31 August '14..
On August 27th the CBBC website’s ‘Newsround’ section (which is aimed at children between the ages of six and twelve) updated a page titled “Guide: Why are Israel and the Palestinians fighting over Gaza?“.
The page itself is not new; it was originally created in November 2012 and was the subject of a complaint and a ruling by the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit in June 2013. Nevertheless, the item still includes many problematic statements – not least in its title.
Neither the most recent conflict of July/August 2014 nor the one before it in November 2012 was rooted in a dispute “over Gaza”. The idiom ‘to fight over’ means “to fight a battle that decides who gets […] something”. Israel does not – as that title incorrectly suggests – want Gaza. Both those conflicts, like the one before them, began because of escalated attacks on Israel’s civilian population. Neither was either conflict fought against “the Palestinians” but against Hamas and other terrorist organisations based in and acting from the Gaza Strip which perpetrate the attacks on Israeli communities. That same inaccuracy is repeated in the guide’s opening sentence.
“Israelis and Arabs have been fighting over Gaza on and off, for decades. It’s part of the wider Arab Israeli conflict.”
The item continues with an inaccurate description of events leading to the establishment of the State of Israel, erasing from view the Mandate for Palestine which preceded by 25 years the point in time bizarrely chosen by the BBC as the commencement of the story.