The Guardian and the Australian Use Suspect Sources in Israel Child Abuse Story

January 26, 2012 3:00 pm 1 comment

Fatah activist receiving medical treatment from IDF personnel. Photo: wiki commons.

The Guardian recently highlighted Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors in two articles written by Harriet Sherwood.

The first piece published on January 22, 2012, mentions that minors are accused of throwing stones and flinging Molotov cocktails, but Sherwood does not consider these to be “weapons” or “serious offenses”. Several Israelis have been killed and numerous others injured by Palestinian stone throwing.

The second article published on January 23, 2012, refers to British government concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors, including criticism of Israel by Labour MP Sandra Osborne who is seen here with Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh.

Most of the details of alleged abuse come from Defense for Children International (DCI) which was also the main source for similar articles in The Australian written by John Lyons, discussed in greater length below. Sherwood’s article also refers to a report conducted by B’Tselem.

According to the B’Tselem report, out of 835 Palestinian minors arrested and tried in military courts in the West Bank from 2005 to 2010 on charges of stone throwing all but one were found guilty. That number is in stark contrast to the material provided by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (IMFA) and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) which shows that the conviction rate was 62.8% for 2009, 57.3%, in 2010 and 58.62% in 2011.

Sherwood claims that “few parents are told where their children have been taken. Minors are rarely questioned in the presence of a parent, and rarely see a lawyer before or during initial interrogation. Most are detained inside Israel, making family visits very difficult.” According to material provided by IMFA and the IDF, the recently approved Amendment 10 to the Security Order (Judea and Samaria) 5771-2011 provides all minors under the age of 18 with a court-appointed defense attorney, the presence of a parent or relative during every hearing and the notification of a parent about any investigation. The amendment was made on September 27, 2011, about 4 months prior to Sherwood’s article.

Both articles by Harriet Sherwood claim that Israel could be in breach of the Fourth Geneva convention but the Fourth Geneva convention does not place any obligation on Israel to apply Israeli civil law in the West Bank.

In July 20, 2011, she was in a boat off Gaza reporting on fishing restrictions enforced by Israel due to security reasons, where she tweeted that Israeli gunboats were preventing them from going further out to sea. However, according to her own GPS coordinates, she was outside the 3 mile permitted zone.

detailed analysis of 138 articles written by Harriet Sherwood shows a clear pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel slant.

Former Guardian columnist Julie Burchill confirmed there was “striking bias against the state of Israel” at the Guardian and Honest Reporting awarded The Guardian its 2011 “Dishonest Reporting Award” due to at least 10 incidents of misleading anti-Israel coverage.

The Australian

John Lyons is the Middle East correspondent for The Australian and in an article he penned entitled, “Stone Cold Justice“, Lyons states that Palestinian child prisoners are treated differently from those in Israel.

According to Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor, “Israel is obliged under international law to apply to the West Bank the legal system that was in place before it became occupied in 1967, so it is therefore neither surprising, nor a cause for outside international concern, that the rules for minors accused of offenses there are different to those in Israel proper.”

The article publishes a statement from  British MP Sandra Osborne, also mentioned in the Guardian articles who claims that “… A whole generation is criminalized through this process.”According to Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein, the reason Palestinian minors are jailed, and Israeli civilians are injured or killed is because of “the exploitation and indoctrination of children by both Palestinian terror groups and by the Palestinian Authority official education system and media.”

John Lyons has a history of writing articles critical of Israel. In this November 2010 article, he blames Israel for the failure of the peace process. In another June 2010 article, he claims there is a food shortage in Gaza and that Israel is responsible for it. The fact is that Israel allowed over a million tons of humanitarian aid to enter Gaza from January 18, 2009 to June 5, 2010.

The main source for the article was Defense for Children International (DCI) represented by Australian lawyer, Gerald Horton. Despite the name of the organization, there is no mention on its website of Israeli children who suffer due to rockets from Gaza and Palestinian suicide bombings. However, Defense for Children International does have a separate and comprehensive Palestinian website which details alleged abuses committed by Israel.

DCI’s president, Rifat Odeh Kassis, is a Palestinian who supports the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. DCI calls on Israel to recognize the right of return for Palestinian refugees, supports the Goldstone Report and called for sanctions against Israel after the Gaza flotilla incident. In addition, the group accused the Israeli military of committing war crimes in Gaza and published a list of Palestinian children killed in the conflict that was later contradicted by Palestinian sources.

According to DCI-Palestine’s annual report, revenues in 2010 were $1.2 million. Its funding comes almost exclusively from European countries. Board member Shahwan Jabarin, had been denied entry into Israel and Jordan due to his past involvement with the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group.

Other sources John Lyons used for his article include Yesh Din, No Legal Frontiers and Breaking the Silence. According to Emily Schaeffer, a lawyer employed by Yesh Din, “Yesh Din was founded to use law as a tool to fight the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.” No Legal Frontiers does not list its funding sources or staff. but it’s newsfeed prior to 2011 was based on DCI-Palestine reports. Breaking the Silence receives the majority of its funding from foreign sources and accused the Israeli military of committing “war crimes” in Gaza.

Kevin Rudd is the current foreign minister and former prime minister of Australia. Following the publication of Lyons’s article, Rudd instructed “Australian diplomats in Israel to take up the matter with Israeli authorities.”

Rudd has “echoed the call of US President Barack Obama in May, calling for two states divided along 1967 borders, with appropriate land swaps.” He also wants Australia to abstain from a possible United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood. This may be seen as an attempt to gain support from Muslim countries for “Australia’s campaign to gain a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.” Several prominent Australian politicians expressed concern after Australia changed its voting record at the UN in November 2011. Australia abstained from two anti-Israel resolutions and voted in favor of a third resolution that was critical of Israel.

Despite asking Israel for concessions, Kevin Rudd has not made similar demands from the Palestinians. He also criticized Israel’s decision to build 1100 new homes in the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo. He has asked Israel to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and subject Israel’s nuclear facility to IAEA inspections. Rudd had also expelled “an official from the Israeli Embassy in Canberra over the Dubai passports affair.”

John Lyons could not be reached for comment. At the time of publication, Kevin Rudd’s office and The Australian, had not responded to the Algemeiner’s request for comment.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    The lead actor in Son of Saul, an Auschwitz thriller featured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, told the UK’s The Guardian that he believes God was “holding the hand” of each Jew who died in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. “I do not for one nanosecond like to pretend that God is off the hook. He could and should have stopped it at a much earlier stage,” Géza Röhrig, 48, said. ”But I would not be able to get [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys singer Howie Dorough took to Instagram on Tuesday to marvel about climbing the famed Masada fortress with his band during their visit to Israel, where they will perform this week for the first time. The group’s second day of sightseeing in the Jewish state included the Masada hike, and taking a mud bath at the Dead Sea. A picture from the band’s official Twitter page shows the five singers covered in mud. While relaxing in the Dead Sea, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews US & Canada ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    A new book and its upcoming film adaptation tell the true story of how three former yeshiva students who habitually smoked marijuana scored a $300 million contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons for the Afghan Army, the New York Daily News reported on Sunday. Arms and the Dudes details how the Miami Beach potheads became “the most unlikely gunrunners in history,” according to the book’s author, investigative reporter Guy Lawson. The tale begins with Efraim Diveroli, nephew of [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    JNS.org – Natalie Portman, who directs and stars in the new Hebrew-language film adaptation of author Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness, says that despite Oz’s record as a vocal left-wing critic of Israel, her film is not political. Like the book on which it is based, Portman’s film is about a young boy at the time of the founding of the state of Israel. “I think the movie is very much about this very particular, specific family story. Of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.