Coverage of the Intifada in Palestine
9th December 2002
Dear Mr Damazer,
We have been following the BBC's coverage of the Intifada in Palestine and note that:
a) In the recent past your reports used to include the latest cumulative tally of Israelis and Palestinians that have been killed in the second Intifada - but this seems not to be included any more. Our information indicates that the numbers killed so far include at least 1707 Palestinians and 668 Israelis. Is there a reason this is not mentioned any more?
b) In the late 1980's the BBC used to refer to 'Arab East Jerusalem'. However, we have not heard this phrase for some time now - only 'Jerusalem' is used. As you know, the Israelis have 'annexed' East Jerusalem, but this move is not recognized by the United Nations nor by our own government, which views East Jerusalem as being under illegal occupation. We would ask that your reporters clarify whether they are reporting from occupied Jerusalem or not - to do otherwise implies a recognition of Israel's illegal occupation and expropriation of Palestinian lands.
We are raising these issues because we are quite concerned about the misconceptions that persist about the Israel/Palestine conflict amongst the general public. A report by the Glasgow University Media Group last year found astonishingly that more British people believe that it is Palestinians who are occupying Israeli land rather than vice versa. This is perhaps not surprising given that the historical background to the long-running conflict in the Middle East is rarely mentioned in news reports.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala
The Muslim Council of Britain