The BBC does not have a great track record of balanced reporting in its Israel coverage.
Not only does it de-emphasise the scale of the occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territory.
Over decades, the BBC has consistently understated Israel’s everyday theft of further land. But it has also ignored most, if not all, of the tightening restrictions on Palestinians’ movement in their own territory – including the checkpoints and curfews imposed on Palestinian towns and neighbourhoods.
Unsurprisingly, this unbalanced news agenda extends to the use of force. Israeli Defence Force operations are presented as retaliation for Palestinian bombings and incursions, whereas the BBC offers very little narrative to contextualise the Palestinians’ struggle.
In fact, while Israel’s enforcement of an occupation held as illegal under international law is assumed to be justified in BBC news reports, it is the Palestinians’ right, enshrined under international law, to use force and oppose occupation.
What’s more, the BBC has been resistant to numerous complaints and challenges on this apparent bias over many years, without much evidence of a change of policy.
So it is interesting that the BBC has finally acknowledged that it has indeed understated the extent of the occupation in its Israel coverage in a report by Gavin Esler on Newsnight in January.
Whether this means BBC coverage will become more independent of Israel’s position, however, is another matter entirely.