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Update – 21 July 2011

Posted by Emily Gian on 21 July 2011 at 1:58pm:

Dear All, 

Yesterday’s Age online featured an Op-Ed in the National Times section entitled ‘Freedom and dignity are basic rights for all, even Palestinians’ by Palestinian advocate Randa Abdel-fattah. Accompanying the article was a photograph depicting Palestinian children behind bars, as if they were being imprisoned. The caption accompanying the picture states, “It is Palestinians who … have not known a single day of security.” 

ZCV President Sam Tatarka suspected he had seen this photograph previously on Honest Reporting, and he was entirely correct; the exact same picture was exposed by Honest Reporting as being completely staged in a December 2010 piece entitled ‘Shattered Lens: Putting Palestinians Behind Bars’. From other photographs taken on the same day it is clear that the children had come to an industrial area in Gaza only to be positioned behind a gate to give the impression that they are behind bars. Despite their exposure by Honest Reporting more than six months ago, the Age is still disingenuously dredging up these images from its archives to fit in with their anti-Israel agenda. 

Thankfully, we live in a world where social media dominates, and a quick “tweet” on Twitter to Honest Reporting saw them exposing the issue once again in a blog post entitled ‘The Age recycles staged photo’. That Honest Reporting blog post has been sent to Age Editor Paul Ramadge and to the Twitter page of the National Times but unsurprisingly, the photo is still there proclaiming its false message. 

The article that accompanied the photo was just another example of the Age giving a platform to a one-sided view. Peter Wertheim of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry covered Abdel-fattah’s accusations of racism in his letter in today’s Sydney Morning Herald (where the article also appeared) so I will focus on some other inaccuracies. 

Ms. Abdel-fattah declares, “there are many theories as to why a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains elusive. They include the military occupation, Israel’s defiance of international law, US bias, the illegal settlements rendering a contiguous Palestinian state an impossibility, the suffocation of Gaza, the wall, the second-class status of Israeli-Arab citizens, the abysmal Palestinian leadership”. 

She rants incessantly about Israel’s security measures in the West Bank and about the security fence. But within all of her theories on why there is no peace, she fails to make a single mention of the 1,204 people that were killed or the 8,324 wounded since the year 2000 in brutal Palestinian terrorists attacks; of terrorist attacks and threats that made such security measures, including the security fence, necessary. Nor does she make any mention of the daily incitement towards violence which takes place on government-controlled Palestinian television, in mosques and in schools or the Hamas Covenant which guides and motivates the actions of murderous regime in Gaza. 

As I read the article it occurred to me (not for the first time) that it is people like Abdel-fattah who stand as obstacles for peace. To be fair, there are some on the Israeli side who hold extreme views that set up similar obstacles but their positions are not mainstream. However, as both sides fight to have their narratives heard, the narrative of the other side needs to be honest and truthful.

In the case of Randa Abdel-fattah, her narrative has become twisted by her whitewashing decades of Palestinian terrorism entirely out of history and to the extent that the Age newspaper and its Sydney sister, the Sydney Morning Herald allow bogus photographs to illustrate what simply does not exist, they become accomplices to a betrayal of history and to the aspirations of those people in the region who truly crave peace.

Best wishes,
Emily.

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