Guardian

Guardian Report Misses the Real Child Abuse


This is cross posted by Simon Plosker at HonestReporting

NBC News reports:

The images grow no less shocking with time — a gaping wound on a tiny skull, the hair matted with blood; a gunshot that pierced the skin of a small torso and went straight toward the kidney; and finally, the broken neck and severed penis of a 13-year-old boy, his mangled body contorted on a plastic sheet.

This isn’t, however, a story from Israel but the shocking example of what is happening to Syrian children being tortured and murdered by the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, in Israel, The Guardian runs a special report on the alleged mistreatment of Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military. With the report is an 11 minute video which includes footage of an interrogation. A Palestinian child cries, not as a result of torture but because he is going to miss some school exams.

By opening this critique with the emotive and disturbing description of a dead child, we could be accused of being deliberately manipulative. Just like The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood who also set the scene in a similar fashion:

The room is barely wider than the thin, dirty mattress that covers the floor. Behind a low concrete wall is a squat toilet, the stench from which has no escape in the windowless room. The rough concrete walls deter idle leaning; the constant overhead light inhibits sleep. The delivery of food through a low slit in the door is the only way of marking time, dividing day from night.

This is Cell 36, deep within Al Jalame prison in northern Israel. It is one of a handful of cells where Palestinian children are locked in solitary confinement for days or even weeks. One 16-year-old claimed that he had been kept in Cell 36 for 65 days.

It is an ugly scene for an equally ugly story that paints Israel as a serial abuser of Palestinian children. The real child abuse in reality, however, is that caused by Palestinian society and media that glorifies terrorists, suicide bombers and “martyrs”, encouraging Palestinian youth to follow the same path.

A vulnerable child is easy pickings for recruitment by terrorist organizations. In recent years the most predominant activities characterizing involvement of minors were involvement in suicide bomb attacks, Molotov cocktail throwing, stone throwing and stabbing. Minors have also been involved in grenade throwing, use of explosives, shooting, car bombs, transfer of weapons, kidnapping, rocket launching, as well as assault and murder.

See here for more on Children Dying to Kill.

And while it suits Palestinian propaganda to promote the image of children armed with stones facing Israeli armor, the reality is that stones can kill. As recently as September 2011, Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan were killed after the vehicle he was driving overturned as a result of Palestinian rock throwing.

The Israeli response: Unpublished by The Guardian

There are often complaints that Israel does not react in a timely manner to address allegations such as those made by The Guardian. While Israeli Government spokesman Mark Regev does appear in The Guardian’s video along with a token paragraph in the main article, most of the Israeli Security Agency’s (ISA) response went unpublished as Harriet Sherwood picked out only a few quotes.

Here, for the record, we are including the response from the ISA that was sent to The Guardian before its article was published. In it, the ISA states:

  • The claims that Palestinian minors were subject to interrogation techniques that include beatings, prolonged periods in handcuffs, threats, kicks, verbal abuse, humiliation, isolation and prevention of sleep are utterly baseless.
  • Those detained for ISA questioning receive the full rights for which they are eligible, in accordance with international treaties of which the State of Israel is a signatory and according to Israeli law, including the right to legal counsel and visits by the Red Cross.

Click here for the full ISA response.

DCI-PS: A Politicized, Anti-Israel NGO

We already know only too well from bitter experience, The Guardian’s anti-Israel agenda. But what of Defence for Children International – Palestine Section, the non-governmental organization (NGO) that collected Palestinian testimonies and collaborated with The Guardian?

According to NGO Monitor:

  • DCI-PS supports BDS campaigns, and is an active participant in boycott efforts in the framework of the UN and other venues. Also lobbies the UN and the EU to promote these campaigns.
  • Calls for Israel to “accept historical and legal responsibility for the Nakba, and recognise the principle of the right to return that was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in its Resolution No. 194 in 1948.”
  • Published an ‘urgent appeal,’ calling the UN Human Rights Council members to “endorse all the recommendations contained in the Goldstone report…and submit the report to the General Assembly and the Prosecutor of the ICC for appropriate action.”

