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The Guardian JULY 11, 2014 - by Brian Eno

LETTERS: QUESTIONS OVER BBC'S COVERAGE OF ISRAEL-PALESTINE CRISIS

I've been an active and vocal supporter of the BBC for the whole of my adult life, admiring its courage and commitment to the values of fairness that we in England claim to cherish. The BBC's famous impartiality made it a global standard of honest journalism. But now that reputation is being eroded. It's a drift I started to notice a few years ago, and which I think has become very obvious.

The most recent incident concerns the killing of three Israeli teenagers in Hebron. This admittedly disgusting crime has received an entirely disproportionate treatment: listening to the BBC one would be left with the impression that killing children had never happened in Israel before.

But it has. And it happens with monotonous regularity. Not, by and large, to Israeli children, but to Palestinians. And not only killing, but imprisonment and torture and day-to-day harassment and brutality.

This goes on all the time - and I see little reaction to it from the international media. Unfortunately, that increasingly includes the BBC, which now, like many others, seems to regard Palestinian lives as less valuable, less newsworthy.

The following is taken from the recent UN general assembly security council report A/68/878-S/2014/339 - Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children:

"In 2013, eight Palestinian children were killed by Israelis, and no Israeli children were killed by Palestinians" - p17/50

"One-thousand two-hundred-and-sixty-five Palestinian children were injured by Israelis, and eight Israeli children were injured by Palestinians" - p17/50

"One-thousand-and-four Palestinian children were arrested by Israeli security forces, with a hundred and seven of them (including five children under the age of twelve) reporting cruel and degrading ill-treatment by the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli police, including painful restraint, blindfolding, strip-searching, verbal and physical abuse, solitary confinement and threats of violence" - p18/50

"There were fifty-eight education-related incidents affecting over eleven-thousand Palestinian children, with forty-one of them involving Israeli security forces operations near or inside schools, forced entry without forewarning, the firing of tear gas canisters and sound bombs into school yards and, in some cases, structural damage to schools. In fifteen of the incidents, Israeli security forces fired tear gas canisters into schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), some during class hours, without forewarning" - p19/50

Can the BBC honestly say its recent coverage reflects this balance of events?

Brian Eno
London


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