That programme was previously discussed here:

BBC WS RADIO’S PARTISAN PORTRAYAL OF ‘THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY SIEGE’

The fifth and final programme, aired on September 15th, is titled ‘The Ramallah concert’.

“In August 2005, an unusual orchestra performed an extraordinary concert in the city of Ramallah.

The West-Eastern Divan orchestra was founded in 1999 by Israeli conductor, Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian literary critic and philosopher, Edward Said.

Their belief was that music has the power to bring people together.

Violinists, Tyme Khelefi and Daniel Cohen tell their stories to Gill Kearsley.”

As we see, only one of the programmes chosen by the BBC World Service to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Oslo Accords actually relates to that topic and its sole interviewee was a Norwegian. Of the additional seven interviewees in the selected programmes, two were American, three Palestinian and two Israeli.

Notably, the BBC World Service radio’s choice of “stories from Israeli and Palestinian history” did not include any accounts of the Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis in the years immediately following the signing of the Oslo Accords and during the second Intifada or the repeated Palestinian refusals of peace offers.

Related Articles:

BBC’S KNELL GIVES A NARRATIVE DRIVEN PORTRAYAL OF THE OSLO ACCORDS

BBC NEWS ENDORSES ITS SIX DAY WAR NARRATIVE BY CELEBRITY PROXY

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