This is only a small selection of examples of DCI-PS’s politicized and anti-Israel agenda that puts its credibility in doubt. After all, if this NGO is actively seeking evidence with which to attack Israel, then coaxing questionable testimony from minors of questionable character who may have already been involved in criminal or terrorist activity may be easier than it should.

The Guardian’s Agenda Journalism

If any further proof were needed of The Guardian’s brand of agenda-driven journalism, it appeared the day after the original article. This follow-up focused on the UK government’s response to the allegations raised by The Guardian.

This is a prime example of how a biased and one-sided article in the media can have damaging consequences way beyond simple public relations damage.

Commenting to The Guardian is Sandra Osborne MP, who has been leading the campaign in Parliament. The photo below of Osborne with Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh taken in July 2011 is an indication of where her sympathies lie.

Harry’s Place blog documents Osborne’s thought’s on the “moderate” Hamas leader:

We were also able to meet with Ismail Haniyeh who is recognised as PM in Gaza (while Fayyad is still seen as PM in the West Bank), who heads up the successful Hamas Parliamentary Group. He is a popular figure, living modestly locally in Gaza. He has been pivotal in taking Hamas down a more moderate road leading to a renunciation of violence and keeping the more militant factions within Hamas under control while promoting engagement with rival Fatah. We discussed a wide range of issues but he made it clear that some of the most important could not be seriously addressed until Israel recognised the Palestinian State and real progress was made.

Advocacy journalism is not, by itself, unacceptable. After all, it is the job of a free media to shine the spotlight on untoward behavior wherever it might be found. Indeed, the Israeli press is usually the first to expose issues that need to be investigated in a functioning liberal democracy.

What is unacceptable, however, is The Guardian’s relentless campaign to portray Israel in as negative a light as possible. If only the children of Syria or any number of other places in the Middle East had Guardian reporters advocating on their behalf instead of on the one place where the mechanisms of accountability and rule of law actually exist.

It would be naive to believe that there have never been any Israeli violations of those laws specifically meant to protect the rights of minors in detention. If these cases exist, there are authorities tasked with investigating and dealing with such deviations. This is not, however, the norm.

The Guardian, in collaboration with DCI-PS, has deliberately and falsely portrayed Israel as a country that tolerates the torture and abuse of Palestinian children, which is definitively not the case. Having to arrest, prosecute and imprison minors is by its very nature a difficult issue. Unfortunately, Israel has been forced out of necessity to address a problem arising from Palestinian society.

So where then is the real child abuse?

Send your considered comments to The Guardian – letters@guardian.co.uk

74 replies »

  1. WHAT????

    Why, you ignorant little …

    Where exactly is the equivalence between this egregious and barbaric behaviour and anything at all that Israel has done?

    Send links to it from disinterested sources (preferable ones which show you have triangulated the information properly) or keep your mouth shut

  2. “…the reality is that stones can kill…”

    And are the preferred method of execution in Islamist regimes.

    • “This is Cell 36, deep within Al Jalame prison in northern Israel. It is one of a handful of cells where Palestinian children are locked in solitary confinement for days or even weeks. One 16-year-old claimed that he had been kept in Cell 36 for 65 days.”

      For those who don’t care, arresting someone in occupied territory and detaining them in the territory of the occupier violates art. 76 of the 4th GC. And please note that ‘Children Dying to Kill’ link mentions int’l law so somebody must care about it.

      “Art. 76. Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein.

      (…)

      Proper regard shall be paid to the special treatment due to minors.”

      “And while it suits Palestinian propaganda to promote the image of children armed with stones facing Israeli armor, the reality is that stones can kill.”

      A recent incident of two boys of Silwan arrested for stone-throwing and released on bail. So while Israel’s amen corner refers to stone-throwers as terrorists (or Islamists), it looks like the IDF doesn’t even take that excuse seriously.
      http://silwanic.net/?p=23467

      More testimonies from Jan. 2010
      http://www.btselem.org/jerusalem/20100217_jm_minors_arrested_and_abused_by_police

      Honestly, if Israel didn’t kill anyone, it would still be a despicable, racist entity not worthy of anyone’s support. It abuses children like this because it has to be a Jewish state. Oh, and I don’t support the Syrian regime in case someone tries that mental midget approach.

