ABC defence of its coverage of Palestinian struggle

‘Living in a nightmare’

In Israel too, life is different since the war – but for the better.
Israelis say the war was justified because it has reduced the constant threat of rocket fire on their border towns, and some Israelis even believe there may be cause for another war.

Mechi Fendel lives at Sderot, just one kilometre from the Gaza border.
“Eight years ago these Qassam rockets started and they started slamming down in all places, hurting people, people getting killed, maimed for life.
And we started living in a nightmare,” she said.
Today Sderot and other Israeli towns are much quieter, and residents who fled Sderot are even returning

— excerpt from ABC news article about the bombing of Gaza in which over 1,400 Palestinians died.

No mention by the ABC that Sderot was a Palestinian village occupied by Israel in the 1950s and some of the rockets were fired by Palestinian families driven out of their village by Israeli militia to live in exile and poverty in Gaza, in constant fear of their lives. What the ABC report and other sensationalised media reports of rocket fire never say is:

Sderot was founded in 1951 next to the Gevim-Dorot transit camp, on the land of the former Palestinian village of Najd.

Najd was a Palestinian Arab village, located 14 kilometers (9 mi) northeast of Gaza City.
On 13 May 1948, Najd was occupied by Jewish soldiers from the Negev Brigade as part of Operation Barak.
The inhabitants were expelled and fled to Gaza, and the village was then completely destroyed and leveled to the ground.

In 1951, the town of Sderot was built over the village lands (of Palestinians).


Letter in response from the ABC
Thank you for your emails of 5 and 9 January about ABC reporting on the Middle East.

I apologise for the delay in responding.

Your complaint states that the ABC did not cover the Viva Palestina convoy or protests in “TV, radio and online news”.
The ABC’s flagship radio current affairs program AM led with the story of the march to Gaza on 31 December: International protest over Gaza blockade

ABC News Online reported that ‘Australian protesters banned from travelling to Gaza Strip‘, published on 29 and 31 December:

ABC Radio featured an interview with author Anthony Loewenstein on the Radio National Breakfast program:

I am advised by ABC News that the International Desk produced a number of stories on this issue.
Unfortunately, news producers in Brisbane did not have room in bulletins to broadcast the stories.

With regard to your broader concerns on the ABC coverage of the plight of Gazans, ABC News recently broadcast TV news and current affairs stories on the problems faced by the population, one year on from the aftermath of the operation Israel named ‘”>Cast Lead’. Some of these stories are still available online:

I can assure you that the ABC does not ‘suppress’ news and remains entirely independent.
ABC News continues to monitor the region, and the conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, through its bureau in Jerusalem.
Whether or not an event is covered or included in a program is an independent editorial decision.
The news agenda of the day, time constraints and deadlines are also relevant and do impact the content of news bulletins.
Clearly, some members of the audience will disagree with what is covered in an ABC News program, but ABC News endeavours to make news judgements aimed at serving the needs of a majority of the audience.

For your reference, ABC editorial standards are set out here – Thank you again for writing to the ABC.

Yours sincerely,
Denise Musto
Audience & Consumer Affairs

One thought on “ABC defence of its coverage of Palestinian struggle

  1. jim sharp says:

    my comment comes thru this poem by another poet.

    Poetry for Palestine
    A Poem for Gaza ( 0)
    Printer friendly page Print This ShareThis
    By Remi Kanazi. Axis of Logic
    Axis of Logic
    Monday, Dec 29, 2008

    I never knew death until I saw the bombing of a refugee camp
    Craters filled with disfigured ankles and splattered torsos
    But no sign of a face, the only impression a fading scream
    I never understood pain
    Until a seven-year-old girl clutched my hand
    Stared up at me with soft brown eyes, waiting for answers
    But I didn’t have any
    I had muted breath and dry pens in my back pocket
    That couldn’t fill pages of understanding or resolution

    In her other hand she held the key to her grandmother’s house
    But I couldn’t unlock the cell that caged her older brothers
    They said, we slingshot dreams so the other side will feel our father’s presence
    A craftsman
    Built homes in areas where no one was building
    And when he fell, he was silent
    A .50 caliber bullet tore through his neck shredding his vocal cords
    Too close to the wall
    His hammer must have been a weapon
    He must have been a weapon
    Encroaching on settlement hills and demographics

    So his daughter studies mathematics
    Seven explosions times eight bodies
    Equals four Congressional resolutions
    Seven Apache helicopters times eight Palestinian villages
    Equals silence and a second Nakba
    Our birthrate minus their birthrate
    Equals one sea and 400 villages re-erected
    One state plus two peoples…and she can’t stop crying
    Never knew revolution or the proper equation
    Tears at the paper with her fingertips
    Searching for answers
    But only has teachers
    Looks up to the sky and see stars of David
    demolishing squalor with hellfire missiles

    She thinks back words and memories of his last hug before he turned and fell
    Now she pumps dirty water from wells, while settlements divide and conquer
    And her father’s killer sits beachfront with European vernacular
    She thinks back words, while they think backwards
    Of obscene notions and indigenous confusion

    This our land!, she said
    She’s seven years old
    This our land!, she said
    And she doesn’t need a history book or a schoolroom teacher
    She has these walls, this sky, her refugee camp
    She doesn’t know the proper equation
    But she sees my dry pens
    No longer waiting for my answers
    Just holding her grandmother’s key…searching for ink

    ©Copyright 2008 by

    This material is available for republication as long as reprints include verbatim copy of the article in its entirety, respecting its integrity. Reprints must cite the author and Axis of Logic as the original source including a “live link” to the article. Thank you!

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