Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Four Corners: Stone Cold Justice - Israel's abuse of Palestinian child prisoners

Screen grab from 4 Corners' Stone Cold Justice

Dear friends,
on Monday 10 February, the ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation) did what it does best, run a hard hitting investigative journalist piece on Israel's treatment of Palestinian children.  Four Corners, Australia's longest running investigative journalism program broadcast "Stone Cold Justice" which discussed in detail Israel's occupation and its abuse of Palestinian children, in particular Palestinian child prisoners. 

I have embedded the video report in full below.

On twitter, facebook and social media, the report has gained a lot of coverage, with the vast majority of people being shocked and appalled at Israel's abuse of Palestinian children.  Following the ABC's airing of the report, many other Australian media outlets have reported on both the report and the reaction to it and/or have run their own stories on Palestinian child prisoners.

Australian Zionist organisations, however, have sought to try and discredit the report and deflect attention from Israel's human rights abuses.  Even before the report aired, the Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV) and the Zionist Federation of Australia issued a briefing statement (click here to read) justifying the child abuse carried out by the Israeli state and its military, deeming the report to be "one-sided" and calling on supporters to complain to the ABC. The briefing statement issued by the Zionist Council of Victoria provides the standard Zionist hasbara talking points and apologism for Israel's human rights abuses, ignoring the fact that the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have been oppressed and occupied by Israel for the past 47 years. 

The Zionist Federation of Australia took to twitter adding its own racist interpretation to the ZVC's briefing statement tweeting:
@ZionistFedAus  #4corners you throw around figures of 700+ with no breakdown of how many are 17 &18 yr olds toting guns vs 5 yr olds on the street
Overall, Four Corners' Stone Cold Justice report was excellent.  My only criticism of the Stone Cold Justice report was the failure of Four Corners to follow up in regards to the accusations made against the five Palestinian boys accused of allegedly throwing stones at a settler car and injuring a 3 year old settler child.  The program interviewed Adva Biton, the mother of the injured child and also an Israeli army spokesman, both of whom deemed the five Palestinian children "terrorists" (this case is also cited in the ZCV briefing statement linked to above).   

What Four Corners did NOT report was that the five accused boys in this particular case are from the village of Hares and that there is no evidence that the car accident was caused by stone throwing.  There are no eyewitnesses to the supposed stone throwing, nor is there any evidence that the alleged stone throwing was done by the five Hares boys who have been arrested.

There is currently a campaign to free the five boys who have been charged, in an unprecedented move, with attempted murder. If they are convicted, it will mean that the Israeli military and the occupation courts can charge and convict anyone accused of stone throwing with attempted murder.  

You can find out more about the Free The Hares Boys campaign here  and you can join the Facebook page for the campaign here.


Finally, In light of Four Corners report, I am also including a link to an article on Palestinian child prisons which I wrote in 2008.  The article was first published on this blog with a video and also published by Palestine Chronicle.  

You can read: No Child Play in Occupied Palestine and view the accompanying video on Palestinian child prisoners by clicking here.
In solidarity, Kim



Published on Feb 10, 2014: Four Corners youtube blurb for the program:
The Israeli army is both respected and feared as a fighting force. But now the country's military is facing a backlash at home and abroad for its treatment of children in the West Bank, occupied territory.

Coming up, a joint investigation by Four Corners and The Australian newspaper reveals evidence that shows the army is targeting Palestinian boys for arrest and detention. Reporter 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.

He meets Australian lawyer Gerard Horton, who's trying to help the boys who are arrested, and talks to senior Israeli officials to examine what's driving the army's strategy.

The program focuses on the stories of three boys. In two cases the army came for the children in the middle of the night, before taking them to unknown locations where they are questioned. A mother of one of the boys described the scene:

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