Dora McPhee (VIC) responds to Koutsoukis’ article “President’s Mid-East summit ‘is a joke’” The Age 22Sep09 September 22, 2009

The Age:  “President Mid-East summit is ‘a joke’” by Jason Koutsoukis, 22 September 2009

The question that must be asked is why Jason Koutsoukis as Middle East correspondent in Jerusalem has so studiously avoided mention of the Goldstone report. The release of this report, which confirms war crimes and crimes against humanity appear to have been committed in Gaza, has had reverberations in Israel that Koutsoukis couldn’t failed to have noticed. It leaves the US with a huge headache as the report’s recommendations may once again find the US having to use its veto in the Security Council to protect Israel from war crimes prosecutions in the Hague. It is clear that on a number of issues, including Israel’s refusal to freeze illegal settlement construction on occupied Palestinian territory, which Koutsoukis does mention, Israel is acting with impunity and the US is unable or rather unwilling to use the levers at its disposal to pressure Israel to act in compliance with international law and binding UN resolutions.

What is curious is that, in Australia at least, the media seems intent on shielding Israel as well, much as our new government shamelessly supported Israel’s military assault of Gaza, which amounted to a massacre of civilians, calling it a “war” of self-defence. This misnomer ignores the facts that a temporary ceasefire had been honoured by Hamas militants for several months and the breakdown was caused by Israel’s lethal attack on November 4, 2008 and the refusal of Israel to lift the debilitating siege and blockade – the main condition around which the ceasefire had been brokered. This was a war of aggression where the civilian population, over
fifty percent of whom were children, had no means to flee to safety. Denying them the option of becoming refugees was unprecedented and something one would have thought should have been an elementary humanitarian requirement.

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