BBC Admits Error about Israel

The BBC was one of many international media organisations that criticised Israel for not including Palestinian Arabs in its COVID-19 vaccination programme. Many expressed the opinion that it was both morally wrong and that Israel was ignoring its responsibilities as what they described as ‘the occupying power.’

Accusations that Israel is illegally occupying Judea and Samaria, the so-called ‘West Bank’, are repeated often by media organisations, despite the fact the Jewish people were granted political rights to the area under an international mandate in the early 1920s.

However, last week the BBC admitted that it had made a mistake – most unusual for the BBC!

It acknowledged that under the “Oslo Accords” Israel is not responsible for the Palestinians’ medical care because they insisted on having that responsibility. The BBC’s statement read:

“We suggested that under the Oslo Accords, Palestinian healthcare
is ultimately the responsibility of the Israeli government.

“Although there is a wider dispute over the issue, the Accords – which Israel signed
with the Palestine Liberation Organisation – give the Palestinian Authority oversight
of public health under the principles of self-determination.”

That error by the BBC came in an interview with Jonathan Sacerdoti for their Dateline London programme. Presenter Shaun Ley suggested the agreement meant Israel should vaccinate the Palestinians.

But Sacerdoti corrected him, stating that it was the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, whose health ministry claimed it would obtain vaccines through the World Health Organisation.

In a separate statement to the Jewish Chronicle (JC), the BBC rejected suggestions of bias in its Arabic programmes and insisted BBC Arabic shared ‘the same principles of accuracy and impartiality as BBC News in English’.

However, the JC has highlighted as many as 25 errors in the BBC’s Arabic coverage of Israel in a period of just over two years. Errors that required an average of one correction each month.