Monday, 22 March 2010

To Jeremy Bowen on West Bank killings

Dear Jeremy

In recent days, the Israeli army have killed four Palestinians around Nablus, two of them 16 year old boys, Mohammad Qadus and Useid Qadus. In the latter case, an x-ray pathology film clearly shows a live round embedded in the boy's skull, a decisive refutation of Israeli army claims that it was only firing rubber-coated bullets.

I'd like to ask you, as a senior journalist in the region, whether the BBC's coverage of these killings is sufficiently detailed and prominent across its various news outlets? And, would the killing of two 16 year old Israeli kids with live rounds have merited the same abbreviated response?

Surely, as an observant reporter, you can see the vast discrepancies between localised reporting such as Maan's and the BBC's token output?

What's your honest opinion of the quality between this report from AlJazeera and the BBC's? Is there, for instance, sufficient mention of Israel's "illegal" presence and conduct, as included in the AlJazeera coverage?

Don't you agree, also, that these killings should be reported as central context in the BBC's analysis of the 'peace process' and Netanyahu's continued efforts to undermine any proto-negotiations?

I look forward to your reply.


John Hilley


Here's what passes for BBC coverage, a tail-ended mention of the killings with slavish reiteration of the Israeli version and no attempt to investigate the matter further:

Mr Netanyahu is to travel to Washington on Sunday, where he is expected to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and possibly President Barack Obama.

Also on Sunday, the Israel army said soldiers shot dead two Palestinians who tried to stab a soldier at a checkpoint in the West Bank.

The soldier was on a routine patrol near a security crossing southeast of Nablus.

The deaths bring to four the number of Palestinians killed in the past two days in the occupied West Bank.

A Palestinian teenager was shot dead during clashes near Nablus on Saturday. A second person shot on Saturday died of his injuries on Sunday, West Bank medical officials said.

The army said no live bullets were fired, only tear gas and rubber bullets."

As ever, Palestinian blood is of passing interest to the BBC. Palestinian life is cheap, the ruthless murder of young civilians a statistical aside to the robotic coverage of high diplomatic posturing.




To BBC World Service

(Sent 23 March 2010)

Dear Editor

Please could you comment on this just-released research paper revealing multiple instances of systemic BBC bias and lack of objectivity in its Arabic news coverage of Palestine-Israel.

Alongside much other academic evidence of pro-Israeli reportage, do you really believe that BBC claims to impartial and balanced output stand up to serious scrutiny?

Yours sincerely

John Hilley


A further note:

On the diplomat expulsion issue, Jeremy Bowen says:

"Britain's relations with Israel have been difficult for some time."

"And late last year the former Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni - now Israel's opposition leader - was forced to cancel a trip to Britain at short notice after a warrant was issued for her arrest on war crimes charges."
What Bowen fails to mention is that Brown, Miliband and other senior Labour Friends of Israel figures have been doing everything in their power to change the law on behalf of Livni and her war-crime cronies - notably, by taking away magistrates' arrest warrants and making it a police/CPS only - that is, a political - decision).

The expulsion itself is a necessary gesture. Some 'rebuke' had to be made given the damning police/intelligence report which landed on the Foreign Office's desk. Yet, besides such token action, where's the proportionality of response? Miliband might see the passport cloning as "an outrage" and "intolerable". But he has no such words in his sanctimonious vocabulary to condemn Israel over the state murder of Palestinian teenagers.

Alas, Jeremy Bowen has no useful words, either, in his reports to help highlight such hypocrisy.


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