The ABC Of Distorting History

Triple J is a government-funded, national Australian radio station, part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, intended to appeal to listeners between the ages of 18 and 25. With Israeli PM Netanyahu’s visit to Australia this week, Triple J’s “Hack” program provides a guide to the two-state solution, in an attempt to clear up any confusion for younger people. (Given ABC’s overall responsibility for the radio station and its programming, we will refer to ABC from here on in.)

ABC’s guide states that “We’re not going to go deep on the history today.” That’s something of an understatement as ABC then proceeds to take advantage of younger readers’ susceptible minds in order to adopt the Palestinians’ favored and distorted version of history and the conflict.

War “Broke Out?”

The article explains that in 1947, the UN proposed two states for the land that was then occupied by the British: one Arab and one Jewish.

But, the Arab side wasn’t happy with the deal: the Jewish settlers in the region were about one-third of the population but were given over half of the land.

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So already the ABC’s revised history of the conflict suggests that Jews were not indigenous to the region, and the Arabs had more of a right to the land. In fact there has been an uninterrupted Jewish presence in the Holy Land for 3,000 years. After the Holocaust, of course, the number of Jews in the land increased with the arrival of Jewish survivors.

ABC skips out on vital facts to understanding the conflict:

From here, war broke out between the newly-created Israel and its Arab neighbours, and again in 1967 when Israel ended up taking control of much of the Palestinian territory. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been going on ever since.

Before “war broke out,” Israel accepted the UN’s partition plan and declared independence; the Arabs rejected it and, together with the surrounding Arab nations, launched a war with the aim of destroying the Jewish state. In that war, Jordan occupied what became known as the West Bank.

Again in 1967, war did not just passively “break out.” Once more, the Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan and Syria planned to defeat the Jewish state. In a war of self-defense, Israel captured the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem – from Jordan. It was not “Palestinian territory.”

Six-Day War

Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem during the Six-Day War

Essentially what the article omits is that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been going on ever since the Arabs repeatedly tried to destroy Israel. And that’s without even going further back to before 1947 when Jews living in pre-state Israel endured attacks from the Arab population.

Land For Terrorism

According to ABC, the biggest problem in achieving a two-state solution is a question of land and borders. But it fails to mention that Palestinians have repeatedly refused Israeli offers of land for peace, because for the most part, the Palestinian leadership is less interested in two-states; and more in the end of the Jewish state to be replaced by a Palestinian one.

Hence Palestinians refer to Tel Aviv and Haifa as settlements, claim all of Israel is occupied as of 1948, not 1967; and consistently depict the entire land as Palestinian, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch here, here, here and here.


Abbas receives plaque with Fatah logo of map erasing Israel. (Image from Facebook/President Mahmoud Abbas via PalWatch)

The article briefly refers to Gaza as another issue in question, without explaining that Israel unilaterally withdrew from that territory in 2005 – from where Hamas took over and fired thousands of rockets at Israeli communities.

ABC acknowledges Israeli fears of the threat of violence from Palestinians, but doesn’t elaborate on this, on how the Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews; how even the “moderate” Fatah incites, glorifies and rewards terrorism. It merely says “some groups like Hamas are openly hostile to Israel.” Openly hostile. To describe a radical, genocidal anti-Semitic terror organization.

All About Settlements

According to ABC:

Settlements is a term used to describe the building of Israeli housing on what was set out as Palestinian land, according to borders that were drawn in the Oslo Accords in the 90s.

Except the Oslo Accords specifically did not draw borders on what was Palestinian land, instead dividing the West Bank into Areas A, B and C as part of an interim agreement before final status negotiations over borders.

And while ABC is quick to refer to “Palestinian land,” nowhere does it offer any acknowledgement of the deep historical Jewish ties to Judea and Samaria.

After stating the “illegality” of settlements as fact, ABC continues:

President of the Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network, Bishop George Browning says the network of settlements are further restricting the freedom of the Palestinians.

“They [Palestinians] are not allowed on the roads, the infrastructure mitigates against them and their rights are severely restricted.” Bishop George Browning told the ABC.

In fact, Palestinians are allowed on almost all roads in the disputed territories bar those where they would need a permit to enter e.g. Jewish settlements. And abstract references to infrastructure and restricted rights are in keeping with the lack of context in the article as a whole.

(You can find out more about Browning’s hostility towards Israel here as HonestReporting addressed a hateful article by him in The Australian in 2014.)

Further driving home the article’s point, this highlighted quote appears, referring to the Palestinians:

They’ve been made aliens in their own country.

ABC refers to Australian officials discussing the possibility of recognizing a Palestinian state in its current form and the prospects for a peaceful solution. ABC’s simplistic and distorted primer misinforms its readers and takes a partisan view of the conflict, pandering to the Palestinian position.

ABC has failed its readers.



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