The BBC often provides good news coverage and analysis, but today it dropped the ball. Its coverage of the news that Israel green-lighted a series of settlements ahead of negotiations with the Palestinians is a bit misleading.Here’s the key passage, buried at the very bottom of the piece:
A housing ministry spokesman told the BBC that construction would begin in one to two years’ time.
So nothing will happen for the next two years. However, if there is progress toward a solution, one might assume that stopping these before anything happens would be part of the deal. The Beeb doesn’t draw that important connection for the reader.The whole piece suffers from this tendency to misdirect. It doesn’t make it easy for average readers who don’t follow this story in much detail to figure out how serious this issue is. Many of the settlement blocs have already been more or less conceded by both sides to be staying in Israel as part of territorial exchanges. Permits in those places are not really news. Ditto for East Jerusalem; while Israelis claim the whole thing, there are places of greater and lesser sensitivity.The whole piece is much too ill-informed and poorly edited to do justice as a major news outlet’s coverage of one of the most closely watched issues of our time.[A partial view shows the Jewish settlement of Har Homa in east Jerusalem on November 14, 2010. Photo courtesy Getty Images.]