BBC, Independent on Maher Assault

December 24, 2003 15:09 by

As noted below, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher was attacked by a Palestinian mob on Monday while he was praying at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque.

An HonestReporting subscriber wrote an letter to the BBC regarding their coverage of this issue, which caused the Beeb to adjust their article. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

The article notes that Mr. Maher “declined Israeli protection” whilst on the Temple Mount, and that he was accompanied by Egyptian and Palestinian guards. Yet the article reports that “the BBC’s Jill McGivering, in Jerusalem, says the incident is sure to cause some embarrassment for the Israelis.” There is no further explanation of this remark, or description of how an attack by Palestinian Muslim Arabs against the Foreign Minister of a nation whose majority is Muslim and Arab while being protected by Arab and Muslim body guards in a part of Jerusalem where Jewish Israelis are prohibited from visiting except on rare occasions is an embarrassment for Israel.

My assumption was that the article contains a typographical error, meaning to state that the incident is an embarrassment for Palestinians. If not, readers such as me would like a further explanation of how this incident in any way can be seen to embarrass Israel.

Thank you, M.S., Cincinnati, OH

M.S.’ critique caused BBC to change their article, which now reads “the incident is likely to prove embarrassing for the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as Egypt.”

The Independent had a similar line: “The mayhem embarrassed Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Although the Muslims control the mosque compound, known by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the Old City is under Israeli rule.”

Neither the BBC nor Independent have clarified why they declare (that is, make) this episode an “embarrassment” to Israel, which had no responsibility for Maher’s security at the site of the assault.

Comments to BBC: newsonline@bbc.co.uk
Comments to Independent: letters@independent.co.uk

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