After being so publicly exposed and humiliated for its publication of Michael Backman’s anti-Semitic trope in its business pages, the Age has been obsessing this week over the issue of the alleged misuse by Israel of white phosphorous. Today, the same story is covered from an albeit different angle with Israel investigates phosphorus claim.
“ISRAEL has admitted — after facing mounting pressure — that its troops might have used banned white phosphorus shells during its three-week Gaza offensive.”
The poorly written piece by Peter Beaumont from the "Guardian" (why am I not surprised?) tells us the IDF is reviewing claims by the United Nations and human rights groups that it improperly used the munition, in contravention of international law.
Israel has of course, never denied using white phosphorous shells, but always say its use is in accordance with international law. The Beaumont article even says that, so why the sensational headline and an opening paragraph that suggests some hitherto sinister cover up by the Israelis?
The IDF is to be congratulated for ordering the investigation. Now, let’s see what results from the enquiry before jumping to conclusions.
Meanwhile, there were many accusations levelled at Hamas both before and during the course of the Gaza War for contravening international law (including the use of phosphorous in its missiles) so when are we going to see some news articles in the Age enumerating the crimes of which Hamas has been accused?
Some examples: the firing missiles into Israel’s civilian population is a recognised war crime; firing missiles from civilian buildings is a war crime; hiding missiles and weapons in mosques, schools and civilian dwellings is a war crime; building tunnels in and under civilian buildings for use by Hamas terrorists is a war crime; intermingling Hamas terrorists with the civilian population is a war crime; the kidnapping of soldier Gilad Shalit is a war crime; denying him ICRC visits is a war crime; carrying out suicide bombings is a crime against humanity; having for goal, as Hamas has, the destruction of the state of Israel is a crime against humanity.
When are we going to read in the Age about Hamas hijacking humanitarian aid material for its own purposes and diverting them away from the people of this war torn territory? When are we going to hear someone from UNRWA denouncing these acts?
And when is the Age going to tell its readers the real truth about the death toll in Gaza?
YNet News [Gazan doctor says death toll inflated] tells of a report in the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera of claims by a doctor working in Gaza's Shifa Hospital that Hamas has been intentionally inflating the number of casualties resulting from Israel's Operation Cast Lead.
"The number of deceased stands at no more than 500 to 600. Most of them are youths between the ages of 17 to 23 who were recruited to the ranks of Hamas, who sent them to the slaughter," according to the newspaper article ...
A Tal al-Hawa resident told the newspaper's reporter, "Armed Hamas men sought out a good position for provoking the Israelis. There were mostly teenagers, aged 16 or 17, and armed. They couldn't do a thing against a tank or a jet. They knew they are much weaker, but they fired at our houses so that they could blame Israel for war crimes."
The reporter for the Italian newspaper also quoted reporters in the Strip who told of Hamas' exaggerated figures, "We have already said to Hamas commanders – why do you insist on inflating the number of victims?"
These same reporters mentioned that the truth that will come out is likely to be similar to what occurred in Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin. "Then, there was first talk of 1,500 deaths. But then it turned out that there were only 54, 45 of which were armed men," the Palestinian reporters told the Italian newspaper.
Previous reports of the number of dead have all come from Hamas sources and The Age has willingly published them without challenge. They might argue that this was not necessary because Israel closed Gaza to foreign journalists during the course of the war. Now that reporters like Lorenzo Cremonesi who wrote the above (and who recently also wrote of Gaza "One thing seems clear. There is no lack of food and there is no hunger,") there is no reason why the Age can't give us some real news instead of treating readers like idiots by recycling old material and reproducing it in a different form.