Stone Cold Justice


Monday 10 February 2014

The Israeli army is both respected and feared as a fighting force. But now the country’s military is facing a backlash at home and abroad for its treatment of children in the West Bank, occupied territory.

Coming up, a joint investigation by Four Corners and The Australian newspaper reveals evidence that shows the army is targeting Palestinian boys for arrest and detention. Reporter John Lyons travels to the West Bank to hear the story of children who claim they have been taken into custody, ruthlessly questioned and then allegedly forced to sign confessions before being taken to court for sentencing.

He meets Australian lawyer Gerard Horton, who’s trying to help the boys who are arrested, and talks to senior Israeli officials to examine what’s driving the army’s strategy.

The program focuses on the stories of three boys. In two cases the army came for the children in the middle of the night, before taking them to unknown locations where they are questioned. A mother of one of the boys described the scene:

“Every soldier stood at the door of a room. I was telling him ‘What do you want with him?’ He said ‘Shut up woman.’ And then they started hitting him and pulling him out of bed.”

“They started kicking me with their boots in my stomach, slaps on my face. They pulled me up by my t-shirt and took me out of bed.” Arrested boy

Is this, as many Israelis suggest, simply part of the drive to maintain security? Or is it, as Palestinians claim, part of a much wider plan to make life in the West Bank intolerable for them?

“I think that they want to kick us out of here and drive us away because they don’t want Arabs in this area.”

It’s a claim that’s dismissed out of hand by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

“Let me say this very clearly. There is no such policy. A policy to create fear? There is no such thing. The only policy is to maintain law and order, that’s all. If there’s no violence, there’s no law enforcement.” Yigal Palmor

The United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) has been investigating these claims and last year released a scathing report finding that “children have been threatened with death, physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault.”

As Four Corners discovered, though, Palestinian children have more to fear than the Israeli army. Reporter John Lyons shows clear evidence that Israeli settlers in the West Bank regularly attack Palestinian school children, knowing the authorities will not intervene. He also discovers there are two legal systems operating. One for Israeli children and one for young Palestinians. It’s an impossible situation that may provide temporary security for Israel, but in the long term may well breed a new generation of Palestinians prepared to do anything to gain retribution.

STONE COLD JUSTICE, reported by John Lyons and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 10th February at 8.30pm on ABC1. It is replayed on Tuesday 11th February at 11.35pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview and at

3 thoughts on “Stone Cold Justice

  1. This is what happens when HUMAN RIGHTS are dispensed with- it can happen anywhere to any country.

    Australia is doing to asylum seekers what Israel is doing to Palestinian children- different tactics- same long term damage.

    Pamela Curr
    Refugee Rights Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman St West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 9326 6066 / MOB 0417517075

    “AUSTRALIA. Built by boatpeople.”

  2. Feigning Ignorance - Silence of The Lambs says:

    Australia’s Foreign Minister, the ‘Honourable’ Julie Bishop, refuses to take up with her Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman,the systemic child abductions, detention and torture of Palestinian children revealed in a stinging report by Australian TV last Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

    Treasurer Joe Hockey, who flaunted his paternal Palestinian heritage to gain Muslim votes in the last election, has, after his election, distanced himself from anything to do with Palestine. Even MP Susan Ley who speaks obliquely in support of Palestinians is deadly silent. Silent too is Prime Minister Tony Abbott who says his life is dedicated to the ideal: “Be a man for others”.This my letter to these worthies:

    Dear Ms Bishop, Mr Joe Hockey, Ms Susan Ley and Mr Tony Abbott

    Australia is proud of its democratic credentials. I believed, when I chose to migrate to Australia, that I was coming to a nation which is both moral and democratic in the fullest sense – a nation where a federal minister: (i) responds ethically to concerns expressed by a citizen who writes to her on a matter of great public concern, and (ii) is transparently open with the Australian public over its human rights policies. Sadly, my faith in my minister and the Abbott government’s commitment to its citizens and democracy is shaken by recent events and experiences.

    I wrote to you on January 6, 2014 – more than a month ago – raising serious concerns about a letter written to me by Ms Rachel Morris, Director DFAT – Levant and Iran of the Department of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Ms Julie Bishop. I had also expressed concerns in two letters about the silence of Mr Joe Hockey and Mr Abbott (who calls himself ‘a man for others’) on Israel’s systemic human rights abuse of children and other vulnerable and innocent sections of the Palestinian community. To this day, I have not received any clarification on those serious concerns from any of you. I feel hurt and betrayed. Surely an Australian citizen can expect an honest answer from his leaders?

