On May 18th listeners to BBC Radio 4 heard the fourth part in Jeremy Bowen’s series of programmes ‘Our Man in the Middle East’.
Titled ‘Jerusalem’, the programme is both rambling and predictable, with Bowen’s portrayal of the city focusing on blood, violence, religion, power and nationalism at the expense of any mention of its diversity and eclectic coexistence.
From his opening sentences onward, Bowen places the spotlight firmly and exclusively on ‘the conflict’:
“The first thing to understand about the struggle for Jerusalem is that they’re fighting over a tiny piece of land. Down there in that walled compound around the golden dome is the single most contested piece of land in the Middle East; probably the most contested piece of ground in the world.”
Following reminiscences of a poorly explained incident during the first Intifada, Bowen tells audiences that:
“The incident in Azariya was a soft introduction…
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