Ahead of Four Corners

February 10, 2014 by  
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Tonight, ABC-TV’s Four Corners will  broadcast a program highlighting the exposure of Palestinian children living in the West Bank to Israeli military law whilst their offending  Israeli counterparts are dealt with under Israeli civil law. Honest Reporting has something to say on The Australian’s reports on the issue….the  Australian paper’s John Lyons collaborated with the ABC.


From: Simon Plosker/Honest Reporting

In advance of an Australian Broadcasting Corporation program to be aired on February 10, The Australian’s John Lyons has produced two articles and an accompanying video interview on the subject of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children in the West Bank.

The Australian articles most likely offer a preview as to what will be seen on the television.

Central to Lyons’ report is the following:

At the heart of the issue is that Israel enforces two legal systems in the West Bank, one for Jews and one for Palestinians. About 2.5 million Palestinians live under Israeli occupation in the West Bank – also known as the Palestinian Territories – which Israel has occupied since 1967.

Palestinian children appear before the military court, while Jewish children face a civil court with full legal protections.

Contrary to Lyons’ statement, the two legal systems in operation are divided between Israeli citizens (which, of course, includes both Jews and Arabs) and non-citizens. This is not a division based on race, ethnicity or religion but on the legal status of the disputed territories. The reason why Palestinians, both children and adults, are not subject to Israeli civil law is that Israel has never annexed the West Bank and therefore, Israeli law does not apply to the area. Instead, military law is applied.

It’s safe to say that Lyons would not advocate Israel’s annexation of the West Bank and it’s also safe to assume that were Israeli law to be administered in the disputed territories, there would be an international outcry and accusations of breaching so-called international law.

So it’s hardly surprising that Jewish children face a civil court. After all, how many Jewish children would find themselves in front of a military court charged with throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli cars or IDF soldiers?

In addition, contrary to Lyons’ statement that “2.5 million Palestinians live under Israeli occupation,” needs clarification, especially when discussing the legal rights of the Palestinians. Some 2.4 million Palestinians live under Palestinian Authority rule and are subject to the PA’s domestic laws.

To Lyons’ credit, he interviews Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor who refutes the charge that Israeli policy is designed to make life intolerable for the Palestinians:

Let me say this very clearly. There is no such policy. A policy to create fear? There is no such

thing. The only policy is to maintain law and order, that’s all. If there’s no violence, there’s no law


But who exactly are the Palestinian “children” that Lyons refers to? These aren’t 8 year olds but Palestinian youths, perhaps 17 years old who are engaged in the same terror activities as Palestinians who are legally considered to be adults. Israel does not arbitrarily arrest minors for the sake of it. It isn’t “only” stone throwing that Palestinian minors are involved in.

In response to a Guardian article on the same subject, the spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in London wrote in January 2012:

But you omit the horrific nature of the atrocities that minors, some as young as 12, can be arrested for.

Hakim Awad, 17, is a minor. Last March [2011] he and his 18-year-old cousin, Amjad, brutally murdered the Fogel family while they slept. No mercy was shown to three-month-old Hadas, her two brothers (aged four and 11) and their parents. The scene of the crime, including the severed head of a toddler, left even the most experienced of police officers devastated. The duo proudly confessed to their killings, and they have shown no subsequent remorse.

Between 2000-04, 292 minors took part in terrorist activities. Shocking images of Palestinian infants dressed in explosive vests are only the tip of the hate industry that Palestinian children are exposed to.

Ismail Tsabaj, 12, Azi Mostafa, 13, and Yousuf Basam, 14, were sent by Hamas on a mission chillingly similar to the one involving the Fogels, aiming to penetrate a Jewish home at night and slaughter a family in their beds. In this case, the IDF fortunately stopped them in time. …

In the face of ever younger minors committing ever greater numbers of crimes, its efforts to maintain and even increase legal protections are impressive. When a minor involved in terrorist activity is arrested, the law is clear: no torture or humiliation is permitted, nor is solitary confinement in order to induce a confession. …

Furthermore, a special juvenile court has been established to guarantee professional care for minors in detention. The above and other measures have succeeded in making legal proceedings easier for minors, and have almost halved their duration. …

It would be our wish that no minor would ever find themselves in Israeli custody. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the reality, not our dreams.

Much criticism is made of Israeli arrest operations of children in the middle of the night. Lyons may wish to consider the probable outcome of an arrest operation carried out during daylight hours. This would most likely result in violence as Palestinians in the immediate vicinity engage IDF soldiers leading to injuries or worse on both sides. Is the arrest of children during nighttime hours unpleasant? Certainly. But it still preferable to the alternative.

Lyons also states in his video interview that the Israeli authorities have been very receptive to the criticisms of the treatment of Palestinian children. Israel recognizes that improvements need to be made to the system and are continuously striving for this.

The discussion is undoubtedly a sensitive and emotive one. Nonetheless, it should be carried out in an accurate manner that avoids demonizing Israel.



4 Responses to “Ahead of Four Corners”
  1. Graham Edgar says:

    As usual when discussing the situation in the State of Israel the ABC sides with the Arab population and it must be that impartiality ceases to exist and anti-Semitism rears it’s ugly head. Instead of seeking sensation, why not try to obtain the truth from persons who are involved?

