Dear Editor, BBC News website,
I am writing about the following BBC News story:
BBC News Story
It contains the following two sentences:
'Israel, the US and the European Union regard Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, as a terrorist organisation.
'Hamas is officially dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.'
I have noticed that these sentences are almost routinely now being added to all BBC News website stories about the Israel-Palestine conflict which I assume may mean there is some kind of editorial stipulation to do so. Unfortunately, it would not surprise me if this was indeed the case as pro-Israeli groups have been vigorously lobbying various Western media outlets to enact just such measures.
However, perhaps you could explain why in that case such stories do not also just as routinely point out that Israel has been occupying Palestinian lands since 1967 and the world is agreed that the Jewish settlements established therein are illegal under international law.
Also, the same BBC story included this sentence:
'Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has refused to see Mr Carter, who was ending his regional visit in Jerusalem.'
As you must surely know, East Jerusalem is illegally occupied by Israel and has been trying to unlawfully annex it (in a move the rest of the world does not accept). Israel would like the rest of the world to accept that 'Jerusalem' is the undivided capital of Israel. By not pointing out whether the BBC is referring to Israeli West Jerusalem or occupied East Jerusalem, isn't the BBC complicit in the Israeli aim? I recall in the late 1980's that the BBC did indeed refer to 'Arab East Jerusalem' (a stance now abandoned for some strange reason) - why cannot the BBC routinely make it plain that this is occupied territory?
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330,