Moving Tale

Our friend Yolande Knell addresses the Bedouin question. I think it is fair to say that she sees it solely from the Bedouin perspective. So much so that her article comes across as another bit of pure Israel-bashing.
The fundamental issue concerns the human rights of a people who wish to hang on to their traditional way of life, when it clearly conflicts with the interests of certain other people who wish to abide by the law-and-order to which they’ve become accustomed.
In an ideal world, live and let live is a fine principle. But the reality is less than ideal. Compromises must eventually be reached and accepted all round.

Yolande Knell’s piece suggests Israel has pushed the noble Bedouin community from pillar to post, deliberately depriving them of their traditional way of life, forcibly relocating them to a static enclosure situated beside a rubbish dump. There are complex facts surrounding the legality of Bedouin rights to land, but Knell dismisses these in a cursory way and skews them till they seem discriminatory and racist:

“They mostly live in areas that Israel declared as state land or on private land leased from Palestinians. Some have deeds showing they bought territory when Jordan was in control of the area between 1948 and 1967.
Many of the nomadic communities settled there after leaving their ancestral land in the Negev desert. The Bedouin that remained became Israeli citizens but still have a tense relationship with the state.”

When Jordan was in control” she says. Or would it be more accurate to say: “when Jordan invaded and occupied it in 1948 and annexed it in 1950”

Knell uses emotive language, sub-headings and pictures throughout.
It’s ‘Dalé jâ vu Farm’ all over again; and as with gypsy and traveller sites that perplex our own communities, these disputes are highly political.
I don’t claim particular expertise on this problem, but from what I’ve read it seems that many people feel that the Bedouin have indeed been treated harshly by successive Israeli governments. Equally their uncooperative behaviour has made things more difficult for everybody including themselves. The anomalies in their demands parallel our own Gypsies’ and travellers’ contradictory demands for the right to proper housing while insisting that they need to travel. Many people ask why should the nomadic gypsy lifestyle be romanticised to such an extent that it trumps the rights of the rest of society? Similarly, the question of enforcing the law in respect of illegal building. Consider the outcry if a traveller’s illegally erected shack is demolished, and its occupants evicted, in other words if it’s treated in exactly the same way as if it had it been constructed by a member of the settled community without proper planning permission, a scenario in which enforcement of the law goes without saying.

There are generally two sides to such tales of woe, and to understand the situation you’d need to know much more than you could learn from Yolande Knell’s one-sided polemic. Actually I suspect that anyone reading it wouldn’t realise that there is an alternative perspective.
One aspect she ignores is:

“The Israeli government has made numerous attempts over the years to solve the disputes with the 40% of the Negev Bedouin population which does not currently live in one of the seven purpose-built towns. Additional new towns are planned, with offers of free land, a waiver on infrastructure development costs and financial relocation packages for those moving there from illegally constructed encampments. No other sector of Israeli society is eligible for these benefits.”

So agree with it or not, if balance of any sort is to be achieved the BBC should be telling us that the Israeli government is at least trying hard to solve this difficult conundrum in as much detail as they tell us about the woes of the Bedouin. I don’t see what is to be gained from incessantly pushing a pro Palestinian agenda by publishing endless Israel-bashing articles and emotive images.

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27 Responses to Moving Tale

  1. cjhartnett says:

    Israel was given nation status in 1948 via the UN…The USA and USSR at that time both agreed to it, when they could agree on little else.
    It is only 25% of the land that should comprise Israel, but you`d have thought that even the little that they hold would be left alone.
    But no…the very existance of Israel is the affront to its neighbours, and that it is prepared to defend itself makes it hated by the UN. That it actually stands for something in support of being a sovereign independent nation makes it hated by the EU (and a democratic one too…urgh!)…and that its very existance reminds the USA of what it TOO was meant to stand for, makes it an embarrassment-especially to the likes of Obama and Carter.
    Now I`m no expert-but the size of Israel is a sliver of fragile land in the midst of head chopping, women stoning, civilian murdering torturers who are yet to join the rest of us in the 16th Century…let alone the 21st.
    Yet guess who the BBC supports…all that desert, those few scattered Bedouin…yet Israel is supposed to shrivel into Ahmadinejadhs thong by way of size!
    I think Saudi has a few shekels spare…maybe they could buy their umma chummies off and stop draining Israel of its very lifeblood.
    In fact, if this chipping away at Israel continues…Bibi etc may well see a need to expand to something bigger….for Isalm despises the weak. That Israel has already given way too much away might need revising if they are to stay a beacon to the world-whether the world cares to know or not!