    Arab children are taught hatred and jihad in schools from an early age. They grow up conditioned to violence and believe that dying for their religion will result in ludicrous rewards in heaven! Their leaders honour terrorists, name sports stadiums, streets etc., after them. Unbelievably incarcerated terrorists are payed exorbitant salaries whilst serving sentences in prison.

    Over the past 20 years the EU and US has poured billions of dollars into the PLO coffers – what happens to this huge amount of “aid” money ? In view of the poverty and deprivation that exists, it seems that the only answer is that it is absolved into the coffers of the intrepid leaders of this banana republic,
    one can only wonder what would happen if they are granted a country of their own. In reality Israel collects taxes for the PLO and supplies electricity that is hardly ever paid for and in a great many instances provides medical hospitalisation free of charge.

    If the great peace maker Kerry, US Secretary of State, gets his way, the fragile economy in so-called Palestine will collapse WHY ? Because most of the employment in the areas of Samaria and Judeah is provided by those dread -full “Settlers” !

    Come on ABC, reign in your Four Trauma people and try a little balance in their editorial programing.

  2. I’m outraged and furious to say the least and I contacted Four Corners and let them know what I thought of their lies. My questions are: Did “Honest Reporting” contact 4 Corners and give them the truth of the matter? Why isn’t the “Media”held responsible for in-sighting hatred? Why is the “Media”permitted to air this kind of material that isn’t based of truth, facts? I hope everyone contacts 4 Corners and complains to them as I did and demand that the truth be shown and told. Peezed off, Yep I sure am and I will make a T-shirt with BDS Palestine and Gaza in the Boldest and largest letters that I can squeeze on it. NO more one way street for the Muslims.

  3. Having newly arrived in Australia, and been here for only just over months it is probably unfair of me to judge the programme made about the Palestinian children. However, as a Jew of some 76 years and coming from an Ashkenazi background and my own father was deeply religious I have some knowledge of our religion.
    At the highest level it teaches great truths and there is of course the kabbalah and the Tree of Life. I am not a practising Jew, don’t keep kosher and have not been to a synagogue service when in the UK for sometime.
    I have met and been in close touch with many Jews, especially in the UK, good and bad and growing up during the War, know the realities of anti-Semitism.
    May I offer this comment, that considering the teachings of the wise rabbis of old, and Torah, where it says ‘you should treat thy neighbours property as thine own’, this is certainly not the case in Gaza or Israel proper.With all due respect it is a cop-out to say that Israel does not have authority over Gaza, I simply cannot accept the Israeli’s government official spokesman replies.
    Seeing a young 5 year old crying with fear and surrounded by Israeli soldiers carrying weapons is a distasteful sight. Then for the young soldier to say he is ‘carrying out his orders’. That comment turned my stomach, is that not the same excuse that the Germans used when slaughtering so many of us Jews. Where will all this mayhem end, who is going to have the courage and be brave and strong enough on the Israeli side, to say enough we have to change our policies and meet with the moderate Palestinians, who undoubtedly must be as fed up with this situation as many Israelis. Fear breeds fear and after over 60 years of killing on both sides surely have not enough innocents died.
    The ultra orthodox are fully entitled to their beliefs and they have a lot of influence in Israel and especially in the Knesset, but their ethos is creating a murderous situation in Israel if the programme is to be believed and sadly I have no choice but to believe it.
    One day these tit for tat murders will have to stop, nothing is being gained by so much loss of life and bloodshed. The other Arab states hate and loathe Israel but I imagine there is a degree of respect tinged with a little fear, for such a strong country. The many kind deeds performed by so many Jews, who have a degree of tolerance and sense of justice. The orchestra led by Barrenboim which is made up of Jewish children and Palestinian which quietly goes about its work. The Jews who have set up civil rights groups to help the Palestinian goes unheralded but suffer at the hands of their fellow Jews.I am well aware of the manner in which the terrorists groups use their children to commit deeds of horror. I don’t live in Israel obviously but understand the anger and distrust of the Israeli population, however, why differentiate between the two lots of children and yank the Palestinian children into a military court. This should be stopped immediately, regardless of who does not like the idea.
    Poignantly, one of the interviewees commented how tragic, or words to that effect, that after the Holocaust he sees similarities with the behaviour of the Israeli soldiers. There is mounting evidence that is being gathered by non Jewish organisations of the injustices being suffered by those in Gaza.
    There is so much good being achieved in Israel which does not get the publicity it deserves from the non Jewish media. However, slowly but surely the bad will have to be eliminated otherwise Jew and Arab will be responsible for a 3rd World War the horror of which, and having 11 grandchildren I do not even wish to contemplate.
    The analogy of two brothers fighting each other to the death after all Abraham is considered by both Jew and Arab as father of their respective races. How crazy a situation can you get by what is happening now in the Middle East.
    I am deeply suspicious of the ultra right wingers who quote the Bible in defense of their behaviour, but forget about it when they are so obviously in the wrong, with their dogmatic points of view. They study Torah but the words do not enter their hearts, I find this totally incredible. They live in a State they do not recognise but expect the State to defend them.

  4. John Evans says:

    Unbelievable that your priority is to highlight some minor nuance around which legal system is applied. There is compelling evidence by UNICEF that this is happening. Wouldn’t it be appropriate to question this Israeli practice, which you haven’t even bothered to mention. This documentary has made me furious and it should make you outraged.

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