      • andrew racist, Your dispensation for world-wide racist islamofascism is what is despicable.

        Your inability to hold Arabs to the same standards you hold others is racist.

        Perhaps you can tell us why in the following video boys with rags over their heads ran TOWARDS an oncoming car while throwing rocks at it – plus notice the photographers?

        Perhaps you can tell us why Arab children are brainwashed by Arab adults to put their lives at risk?

        Perhaps you can tell us why there are Checkpoints at every airport world-wide?

        • “Your dispensation for world-wide racist islamofascism is what is despicable.”

          Sorry, you’ve got me confused with the USG. The list of islamofascist (for lack of a better term) groups with US support is longer than you’d think. Try the Muslim Brotherhood, Afghan Mujahedeen circa 1980s, the Saudi royal family, Iraqi Khomeinist groups, and anything in Lebanon that isn’t Hezbollah.

          “Your inability to hold Arabs to the same standards you hold others is racist.”

          This is only a slight variation of that mental midget approach I just mentioned. I just said I don’t support the Syrian regime and it’s not my problem that you can’t read English. Not to mention your concern for Arab children is real touching when you support a regime that regularly demolishes their homes and does nothing to stop attacks on them by settlers.

          The Arab regimes, islamofascist groups and Israel all suck. There, same standard. Happy now?

          • andrew r,

            Perhaps you can tell us
            – who bombed London transport on 7/7/05
            – who murdered London policewoman Yvonne Fletcher
            – who threatens the UK and Europe with massacres
            – who tried to bomb a passenger plane with a bomb hidden in his sneaker
            – who hijacked 4 planes on 9/11/01
            – threatened writer Salman Rushdie with death for writing a book of fictioN
            – who threatened cartoonists with death for drawing some cartoons
            – who murdered filmmaker Theo Van Gogh
            – who threatens Ayan Hirsi Ali with death

            – who released the convicted bomber of Pan Am 103, on claimed “compassionate grounds” because the murderer of 270 people was “dying” and expected to die within 3 months, yet, 29 months after release, he is STILL alive – AND, surprise, BP was awarded oil contracts by Libya

            In your “they all suck” comment, you conveniently left out socialists, FAKE progressives, FAKE anti-war – they REALLY SUCK.

            Wh

            • Going out on a limb here, BP and the Brits who released the Pan Am 103 bomber are probably not
              a) socialists
              b) FAKE progressives
              c) FAKE anti-war

              It’s somewhat interesting (not really) how you almost manage to figure out the imperial invaders don’t really care about terrorism, yet direct your ire at their domestic opposition.

                • Not conveniently, there’s just no merit to answering the (non-)substance of your arguments until you can write something 100% coherent.

                  OBL was a US stooge who turned against his masters. No US imperialism, no OBL. So anything against US foreign policy is by definition against OBL.

                  • andrew r, Your sidestepping of valid questions, questions whose answers possibly make you uncomfortable, has been noted.

                    It’s not Jews/Zionists/NeoCons who:

                    – bombed London transport on 7/7/05
                    – murdered London policewoman Yvonne Fletcher
                    – threaten the UK and Europe with massacres
                    – tried to bomb a passenger plane with a bomb hidden in his sneaker
                    – tried to bomb a passenger plane with a bomb hidden in his underwear
                    – hijacked 4 planes on 9/11/01
                    – threatened writer Salman Rushdie with death for writing a book of fiction
                    – threatened Danish cartoonists with death for drawing some cartoons
                    – murdered filmmaker Theo Van Gogh
                    – threatens Ayan Hirsi Ali with death
                    – bombed Bali tourist spots
                    – murdered tourists in Luxor Egypt
                    – hang gay teens from construction cranes
                    – stone women to death for “family honor”
                    – dynamited the two 1,500 year of Buddahs of Bamiyan Afghanistan
                    – cut the throat and beheaded journalist Daniel Pearl while masked terrorists shrieked Allah Akbar
                    – truck bombed the WTC in 1993
                    – bombed Pan Am 103
                    – murdered 180 school children in Beslan
                    – hijacked the 1972 Olympics and murdered athletes
                    – enforce dress codes for women
                    – teach their children that Jews are sons of pigs and apes

                    andrew r, As a test of your honesty, care to tell us what group of people are the ones behind the above atrocities?

