Episode three of “The Promise” (11/12) sees British Mandate soldier Len, who has had his platoon raided and soldiers shot, has been caught in the King David Hotel bombing and has been shot on the street, kidnapped with two colleagues and held in a hole for 15 days, until he is released and his colleagues hanged. He must be the unluckiest soldier in the British army. In the present day, Len’s grand-daughter Erin takes a Palestinian to the house, where he very pointedly asks her friend’s parents where they are from “originally” and the mother begrudgingly tells him Hungary. She visits Hebron where she hears an Israeli tell a group, “You’ll notice most of the streets around here are deserted. It’s known as the sterile zone. Why? To make room for 500 Jewish settlers who have no right to be here under international law, almost the entire Palestinian population of Hebron has been moved out.” This is a gross exaggeration and ignores the ancient history of Hebron’s Jewish community, and its religious significance. She joins a group of sweet Palestinian schoolgirls who have rocks thrown at them by settler children while soldiers do little to stop them. She is in Hebron to find an Arab family Len befriended, but she finds the house full of Jewish settlers, and is then taken away by soldiers who tell her, “You can’t be here”.
Despite the relentless bias, Sydney Morning Herald television critic Doug Anderson (9/12) described “The Promise” as “manifestly even-handed” offensively adding that “it’s hard not to feel that the Palestinians have been screwed, just as the European Jews were screwed during the Holocaust.”
The Age and Sydney Morning Herald (7/12) ran a piece by Harriet Sherwood of the Guardian alleging Israel is planning to evict Bedouin families from their West Bank camps to allow settlement expansion. She added the very contentious statement, “All Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law,” which has no place in a supposed news story. She didn’t mention that, as effectively squatters, the Bedouin currently have no electricity or running water, but would have these facilities, as well as financial compensation, under the Israeli plan, and that the Bedouin themselves are divided about the plan. Sherwood only quoted those against it.
ANU professor Hugh White, in The Age (6/12) prematurely accepted Iran can’t be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons, and then proceeded with a flawed analysis of how this would affect Israel. He concluded, “For Israel, it means all the compelling arguments against compromise with its neighbours run up against the cold, unsentimental logic of power.” The implication is that Israel should compromise to save itself from Iran. However, Israel has been very willing to compromise. It’s the Palestinians who haven’t. Also, Iran has made it absolutely clear that it does not accept Israel’s existence, so there is no compromise Israel could possibly make that would satisfy the Iranian regime.