The BBC Radio 4 Today programme at 6:40 this morning is reporting the Palestinian takeover of the former Jewish settlements as the Israelis finally leave Gush Katif. The reporter describes the eagerness and relief of the Palestinians. Plus the children going and looking for what they can find. One child, he tells us, says he has found a Torah (unlikely to be true-- perhaps it's a Hebrew bible). And also that they are entering the abandoned buildings and synagogues. It sounds a little chaotic, but fairly harmless fun.
The headline on the news at 7:00am tells us the Palestinians have been celebrating.
What the reporter doesn't tell us is what is prominently reported in both Ha'aretz and the Jerusalem Post. Groups of Palestinians have been torching the synagogues. Not the homes or businesses. The synagogues. Here's the inspired words of celebration:
Gunmen from several Palestinian factions stormed through the settlement. One group planted a flag from the ruling Fatah movement on the roof of the yeshiva, while others set a fire inside.
Flames also shot skyward from the synagogue building in the isolated settlement of Morag in southern Gaza.
"They [Israelis] destroyed our homes and our mosques," said a man who gave his name only as Abu Ahmed. "Today it is our turn to destroy theirs."
In Netzarim, located southwest of Gaza City, gunmen climbed on the roof of the synagogue and raised flags of Palestinian factions. They chanted, "God is great," and "We don't want anything to remind us of the occupation."
Palestinian policemen stood by and watched, admitting they were outnumbered by the crowds and had little motivation to stop them. An officer who refused to give his name said, "The people have the right to do what they are doing."
So that's alright, then.
By 7:10, the extended BBC4 Radio 4 Today news report tells us that at least one synagogue has been torched. The Palestinian forces, it says are struggling to maintain control.
Funny that with all their resources they don't seem to know about the internet reports available from Ha'aretz since the early hours of this morning which say that synagogues have been torched in Kfar Darom, Morag, Netzarim and Neve Dekalim.
I wonder if it would have escaped their attention if any Jews, Christians or Hindus anywhere in the world had torched four abandoned mosques?
Another day, another opportunity for the renowned accuracy and balance of BBC reporting around Israel and the Palestinians.