In a rare series of France24 corrections, the French public broadcaster earlier this month removed false references from five online Arabic articles which wrongly labeled Israeli communities in the Gaza border area, which is inside Israel’s internationally-recognized territory, as “settlements.”
In three of them (from Oct. 9, before/after; Oct. 14, before/after and Oct. 15, before/after) editors replaced the term “settlements” with “towns” or “Israeli towns.” In addition, editors completely deleted two more stories (from Oct. 10, before/after and Oct. 15, before/after) which originated from Agence France Presse. The latter is still available in the Monte Carlo International website, another Arabic-speaking outlet operated by France’s public broadcasting corporation France Médias Monde.
France 24’s move to set the record straight is a significant step forward, as the network has in the past mostly failed to act on CAMERA Arabic’s correction requests. Furthermore, some France 24 Arabic webpages and tweets still falsely refer to Jewish communities in northern and southern Israel as “settlements,” and to the country’s Arab cities as “Palestinian cities,” punctuating the inaccuracy with a Palestinian flag emoji.
Even more egregious are the France24 Arabic correspondents’ repeated on air use of this false terminology which delegitimizes Israel within any boundaries. During the six months preceding the current war and for two weeks into it, “settlements” was France24 Arabic’s go-to term to refer to any Jewish community between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Laila Odeh, for example, France 24 Arabic’s Jerusalem correspondent relentlessly cited “settlements” in her live broadcasts in eight out of the first eleven days of the war, and before. But she was not alone. The outlet’s reporters in Ramallah, the Gaza Strip, Haifa and even Paris itself also echoed this false terminology.
Unfortunately, France24 did not correct any of these broadcasts.