David Macilwain (VIC) writes to SBS World News re erroneous reporting on Gaza 27Dec09 December 28, 2009

Dear Ms Begbie,

I would like to complain in the strongest possible terms about the segment on tonight’s World News Australia about the anniversary of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

This report might have appeared to those who know or care little about the true situation in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank, as a balanced appraisal of it, yet it was nothing of the sort.

The assault on Gaza was well described by Richard Goldstone as disproportionate and intended to hurt the civilian population, with widespread destruction of infrastructure with no obvious military intent. He also described in detail some of the war crimes committed by Israel – using human shields, targeting civilians indiscriminately, devoting ninety percent of his report to these crimes. While he found Hamas to be guilty of the ‘war crime’ of indiscrimate targeting of civilians also it must be remembered, or in your case pointed out, that Hamas missiles are not precision guided, unlike those that the US supplies to Israel, and contain merely explosive rather than White Phosphorus, Tungsten, or Flechettes.  Significantly he did NOT find Hamas guilty of using human shields.

As you must know, Goldstone’s report was overwhelmingly passed by the UN general assembly for referral to the security council, despite the obstruction of some countries of which Australia was one. While you may think that this is just a political argument or a news story, to many it is far far more; it is in fact Australia’s complicity in war crimes and human rights abuses committed by Israel, for which at some point we will have to pay. Israel’s propaganda shield can only cover us for so long.

In addition to the crimes committed in Gaza in January, we have also to consider the ongoing crisis there. Thanks to a crippling blockade Gaza is way past breaking point, surviving only through supplies ‘smuggled’ in through tunnels. Now that Egypt is building a barrier to prevent this at the behest of Israel and with the assistance of the US army, Gaza is on a rapid downhill run.

I simply cannot square this reality with what was served up as ‘news’ today.  People in Gaza were said to ‘feel that reconstruction was too slow’. WHAT RECONSTRUCTION?  How do you build a house without cement? Or Steel? Why are the piles of broken concrete still lying there where Israel’s bombardment put them?  You – that is SBS – said “some people blame Hamas”.  DO YOU?

Why do you think that at this very moment there is a convoy of 200 odd vehicles that has made its way right across Europe to bring relief supplies and the World’s attention to Gaza today, stuck in Aqaba because the Egyptians daren’t let it through?  Why did you not even mention this in your report? Why did you not mention that Gaza is in a state of siege, of military blockade that is illegal under international law?   And as for the residents of Sderot, fearing another ‘rocket attack’. How many people died in Sderot in January, or were injured? Why did you not interview people in Gaza city and ask them if they felt safer now, in the rubble of their houses, with Israeli drones watching them and almost daily attacks from the IDF?

To say that I would like to see more balance in your reports on this issue would be ridiculous; you need to rewrite the whole script. This means also that you need to define your terms, particularly on these things:- ‘Palestinian land’ means Gaza and the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israeli settlers in the OWB are all illegal, following from the UN resolution for Israel to withdraw from territory occupied in the 1967 war. Settlement on land occupied by force is illegal.  The ‘Security Barrier’ was ruled illegal by the International court and its removal demanded.  Hamas is not a ‘militant group that seized control of Gaza’, but the legitimate government of Palestine, which Israel and the US unsuccessfully attempted to remove in a plot under the leadership of Mohammed Dahlan. By your continuing repetition of the lies surrounding this you become complicit in it, just as in repeating ad nauseum that Israel launched its assault in response to rocket attacks. You must know quite well that the rocket attacks had all but ceased in the months preceding, so that Israel had to provoke them by its attack of November 4th. If SBS doesn’t know these details it shouldn’t be in the business of providing news, but if it does then why does it go on repeating the same old lies?

Will you please address my complaints today, and e-mail your reply.

If you liked this article, please consider making a donation to Australians for Palestine by clicking on the PayPal link
Thank You.
Bookmark and Share

Add a Comment

required, use real name
required, will not be published
optional, your blog address