                    • “It’s not Jews/Zionists/NeoCons who:

                      (…)

                      – enforce dress codes for women”

                      That’s the second incoherence I’ve spotted from you today. It’s adding up.

                    • andrew r,

                      Dress codes for women.

                      Burqa. Niqab.

                      May a woman walk on the street and not wear a head covering in the Islamic Republic of Iran without suffering the wrath of the Religious Police of the Islamic Republic?

                • You want to pretend all the bad things are done by Muslims for no reason other than their holy book commands, while there are no consequences for aerial warfare on their homes. Sure, bombing people has nothing to do with them hating you. They’d still do it anyway just because of their superstitious ancient desert religion. Isn’t it nice that you don’t have an ancient desert religion? It makes you so much better than them.

                  al-Qaeda only had to do 9-11 because Dresden wasn’t available. You can list the unwarranted attacks on westerners by Muslims until the day breaks; westerners are getting off easy compared to what their own armies have done, Israelis included.

                  • andrew r, All bad things are done by Muslims??? Silly boy.

                    There are consequences for hijacking passenger planes and flying them into buildings.

                    Before 9/11, when a plane was hijacked, it was expected that the planes would be flown to Cuba, Libya.

                    Before 9/11 if someone said that Arabs would hijack planes and fly them into buildings and kill thousands, some people would have cried racist! islamophobe!

                    9/11 changed the world. Every airport needs checkpoints to screen cargo and passengers.

                    And as I listed above, the list you chose to ignore because it makes your position weak.

                    Did you cry when your osama bin laden was brought to justice in his “unknown” hideout in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?

                  • al-Qaeda only had to do 9-11 because Dresden wasn’t available.

                    Dresden and 9-11 were both reactions to aggression by the target.

                    Personally I consider the bombing of Dresden to be a war crime.

                    But that’s a pretty sick comparison.

                    Honestly, if Israel didn’t kill anyone, it would still be a despicable, racist entity not worthy of anyone’s support.

                    OK. Now (at the latest) we know where you’re coming from.

                  • “You said that Al Qada would have bombed Dresden if NYC weren’t available”

                    No, I meant al-Qaeda would have bombed NYC the way the allies bombed Dresden if they could. Dresden the event, not the city. Maybe I should not use any flippant rhetorical devices around here.

                    • andrew r, Your post of January 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm you stated in the second paragraph:

                      “al-Qaeda only had to do 9-11 because Dresden wasn’t available.”

                      Verify that the quote is accurate.

                      Please explain.

    • Israeli settlers, including children, are known to throw stones in the West Bank, including against Israeli soldiers. Lapidation is the Jewish punishment against women who committed adultery in the Torah. So clearly it has nothing to do with religion…

  3. Guardian doesn’t print any stories about Arab or muslim countries that may put these countries in bad light for the fear that such stories may give legitimacy to Israel’s “occupation”.

    They must keep showing Israel in worst possible light in order to continue with their anti-Jewish, pro Arab/muslim agenda.

    • “Guardian doesn’t print any stories about Arab or muslim countries that may put these countries in bad light”

      Clearly you don’t read the Guardian, Rupa. There are daily accounts of Syrian government killings and of violence by the Egyptian army. Abuse in all of the other Arab countries is regularly covered. It’s pointless giving specific examples; just look at the foreign news section on the Guardian site.

      • Have you seen the Guardian today, sencar?

        About the alternative “independent” (my foot!) Leveson enquiry run by Islam TV into allegedly “anti-Islam press”

        Have you seen the letter it published (without any chance for us to comment about it, of course) signed by all the usual suspects, which shows its true intentions and that it shills for Islam to the extent that it is willing to support censorship of criticism of Islam? ?

        What do you think of the letter, sencar, given some of the extremist signatories, their useful idiot fellow travellers and their affiliations and the fact that it was the (lack of) brain child of the egregious Jew-hating Inayat Bunglawala?

        Why do you think that they dared not allow comments below it?

        What’s that you say? Not enough moderators? Now why should they need more moderators if comment is free, sencar?