    • noggin says:

      yes i think you maybe right CJ, he s said it before, israel may act alone…and you know i it comes down to it who could blame her?

      oh and the bbc, i stated this on the last thread..
      On Israel,    press tv – bbc, virtually no difference both as biased
      both just dribbling propaganda, and antisemitism…anything ANYTHING!  to delegitmise Israel…
      whether B/S exposes, lefty narrative reports, doctored phone ins
      etc etc the list is seemingly endless.


      • noggin says:

        Hamas Leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: Western Civilization ‘Will Not Be Able to Withstand the Great and Glorious Islam”
        MEMRI, October 28:

        “The Arab nation has begun to reap the fruits of the hot Arab spring. Yesterday, the Islamists won in Tunisia, tomorrow, they will win in Egypt, and then in Libya, until Islam, which rules in accordance with the Koran, will prevail throughout the land”

        Yolande..I really look forward to your indepth bbc report on this
        you know to balance out…….hello
        Yolande……………….hello… still there? 😀


    • jarwill101 says:

        Excellent comment, cj. I have a feeling ‘Ahmadinejad’s thong’ may well have entered the Biased BBC lexicon.


  2. Craig says:

    Yes, Yolande Knell’s report is certainly “emotive”, emotionally manipulative even. Whether she’s responsible for choosing the photos, the block quotes and the sub-headings, or whether a BBC sub-editor is the guilty party, her article smells far too much like propaganda for comfort.

    The article may briefly feature a few points from the other side, but she completely drowns them out. There are so many things that seem intended to stir the reader’s sympathies for the Bedouin, like the “close to a rubbish dump” bit and all the details that paint a picture of ‘the rich settlers in their castle, the poor Bedouin at their gate’. And, of course, the children in the photos.

    P.S. @ cj (as they say on Twitter), “Israel is a sliver of fragile land in the midst of head chopping, women stoning, civilian murdering torturers who are yet to join the rest of us in the 16th Century…let alone the 21st.” Excellent! 


  3. Grant says:

    But, as the BBC is unbiased, objective and even-handed, they will also feature the appalling treatment of bedouin by their fellow Arabs. The forced settlments, the torture, the imprisonment, the persecution.  I can’t wait for a fearless, investigative documentary in the honorable tradition of the BBC.
    On the other hand, the scumbags might just ignore that side of the story !  


  4. George R says:

    Yes; as usual, Ms Knell ignores history and ignores geography and picks on  Israel.

    Here is a response to similar criticism (of 2010)

    “Israel and the Bedouins in context ”

    Who knows, one day Ms Knell might notice and really report the ongoing persecutions and massacres of Christians (and others) by Muslims in Egypt and beyond, pre- and post-‘Arab Spring’. Then again..


  5. Teddy Bear says:

    Great post Sue.
    There is so much ignorance displayed by this article, not that it has ever troubled the BBC before. All they need is an Arab, who we know are not averse to lying – they even see it as part of their religious ‘struggle’, to make statements that fit the agenda the BBC wants to pursue, and the BBC will report it as fact.

    Used to be a time when a journalist would research a  subject before they report on it though, especially one that’s complex, and one that they clearly have no previous understanding. But since the BBC have become so arrogant in the way that they can dismiss complaints, and not have to give counter argumants any voice, they’ve long since decided they can dispense with accuracy or fact and just spew propaganda.

    For example, I doubt Knell knows the difference between a Bedouin and a Falach (Arab peasant). Falachim are on the lowest rung of Arab society, live on the fringes of settlements be they Israeli or Arab, and have to eke out a living in the most unwanted or more barren areas – like deserts. Unlike Bedouin, who are desert experts gained over many generations and a proud tribal people, Falachim have no such history with which to regale themselves. Bedouin despise Falachim, rightly or wrongly, and there have been many conflicts between them.

    If you met a Falach they would probably tell you they were Bedouin, as they know there is far more awe and respect for the latter, much like a Moroccan would tell you they were from the South of France. This is part of the reason Bedouins can’t stand them. Mark Twain was probably referring to Falachim when he encountered them in the early 1900’s, but mistakenly thought they were Bedouins, when he said that Bedouins don’t live in deserts – just anywhere they live becomes a desert.

    Point is, Bedouin are nomadic tribesman, and quite certainly forthose in Israel, their historical lifestyle has had to adapt quite differently since the creation of the State, at least those who chose to stay.

