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...

  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Rocks Solo Acoustic Version of Israeli National Anthem – Hatikva (VIDEO)

    Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Rocks Solo Acoustic Version of Israeli National Anthem – Hatikva (VIDEO)

    Ok, fans, question time. What do: Guns ‘n’ Roses shred-meister guitarist, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (aka Ronald Jay Blumenthal), “Hard Rock Hotel”, “Las Vegas” and Israel’s ”Hatikva” (The Hope) national anthem… all have in common? I know, you’re probably thinking, “Hmm, ‘One of these things is not like the other,’ would fit in here,” right? Um, no, turns out. Caught backstage by blogger Darren Garnick at the swanky Vegas gig in early June, Thal, acoustic guitar in hand, fretted out a sweetly melodic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs David Letterman’s Sidekick on His ‘Dream Job,’ Jewish Upbringing

    David Letterman’s Sidekick on His ‘Dream Job,’ Jewish Upbringing

    JNS.org – A Jewish upbringing taught Paul Shaffer, David Letterman’s musical director and sidekick for 32 years, the value of giving back. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Shaffer served as musical director for “The Concert for New York City,” and in 2012 he accompanied Adam Sandler in “12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief,” a fundraiser for people affected by Hurricane Sandy. He was also the national spokesperson for Epilepsy Canada. “My mother taught by example,” Shaffer said in an [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Coach David Blatt’s NBA Hiring Hailed as ‘Incredible’ for Jewish Community

    Coach David Blatt’s NBA Hiring Hailed as ‘Incredible’ for Jewish Community

    JNS.org – The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Cleveland Cavaliers looked near and far during a five-week stretch for a head coach, and they finally found their man—in Israel. David Blatt, who coached Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague and Israeli league basketball championships this year, struck a deal to become the 20th coach in the history of the Cavaliers. The selection was immediately celebrated by basketball players Tamir Goodman and Mark Sack, both from the Cleveland area, and one of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.