11 February 2014
Statement on 4 Corners/ The
Australian investigation on the Israeli justice system by the Zionist
The Four Corners program aired on ABC was highly emotive and one-sided.
It only depicted the allegations in line with the Palestinian position but made
absolutely no attempt to report the facts presented to the court or the difficult
legal realities on the ground.
The disputed territories have many legal, social and moral complexities
with which Israel is continually trying to grapple. John Lyons and Four
Corners did not acknowledge these difficulties in dealing with Palestinian
"child terrorists" who are caught throwing rocks. Lyons' attempt to
belittle the lethal repercussions of this terrorist activity proves that this
investigation is partial.
The issue of the treatment of Palestinian juveniles in the military
court system raises a more fundamental question of child abuse. Why have these
teenage boys been recruited to participate in armed conflict? Should they
not be attending school, instead of being exploited to use rocks as dangerous
weapons, often with deadly repercussions? A Palestinian elder recruiting
their own son in terrorist activities signifies abuse of the highest order.
A special juvenile military court
operates in the West Bank as until the final status of this area is
determined, it is subject to Israeli military jurisdiction. Contrary to Four Corners positioning, the two legal systems are divided between Israeli citizens
(including Jews, Arabs, Christians and others) living and offending in
Israel and non-Israeli citizens in the disputed territories. This is not a
division based on race, ethnicity or religion but rather, the Israeli justice
system cannot be applied to Palestinian youth in the West Bank as it is still a
disputed territory. To apply Israeli civil law to
this region would signify annexation, undoubtedly causing international outcry
and accusations of a breach of international law. The Australian’s editorial
today stresses that the dual legal systems are an administrative and legal
requirement rather than any sort of racism.
Contrary to Lyons' allegations the system in place is independent and open presided over by professional judges. The fact
that Lyons has access to these courts demonstrates the openness of the
important to note that Israel takes these issues seriously and analysis of the
Israeli version of events would have shown this to be the case. After
consultation with bodies like UNICEF Israel implemented vast improvements and this was even
noted in the organization's most recent report issued in October 2013. A
special juvenile court has been established to ensure appropriate care of youth
in custody. These are important developments that have been excluded from Four
If it is
objectively established that youth in detention are not being appropriately
treated then Israel should improve its practices. This is something the Israel
justice system is emphatically committed to.
is important to emphasize that neither the information nor interviews presented
are new, but are simply recycled from an old campaign and in particular an
article Lyons wrote for The Australian newspaper back in 2011.
program has presented disturbing images, selectively juxtaposing Israelis with
extreme views who represent a very small minority with the testimonies of youth
who have allegedly been the subject of mistreatment. In ignoring the context,
the violence perpetrated by these youths and those who recruit and incite them,
the program severely lacks integrity and balance.