    The whole State of Israel comprises 0.01% (near enough the area of Wales) of the total area of the surrounding Arab lands. 67% of this 0.01% is extreme barren desert. Hard to imagine that the population of Israel could inhabit this arid wilderness and still permit Bedouin to roam around at will. Seeing how Britain affected the indigineous Aborigine and Maori lifestyle when they took over Australia and New Zealand, they should understand all too well, and they could have been far more accomodating than they were than Israel can now be. In any event Britain is the last nation to be pointing fingers.

    Around Tel Arad there are numerous Bedouin tribes living today in settlements. There are also Falachim. If you look at the map I’ve copied here, you can see the names of numerous Arab settlements around Tel Arad in the center, some occupied by Bedouins, some by Falach.

    The area Knell identifies as Maale Adumim, just outside of Jerusalem, is the northern end of the Judean desert. The desert region there is predominantly inhabited by Falach, not Bedouin. The Jahalin tribe she refers to, according to Wikipedia are found in north Sudan and are a Hashemite Arab tribe. Since the Jordanians are Hashemites, and Bedouin (as Knell likes to call them) are nomadic, then these Jahalin could have simply moved across the Jordan river in 1967 if they wanted to continue their ancestral lifestyle. But she chooses to berate Israel coming and going. One for those who already endure harsh conditions in the desert. They have no running water or access to the electrical grid.’  and again when we are told that Israel wants to move them closer to urban areas where they could enjoy these amenities, but where they cannot pursue their traditional agricultural lifestyles.

    There’s a lot more crap in this article, but it’s typical BBC in its lack of balance or even attempt at accuracy.


    • Grant says:

      Superb post , Teddy  !


    • sue says:

      Thanks for that helpful info, Teddy Bear.  You know much more about it than I do. I relied on gut feeling, and one or two invaluable websites.

      Of course I’ve written about Yolande Knell before. She seems to be getting worse, I remember once praising her for a report about an Egyptian attack on Copts. Of course that piece probably didn’t directly concern Israel.

      I do wonder if the editing procedure spices it up to make it more sensational. Those subheadings are outrageous.


      • Teddy Bear says:

        Thanks Grant and Sue 🙂

        I assume the ‘gut feeling’ you refer to is the same as mine – see an article on Israel by the BBC and know it’s biased 😉

        Like this one adjoining the one you posted about on the BBC website 
        Viewpoint: I’m Palestinian – but where am I from?

        Where was he from when it was run by Britain, or Turkey, or before that? Of course it’s Israel that’s preventing Palestine from having its own State now.


  6. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Good points, sue. It seems that, according to the BBC, everyone is allowed to set up illegal homesteads wherever they please, regardless of borders, law, or ownership. Except Jews.


  7. sue says:

    In view of the fact that my pieces usually become  ‘the Israel thread’ I wanted to mention Richard Millet’s observations about the channel 4 programme about the Paralympic hopefuls in Gaza.
    I posted something about it on the end of a deceased open thread. I said something like this:

     I really hope they do well, not least because concentrating on positive things like this take their minds off their Jihad. 
    But what about the presenter? I know those Jarvis Cocker specs are all the rage. But they don’t suit everybody, do they? 
    Aidan Hartley was his name, blaming Israel was his game.  I thought he was a ridiculous person who quite clearly knew next to nothing about the situation, and was totally unsuited to be let loose on such a topic. Very irresponsible of channel 4.
    Everything was Israel’s fault. He didn’t seem to notice the significance of his own words.
    He said quite clearly that the drone attacks that injured two boys came after rocket attacks from Gaza ‘fired from somewhere near the boys who were playing in the street’, but he didn’t find that at all odd; and even though he knew, and took for granted, that the bereaved boy’s mother had been treated for cancer in an Israeli hospital, he was much more concerned that her son wasn’t allowed to be by her side when she died. And even though he knew the women’s team was about to visit Qatar he still said Gaza was a prison from which no-one could travel. 
    He even seemed to be blaming Israel indirectly for the fact that there were so many disabilities in Gaza through intermarrying, which he said was because of poverty, which is all Israel’s fault of course.
    His gurning delivery was annoying enough,  but his narrow-minded attitude completely eliminated the positive and accentuated the negative, and didn’t mess with Mr. In-between. 
    That’s channel four for you. Just like the BBC.

