The Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange prompted various editorials. The worst, an inaccuracy-riddled effort in the Age (20/10), remarkably expressed the hope that the exchange would “prompt a rethink in Israel” and “be an incentive to renew negotiations”. It doubted it would be, continuing, “In part, this is because Mr Netanyahu…refuses to end Jewish settlement activity on Palestinian land.” This is clearly untrue, as the recent ten-month moratorium on building of houses in settlements demonstrated. That this did not lead to negotiation shows that Palestinian intransigence, not building within the existing boundaries of settlements is the problem. In addition, the land is not “Palestinian”. The borders are to be settled by negotiation. The editorial goes on to advocate that Israel “accept Mr Abbas’s conditions for talks.” It should urge the Palestinians to talk without preconditions, as the Middle East Quartet proposed. Similarly, the Sydney Morning Herald editorial (20/10) stated, “The Israeli Prime Minister should also be reviewing his stance toward the Palestinian Authority.”
By contrast, the Australian‘s editorial (20/10) concluded, “To bring Shalit home, Israel has had to submit to gross extortion by an organisation, Hamas, one of whose leaders once instructively declared: We desire death as you desire life. By placing so much value in a single life and being willing to concede so much, Israel has drawn a telling contrast with the actions of the terrorists who kill and maim. We hope, perhaps in vain, that this lesson in the sanctity of life is not lost on the Palestinian prisoners as they, too, return home to their families.” Similarly, an editorial in Brisbane’s Courier-Mail (20/10) stated, “That there are among those freed Palestinians, convicted murderers who carried out acts of terror will not be easy for many Israelis to accept, and it is hoped the authorities in Gaza and the West Bank will act to ensure these individuals do not take up the fight again.”
Who to Ask
SBS TV “News” chose, as their interviewee, Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti, who complained that some of the Palestinian prisoners had been imprisoned for longer than Nelson Mandela, and claimed the peace process is “dead…because Israel insists on continuing settlement building” which means “consolidation of Apartheid system.” He did not acknowledge that any of the prisoners had committed crimes that warranted imprisonment, and presenter Janice Petersen failed to question him on this. Similarly, ABC Radio‘s “The World Today” (19/10) marked the occasion by interviewing Gerard Horton, a lawyer who accused Israel of unjustly imprisoning Palestinian children.
Tim Blair, in his Daily Telegraph column (17/10) on the “occupy” protestors, noted that the Melbourne “occupiers once again marched on a Max Brenner chocolate shop. They’ve been agitated about this Jewish-owned chain for more than a year now, and presumably won’t be happy until yellow stars are painted on them.” In his “Strewth” column in the Australian (17/10) James Jeffrey revealed that, at the “Occupy Sydney” protest, he met a “friendly woman from Socialist Alternative drawing attention to ‘our lovely badges’ which included ‘Israel Terrorist state’ and ‘Racism sux’ (probably not meant to be worn at the same time).”