Thursday, 18 November 2010

Israel's plans to put Palestinians on a diet

Sent today to Jon Donnison, the BBC's Middle East Correspondent.

Dear Jon

I trust you're managing well in Gaza.

As you are probably aware, Gisha, an active human rights organisation, has managed to obtain damning documents revealing the Israeli state's systematic plans to keep the entire population of Gaza, all children included, on a near-starvation diet.

As the current Media Lens Alert shows, it completely undermines Israel's insistent claims that the siege of Gaza, Operation Cast Lead and other attacks on Gaza have been motivated by "security" concerns.

I've had a useful exchange with you in the past and wonder whether you'd be willing, in the same constructive vein, to address the following questions.

1. Do you consider this document a significant piece of evidence confirming the Israeli state's true intentions towards Gaza?

2. Are you concerned that almost the entire international media has failed to cover this story?

3. Could you tell me whether the BBC:
a) thought the story too unimportant to report
b) didn't know about it
c) had other reasons for not reporting it

Again, please note that I'm asking these questions in a non-adversarial way. I think it would be helpful and in the public interest to have your considered, on-the-ground thoughts on why this crucial document and its highly-revealing content has never been noted by the BBC.

I do hope you can help shed some light on these matters.

Best wishes

John Hilley


No reply, as yet. Besides the stark absence of any media reporting of this key missive, one must also note the conspicuous lack of any BBC response to the Media Lens Alert.

The ML Editors have noted at their site:

"It'll be interesting to see whether these challenges are being passed up the BBC chain of command, a self-serving corporate response discussed, drafted and agreed, and then identikit replies churned out by the BBC "complaints" unit."

The independent Nazareth-based journalist Jonathan Cook has also posted these useful points at the ML board:

"great alert. i think you might be creating a very useful research project here. each time an important piece of evidence emerges that proves israeli bad faith, and / or US complicity, it will interesting to test how consistently the media fails to cover it.

previously you highlighted the obama letter, and i think the same could be said for the netanyahu video in which he's caught on camera admitting that he avoided implementing the oslo accords and then pulled the wool over the americans' eyes. i suspect it's also true of israel's recent secret training exercise to transfer the country's arab citizens.

journalists and their news organisations can always refer to the failure to report a single episode as an oversight (even if they ALL fail to report it!). but if they all consistently fail to report these kinds of incidents every time they occur, then that defence becomes much harder to maintain, even for self-deceiving journalists.

all best, jonathan"



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