    I’m glad Richard Millett has addressed that one, and it’s been cross posted on CiFWatch too.


    • Grant says:

      “Intermarrying ” because of poverty.  How I laughed at that !  There could be another reason.  Now , let me see…………


  8. Biodegradable says:

    I posted this on another thread a few days ago:

    BTW, regarding the Bedouin story, it would have been too much to expect for the BBC to have ever reported on Ishmael Khaldi, Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat.  
    Bedouin-Israeli Vice Consul Responds to Apartheid Week


    • Teddy Bear says:

      Historically many Bedouins felt a greater affinity with the Jews of Israel than surrounding Arabs. Because of the 40 year sojourn in the desert at the time of Moses, it made them ‘closer’. There is a lot of respect too by them for the way the Israelis have managed to make the desert less of a wilderness, and more of a home.

      Many Bedouins have served voluntarily in the Israeli army, usually as scouts, and many too have been financially rewarded with enterprises they have started, and achieved a lifestyle hitherto unheard of for a Bedouin since Nabatean times.

      But like every society, there are those that achieve and those that don’t. ‘The grass is always greener…’ or as a Bedouin might say ‘The sand is always hotter…’, and not all are success stories, nor could one think it could be so.

      Many are involved in smuggling, particularly drugs. Many see the route of militant Islam as the way to achieve of power. The ways of old are not pursued as they once were, but that is the way of the world, and unless we go back to primitive times, they won’t come again.


  9. ian says:

    Apparently Egypt has been having trouble with the Bedouin too, or the Bedouin have been persecuted by Edypt, whichever way you want to look at it. But then the Egyptians aren’t Jews, are they Frau Knell – so it doesn’t matter?


  10. pounce_uk says:

    I see the bbC have knocked out their daily anti_israeli hate fest.

    Half-Arab half-Jewish British woman’s Gaza experience

    Note how the half Arab/half Jew (Yeah right) opines about how Israel has cut off Gaza from the rest of the world but crosses over not from Egypt but Israel in…10 minutes. Note how she victimises ‘Hamas’ by blaming the US,EU and Israel for calling it a terrorist org. Note how Israel forbids her ‘Israeli’ producer from crossing the border. (Gee I wonder why that is?) Note the carefully picked screenshots of horse drawn traps of only little children, yet nothing about her armed hamas minders (At cost) who follow you around everywhere.

    Note how the bBC only portray Gazana as’ Women, Children and dead brothers. Not one picture of a man or even an armed member of Hamas.


    The bBC, the propaganda arm of Islamic terrorism.


    • Biodegradable says:

      Indeed pounce, I was about to point this out as our daily dose of pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel propaganda.

      Note how while accusing Israel of “completely fencing in” Gaza no mention is made of the border with Egypt.

      The woman’s brother was “killed by the Israelis” – no mention of how or why. Could he have been involved in a terrorist act I wonder?

      “Best” part for me was the stupid English bint saying it was “hard to believe this (Jabaliyah) is still part of Israel”. Hard to believe indeed since now that Gilad Shalit has been freed there is not one single Israeli anywhere in Gaza, let alone Jabaliyah.

      Gaza part of Israel? Now that is a new one to me. Part of the “occupation” meme.

      In fact the program’s page gives the game away:

      As the daughter of an Arab Muslim father and Jewish mother, Reya El-Salahi travels to the heart of Israel to understand the reality of living with the conflict in the Middle East. She faces the dangers and contradictions of everyday life there for young people as she tries to discover if there is anywhere in Israel she could safely belong.


      • Demon1001 says:

        Are there any people of this rare mix of Muslim Arab and Jeswish Israeli that sees the ridiculous pressure heaped upon Israel and sympathises with the latter?  Amazing that the only one the BBC found was anti-Israel!


  11. George R says:

    For INBBC’s Ms Knell:


  12. Cassandra King says:

    Its a simple enough concept and strategy for the BBC and its islamofascist allies.

    Creating divisions between the bedouin and the state of Israel, the fact that the bedouin are fully integrated and serve in the IDF and are happy with living in the state of Israel must burn in the hearts of the islamofascisti scum. the strategy of driving wedges between Jews and any non Jewish supporter of Israel has been a feature of BBC coverage, the art of fabricating the appearance of an ever more isolated Israel consisting of Jews on one side and everyone else on the other.

    The BBC, supporting the strategies and tactics and aims of islamofascism.


  13. Biodegradable says:

    No mention of this story involving Bedouins from the BBC: