IDF, Watchdog Group Criticize Australian Media Report on Palestinian Children
JNS.org – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the media watchdog group the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) have criticized a recent Australian TV report on abuse of Palestinian children by the Israeli military.
The report, titled “Stone Cold Justice,” aired on Australia’s ABC TV on Feb. 10 as part of a joint investigative report with The Australian newspaper.
According to the report, host John Lyons travels to the West Bank to “hear the story of children who claim they have been taken into custody, ruthlessly questioned and then allegedly forced to sign confessions before being taken to court for sentencing.”
“John Lyons’s documentary, replete with distortions, misrepresentations and outright falsehoods, is one of the most extreme instances of anti-Israel propaganda to appear in a mainstream television outlet in recent memory,” Tamar Sternthal, director of CAMERA’s Israel office, told JNS.org.
Sternthal added, “Had the reporter upheld his journalistic obligation to fact-check specific charges of brutal torture of Palestinian minors, he would have learned that the accusations were unfounded.”
In one part of the show, Lyons, standing in front of the walls of the Ofer military prison outside of Ramallah, claims to have witnessed Palestinian children “shuffling across the courtyard, handcuffed and shackled” as well as being summarily sentenced by Israeli military judges.
In a statement provided to CAMERA, the IDF called Lyons’s portrayal of the military court system “fictitious, blatant, and malicious.”
Michelle Gun, editor of The Weekend Australian, insisted that Lyons was escorted inside of the prison by the IDF, and that there are pictures of him inside. But according to Sternthal, the IDF was “adamant” that Lyons was never inside of the prison and called on The Australian to release the photos.