Cynthia Marchant (QLD) writes to ABC’s 7.30 Report re biased segment on Israel’s Gaza offensive one year ago 28Dec09 December 28, 2009

I realise that you receive copious criticism from the Israel lobby in Australia when you air reportage which shows Israel in a negative light, but for this reason it is necessary for those of us who indeed harbour criticism of Israel’s behaviour to respond to reports which do not point out the facts in sufficient detail.

The report by Ben Knight aired tonight on the 7.30 Report showed various spokespeople defending Israel’s tactics etc during the Gaza offensive a year ago but little to show the full gravity of the IDF’s offences against humanity.   While I note that there was no prevaricating about whether Israel used white phosphorous – this seemed to be taken as fact – there was also no mention that this was just one of many atrocities mentioned in the Goldstone Report which contravene international humanitarian law.

I will not regurgitate here whole sections of the report to make this clear but please look at the following exchange, which comes from an interview with Goldstone which was aired on American PBS television.  (The full transcript is still available at: )

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Right. Well, I’d start with the bulldozing of agricultural fields, apparently pretty random. It wasn’t as though these farms were owned by Hamas militants. That’s, I haven’t seen that allegation made. The bombing of some 200 industrial factories. As I mentioned, the only flour-producing factory, the water supply facilities of Gaza, the sanitation facilities, which caused an overflow of filth and muck into well over a square kilometer of land.

BILL MOYERS: Do you know if these were targeted, or were they the consequence of actions aimed at militants?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well clearly, there can be no question of militants running 200 factories. There can be no, we know, from our investigation, that the owner of the flour factory, in fact, had one of the rare documents the Israelis give which allowed the owner to go into Israel, he dealt with Israeli counterparts. He received, and it’s an interesting case, he received a warning to evacuate. He evacuated his staff. Nothing happened. They went back, and he made inquiries through a friend in Israel, who contacted the Israel Defense Force and said, “Don’t worry. They’re not going to bomb your factory.” They went back. A few days later, he gets another telephone call saying, “Evacuate.” Doesn’t come to him, it comes to their switchboard. He again makes inquiries. “Don’t worry. We’re not going to bomb.” So they go back. Nothing happens. Third warning to evacuate. They evacuate and they bomb the factory. Now if there was any militants involved, firstly, the Israelis know who they’re dealing with, they’d given him a document allowing him to go into Israel. It’s that sort of conduct which indicates to us an intent to punish civilians in Gaza for what their leaders were complicit in doing.

Only this morning – on RN AM I think – there was mention of an increased rate of infant deaths in Gaza, mainly attributed to the contamination of the water supplies because they have not been able to repair the damage to the sanitation supplies.  And what about the attack which began Israel’s initial killing of 42 police cadets, standing to attention at their graduation ceremony? Police are civilians you know! At the time of the attack even the New York Times reported:

Still, there was a shocking quality to Saturday’s attacks, which began in broad daylight as police cadets were graduating, women were shopping at the outdoor market, and children were emerging from school.

It also cannot be forgotten that in the months prior to November 4th 2008 – when under cover of the US presidential election, Israel made an incursion into Gaza and killed 6 militants, – there was a truce which even Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs admitted (in effect) was honoured by Hamas, despite there being no let-up in the Gaza blockade. Don’t believe me?  See Israel’s Fabricated Rocket Crisis, by Jim Holstun and Joanna Tinker, still available at

I can assure you that there are many citizens of this country who like myself are simply outraged at the mealy-mouthed omissions and bias of mainstream reporting here when it comes to Israel.  It is unacceptable that Israel’s supporters should so muzzle the news! Why, earlier in the 7.30 report there was something about how in Australia, unlike in Iraq, we’re used to a free press!  I beg yours?  Alas, although it’s true that reporters in this country don’t tend to be killed, what happens instead is that reportage which upsets particular interests such as the Israel lobby is shown either in bowdlerised form or not at all! “Free press” in Australia indeed!  Actually, hats off to the Iraqi journos and their courage!  What’s YOUR  excuse?

Why don’t you air a proper segment on the Goldstone Report, which sets out its findings?  Why not, even if detractors claim it’s biased?  It’s news isn’t it? Or for that matter, what about a segment on the 1400 international peace activists, led by George Galloway,  who are right now assembled in Egypt and Aqaba, and who are being frustrated by the Egyptian authorities in their efforts to enter Gaza?  They include Australians, including Jewish Australians.  Here’s a link to start you off, from our very own Australians for Palestine website:

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