Tuesday, May 10, 2005

BBC: Hamas and Elections 

The BBC covered the recent Palestinian municipal elections in which Hamas did fairly well. The first part of the piece was the usual precincts-and-percentages soup, with only a few little nuggets for the discerning palate.

The Fatah faction that Mr Arafat founded and led dominated the political scene for decades.

Under his leadership elections were rare. But now a phase of democratisation has begun, and Fatah is being put to the electoral test.
Wonderful description: "elections were rare". But I thought the BBC style-guide mandates Arafat as a "democratically elected leader," so what's to democratize? Ah well, bygones.

The surprising thing was that there was no purple finger angle to the story, showing how well the democratization is going. I guess the nasty Israelis intercepted all the purple ink shipments at the custom's terminals.

Then, there was the closing analysis, putting it all in perspective:

In Israeli eyes, Hamas is the worst kind of terrorist enemy.

Its charter still speaks of ultimately seeking to destroy Israel, and its suicide bombers have struck repeatedly.
So Hamas wants to "destroy Israel", does that really make them the worst kind of terrorist enemy? Only in Israeli eyes. In BBC eyes, I guess they're only a tad annoying.

Looking on the bright side, Hamas' intentions were quoted without words like "allegedly", so perhaps this is a step forward, now that the prestigious BBC is on record as noting without compromise their unvarnished intentions.

But its supporters regard Hamas as merely hitting back in retaliation for decades of dispossession and occupation at Israeli hands.

If the movement is able to exert significant influence over parliament and the decision making process here it will do everything it can to ensure that the Palestinian side drives the hardest possible bargain in any dealings with Israel.
I can't tell you how relieved Israelis are to hear that Hamas merely wants to drive the hardest possible bargain. Every shopper loves to find a great deal; it's only natural.

Wait a minute. Something is nagging at me, some important piece of BBC investigative journalism I read in the last, oh, 6-10 seconds. What was it again?

Oh right, "destroy Israel".

Is it possible that "hardest possible bargain" is a euphemism for that "seeking to destroy Israel" and "suicide bombing" business? As if Hamas's idea of the hardest possible bargain in the market of Land for Peace is actually the Palestinians getting all the land, and the Israelis getting a piece of the Meditteranean. The BBC seems to have a pretty unassailable position carved out for itself here, logic can't touch it: Hamas announces it wants to destroy Israel, which means if they are in power they will be good negotiators.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, but blithering inconsistency requires the BBC.

Dear British readers, do you consider your BBC fees well spent?
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