Despite claiming to be an outlet that does not tolerate racism and that prides itself on being “objective”, the BBC has spouted some of the very worst anti-Palestinian rhetoric on the Israeli ethnic cleansing of Sheikh Jarrah and completely ignored the most important facts in order to provide cover for Israel.
A “property dispute” is what the BBC is calling an Israeli takeover of Palestinian homes, ethnically cleansing them, to replace them with another racial group. A case so clear-cut that a toddler could comprehend is being turned into not only a pseudo-legal debate, but also a case to try and demonize those who are being oppressed.
The BBC turns the Palestinians into the bad guys with headlines such as “Palestinians and Israelis baulk at evictions compromise” or “Palestinians reject offer to end eviction threats”. Without having to be made to bow their heads in shame, the BBC actually wrote the following in an explainer article, which is supposed to tell people why Palestinians are being kicked out of their homes: “There is a long-running dispute over who owns land in the area, which has seen Jewish settler groups pursue evictions against Palestinians who had moved in as refugees.”
Covering up for racism and pretending International Law doesn’t exist
To begin with, there is no legal “dispute” over who owns the land. This may sound funny if you have been watching mainstream Western Press, but this is simply the most ridiculous claim that can be made about the forced ethnic-displacement of Palestinians from the town of Sheikh Jarrah.
Sheikh Jarrah is an area, populated by Palestinians and Illegal Israeli settlers who have taken over some of their homes. The neighborhood currently targeted by an illegal settler organisation is located in East Jerusalem. This means that Sheikh Jarrah resides in an illegally occupied Palestinian territory, as recognised by the United Nations and every authoritative organisation on the planet.
Israel conquered East Jerusalem in 1967, since that time it illegally annexed the territory. The annexation is not currently acknowledged as legal by any government on the planet, except Israel itself. Why is this important to understand? Well, this means that Israel’s courts, whether they be local to Jerusalem or whether it be the high court of the country, are completely invalid inside of occupied territories. Yes, that’s right, the BBC just completely brushed over the fact that there is no legal case to be made, because the case in and of itself is illegal to begin with. So it is either that the BBC as an outlet has to formally release a statement supporting, on their behalf, Israel’s illegal annexation of the occupied territory and their abandonment of the international consensus for a two-state solution, or they must issue corrections to every single piece they have produced on this issue.
Israel currently uses a law called the ‘1950 Absentees Property Law’, labelled by Human Rights Watch as discriminatory, which allows for Jews (but not Palestinians) to claim lands which they argue used to be owned by Jews. In the case of Sheikh Jarrah, even by this law itself, there is no argument for taking the homes of Palestinians based upon former Jewish ownership, because the homes were literally built by the Jordanians to house Palestinian refugees expelled from their original places of origin by Israel in 1948.
The decision to expel these Palestinians is also based upon a racist doctrine dating back to the 1970’s, when the Israeli government decided that over 70% of people in the city needed to be Jewish in order to maintain the correct ethnic “balance” to allow Israel to remain a Jewish State. Yes, Palestinians are literally being driven out of their homes, forced into homelessness, and having their property literally taken over by illegal Israeli settlers, just because of their race.
There is no other reason that Palestinians are being forced out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. The BBC is, however, making Palestinians look like they are the irrational ones for not accepting the takeover of their homes based solely on their ethnicity.
So what about the settler organisations which take the Palestinian families to court – because they are not Jewish – in order to seize the rights to their homes? Well, the main organisation responsible for launching the illegal “legal case” against the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, is named Nahalat Shimon and is owned by a company registered in the United States of America. It is fighting to have not only Israeli citizens but duel American-Israeli citizens, who are of Jewish origin, take the homes of Palestinians. Somehow, the “unbiased” BBC completely glosses over the fact that Americans, born in New York City, are claiming the homes of Palestinians in an illegally occupied territory, due to a court case launched by an organisation owned by a US registered company.
There are so many more aspects of this case which need to be debunked, but perhaps the most important to end on is the point about Palestinians rejecting a “compromise” made by the Israeli high court. It is not a rational compromise to have a foreign organisation claim your home, force you to pay them rent and have them remain as your landlord – with the threat of expulsion at any moment – when you are being targeted purely because of your ethnicity. It is ridiculous and racist to assert that Palestinians are in the wrong here, when they are simply sticking to what rights are afforded to them under international law.
But hey, the BBC seems to have no idea what international law is or that racism exists when it comes to issues surrounding the Palestinians. Apparently journalists and professional news organisations are supposed to just completely drop all their professional skills and serve the State propaganda of what Human Rights Watch call an Apartheid regime, when it comes to Israel-Palestine.