    Second, the recent joint ABC-Australian Four Corners exposé, Stone Cold Justice, on the child abduction, detention and torture of Palestinian children and the consequent trauma suffered by their parents at the hands of Israel, has sent shock waves across Australia given Australia’s unapologetic and unconditional support to Israel. Imagine our shock and dismay when there was stoic silence on your part to this outrage which was confirmed when we read in the Sydney Morning Herald:

    “Unlike the previous Labor government, Ms Bishop has refused to condemn Israeli settlements, and has not altered her position following the airing of the disturbing footage on ABC television on Monday night. Nor would the Foreign Minister commit to registering her concerns directly with the Israeli government.” “…Several Coalition frontbenchers known to be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause have been silent since taking office in September.

    The former leader of the parliamentary Friends of Palestine group, frontbencher Sussan Ley, refused to comment on her government’s position on Palestine or on the latest reports. Nor would Treasurer Joe Hockey make any comment, despite speaking passionately about his Palestinian heritage while in opposition.”

    Thirdly, Ms Bishop told the press: “I would like to see which international law has declared [Israeli settlements] illegal.” That is a comment from a government which turns back, from its own shores, hundreds if not thousands of boat people because it deems such persons ‘illegal settlers’!

    Why does your government have different rules for Australia’s sovereignty and those for Palestine?

    Why do you not respond to a letter from an Australian which seeks clarifications on serious discrepancies in a foreign affairs ministry letter?

    Why does Mr Joe Hockey parade his Palestine ethnicity before an election and, after his election, abandon Palestine when it faces horrors like those reported in ABC-Australian’s Stone Cold Justice?

    Why does Foreign Minister Julie Bishop not take up Australian concerns about the mistreatment of children immediately with the Israeli Foreign Minister?

    “I am deeply concerned by allegations of the mistreatment of Palestinian children,” Ms Bishop told the SMH last Tuesday. Why was a foreign minister in office for five months unaware of a serious problem concerning a nation she and her government declare themselves so close to?

    More importantly, even if she was unaware of that abuse, why does she refuse to take up the matter ministerially now that she is aware?

    How can Ms Bishop claim concern only after the February appearance of Stone Cold Justice when she was made aware, on June 6, 2014, of a 854-signature petition providing detailed UN, Amnesty, Addameer, B’Tselem, Defence of Children International and Human Rights Watch reports on Israel’s child abuse to her: “End Australia’s support to Israel’s human rights abuse”: ?

    Why do you not explain to Australians why your government stridently condemns human rights abuses by other nations but remains stoically silent on Israel’s?

    In November 2013, not long after assuming her post, Ms Bishop ordered Australia to abstain from two UN General Assembly resolutions; one condemning the expansion of Jewish settlements and another calling for the Geneva Convention to apply in the occupied Palestinian territories. Why are you aiding and abetting ethnic cleansing in the name of all Australians?

    And lastly, if Ms Julie Bishop does not defend Palestinian children from Israeli abuse today what hope is there that she will do so when those children fall within the ethno-religious Jewish state Ms Bishop moots in her two-state solution?

    Please take the people of Australia into confidence and explain what factors make you override human rights concerns in your overarching support to Israel. Show Australia that you are transparent and honest in governance.

    I look forward to an early response from you which does not side-step the concerns I and so many others have raised. As Australians, we wish to believe we live in a moral nation with moral and accountable leaders.

    Thank you.

    Yours truly

    David Albuquerque

  3. I just wonder how much longer we are going to allow these fools to speak for us and take a position of power not for, but against us.

    Who are these people that represent me? Who are these men and women who take blow, after blow, after blow at my humanity?

    I never asked for either of these two clowns (Newman & Abbott) that call themselves my democracy and my freedom of choice to take power over my decisions. Where did they come from? Who put them up as my only choices of representation?

    How much longer are we going to let them get away with this charade and fast?

    This “gimmick” they call election!

    They run our humanity into the ground. They class our own people and prevent us helping others. I never said refugee people couldn’t take refuge here. I never said the aboriginal peoples sovereignty will not be recognised. I never said we would turn a blind eye to the cries of Palestinian people being wronged.

    What right do these inhumane fucks have to sway and dictate Australian views, opinions, morals and standards. They have shown us time and time again that their ethics do not align with ours.

    Its time we take control of this democracy and not allow them to control us with it!

    These people do NOT speak on behalf of me and I hope to hell they do NOT speak on behalf of you!

Please comment down below