Before listening to reports about Israel on From Our Own Correspondent I will admit to sometimes experiencing a tightening feeling in my stomach. I had that feeling this morning on hearing that today's FOOC was leading with a piece prompted by the recent troubles in Jerusalem.
I expected the worst and got it from Kate Adie's introduction:
These have been days of mounting tension in Jerusalem, most of it connected with the Temple Mount or Haram esh-Sharif, a site sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians alike. Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel earlier in the week after police used grenades, teargas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of stone-throwing Palestinians who'd barricaded themselves inside the site. Muslim worshippers had been angered by a campaign by far-right Jewish nationalists who want to be allowed to pray there. Kevin Connolly says there's no where in the Middle East, or elsewhere, quite as sensitive as this spot in the heart of Jerusalem.
This, as you can see, placed all the blame on Israel. According to Kate Adie, it was Israeli police who provoked the Palestinian crowd and enraged the Jordanians. According to Kate Adie, it was "far-right Jewish nationalists" who angered the Muslim worshippers. No mention of the incitements to violence from the Palestinian Authority. No mention of the assassination attempt on Rabbi Yehuda Glick. No mention of the two recent murderous attacks by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem. No, it's all Israel's fault.
When Kevin Connolly's report finally came it felt like something of a relief after this highly-biased prelude. I'm curious to see what Hadar at BBC Watch makes of it though.
I did smile, however, at Kevin's gentle mockery of one element of Christian sacred history (Constantine the Great's mother finding a piece of the true cross in Jerusalem), which contrasted with his complete absence of irony when mentioning Mohammed's horse. He didn't even mention its wings. He could have slipped in a little joke about it, couldn't he? - something along the lines of "Islam is very lucky to have a winged horse at the centre of its founding prophet's life. Judaism and Christianity don't have winged horses which, of course, makes them far less credible" perhaps?