BBC corrects false report on Israel and vaccines

BBC admits its journalist was wrong and that the vaccinations are the Palestinians’ responsibility.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

In a rare move, the British Broadcasting Corporation issued an apology, saying one of its reporters was wrong to insist that it was Israel’s responsibility to provide the Palestinians with coronavirus vaccinations, The Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday.

During an interview with the Chronicle‘s Jonathan Sacerdoti on the BBC program Dateline London on Jan. 16, BBC host Shaun Ley insisted that the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority meant that it was Israel’s job to vaccinate all Palestinians.

However, Sacerdoti told Ley that it was the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, reminding him that the Palestinian Ministry of Health said last year that they were getting vaccines through the World Health Organization.

Under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians asked for and were given complete control over their health system, specifically including vaccinations.

After receiving numerous complaints about the program, the BBC issued a correction and admitted it was wrong, the Chronicle reported.

In a statement to the long-established Jewish newspaper, the BBC denied it had shown any bias and rejected a previous Chronicle report showing additional bias in the reporting on the BBC’s Arabic language service.

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“We suggested that under the Oslo Accords, Palestinian healthcare is ultimately the responsibility of the Israeli government,” the BBC said, but then admitted: “Although there is a wider dispute over the issue, the Accords, which Israel signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization, give the Palestine Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self-determination.”

In its earlier report on the Arabic service, the newspaper gave the BBC “a detailed dossier of apparent breaches” that showed the Arabic news division was “downplaying attacks on Israelis, using language inspired by Hamas and showcasing extreme views without challenge. In one case a map was published in which Israel was erased.”

According to the paper, the BBC’s Arabic coverage required on average one major correction in its reporting on Israel every month over the past two years.