        What’s that again? It’s not typical of the Guardian, where fair criticism of Islam never censored?

        WRONG!!

  4. ” most of the Israeli Security Agency’s (ISA) response went unpublished”

    Since the full ISA response is simply a blanket denial of wrongdoing at tedious length there would be no point in quoting it further than is done in the Guardian article.

    “It would be naive to believe that there have never been any Israeli violations of those laws specifically meant to protect the rights of minors in detention.”

    You clearly accept that some abuse of minors occurs. In which case the ISA response is a deception.

  5. The Guardian has been reporting about the atrocities in Syria on a dailly basis. As for the Israeli response to the abuse of Palestinian children…They would say that, wouldn’t they?

  6. Lethal abuse of children:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4180366,00.html

    These youngsters, their parents and their handlers should most certainly be locked up.

    But I suppose that the first one to get a bullet in the head (instead of his intended victim getting a bullet in the head) will be worth more dead than alive in the cause of bludgeoning land from Israel.

    Didn’t people say “Life is cheap” about the Cosa Nostra‘s modus operandi?

  7. I’d love CIF Watch to explain how abuses against children in Syria give the right to some Israelis to violate child rights in Israel.

  8. The Guardian as well as British MPs report that young children are handcuffed and footcuffed even inside high security military prisons where there is no way they might escape. The idea of young children being footcuffed is very disturbing and even difficult to bear for anyone living in a democracy.

    • “British MPs report that young children are handcuffed and footcuffed”

      Really Caroline G, would you be kind enough to name these MPs?

      • The ISA itself admitted that children were handcuffed and foot shackled inside military tribunals. At the same time, ISA rules clearly state that a prisoner should be shackled “only if there is a risk that he might attempt to escape”. Could you please explain us how come young children are shackled in a high security military court ????

        • Caroline G it’s a simple question would you like to try to answer it.

          Again, who are the British MPs you claim reported this?
          Surely if you are citing them as a source you know who they are.

          • The simple answer is that she’s made it up and wants to try to stir the pot and cause trouble.

            She probably means people like Jeremy Corbyn and Gerald Kaufman who don’t count really

          • The ISA denied some of the points in the article published by the Guardian BUT it did not deny that young children were footshackled, because this is a well-established fact, documented in countless reports by Israeli NGO B’Tselem, several British MPs and the British Government, international NGO DCI, Israeli newspaper Haaretz, conservative newspaper The Australian. The latter even published of children with their feet shackled to one another (see photo 5), prompting the Australian Governement to raise concerns with Israel and to send diplomats to visit children in prison.

            Gerald, could you please explain us how come young children are shackled inside a high security military court ????

            http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/stone-cold-justice/story-e6frg8h6-1226202202928

            • Caroline G how many more times,
              Who are these MPs?
              Why are you so reluctant to answer a simple question?

              To put it less diplomatically, Put up or Shut up!
              Either name them or I will know the conclusions to draw about the reliability, or otherwise, of your posts

            • By the way Caroline G two more points.

              1) your link is to a subscription site, not very useful.

              2) I also asked you another question on a different thread which was, Why is, in your opinion, the Pakistan Christian Post a million times LESS trustworthy than The Guardian?
              Again you seem reluctant, or sadly unable, to answer.

              • The very idea of feetshackling kids is morally repugnant! Those who defend treating children in this degrading way only shed light on their own immorality. Gerald, there’s no way you’re a Jew – no Jew would defend shackling kids, it’s against our values. You should be busy petioning your own Government so stop this degrading practice. The photo published by the Australian is heartbreaking.

                • Shoshana what has your post or your assumptions about me to do with the simple questions I have asked Caroline G on several occasions?

                  By the way I have never claimed or pretended to be Jewish or Israeli, but thanks for your faux moral outrage it has brightened up an otherwise dull Saturday morning.

  9. The Guardian is far from being the first to report on abuses against children committed by Israeli staff. The Australian and The Independent also published articles on this issue. Several prestigious NGOs have also denounced violations against children, including Israeli NGO B’Tselem. All are highly respected in Western democracies and are seen as having far more credibility than CIF Watch.