You can always guarantee that any positive development in Jerusalem, be it in the areas of transport, tourism or the like, will be met with a negative Palestinian response. And you can always rely on the BBC to turn a positive story into a negative one by promoting Palestinian complaints.
So it was with a two-day event in Jerusalem that showcased Formula 1 racing cars roaring around the streets of Jerusalem to the delight of thousands of spectators. Billed as a “Peace Road Show,” it was a chance to put politics to one side and allow Israelis, eastern Jerusalem Palestinians and tourists of all religions to enjoy themselves.
The BBC’s headline, however, tells a different story:
Indeed, there was some controversy – mainly the concerns of a few Jerusalem residents at the inconvenience that the closure of major thoroughfares in the city center would cause, along with issues of costs and environmental concerns.
For the BBC, however, the controversy was: “Palestinian officials saw it [the F1 event] as an Israeli attempt to show sovereignty over the disputed city.”
Having interviewed the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, the BBC then included the following:
“The Israelis are trying all different ways to project their own agenda, including through sport,” said the Palestinian Authority Governor of Jerusalem district, Adnan Husseini.
“They are trying to show the issue of Jerusalem is resolved and that there is peace and stability. Actually it isn’t true. It’s not the fact.”
While Nir Barkat is the elected official responsible for the efficient running of the entire Jerusalem Municipality with a huge budget to go with that, who exactly is the “PA Governor of Jerusalem?”
The BBC fails to explain that Adnan Husseini’s title is just that – a title and nothing else. The PA has no authority in Jerusalem and his title is designed specifically to promote the myth of a Palestinian Jerusalem.
This writer’s family stood on the Jerusalem streets watching the Formula 1 event. While taking photos of the cars, they didn’t take photos of the crowds of Arabs standing next to them. Why? Because it didn’t seem unusual to Israelis used to mixing with Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem.
While the BBC did report the mixed audience, shouldn’t this have been the main point of a feel-good story rather than yet another attempt to view everything in the region through the narrow prism of conflict?