On 7 January 2009 the Age published a report sourced from AFP and entitled "Israeli strikes kill 48 in school refuges"
The report opened as follows:
The report was false - founded on fabrications provided to AFP reporters who simply repeated them and made their story available to media outlets like the Age which gleefully accepted the story and allowed it to sit as the main news item of its on line edition for the whole day.
Israeli forces blazed into towns across Gaza today, striking Hamas targets but also hitting three United Nations-run schools in attacks that killed up to 48 people and led to urgent new calls for a ceasefire.
This was despite conflicting reports coming in from elsewhere throughout that day and, by the following day, it was clear that the IDF did not fire at any schools but rather, that it returned fire at Hamas fighters. It has subsequently been proved that 12 died outside the school including just three civilians who were unlucky enough to have been in the vicinity when Hamas attacked IDF troops. The rest were Hamas terrorists using their own people as human shields.
The Age never produced an apology or a retraction for publishing a story cram packed with lies, a story which was one of many unsubstantiated claims of IDF "war crimes", most of which have been debunked.
Yet, the Age had the indecency to yesterday publish another unbalanced AFP item titled - UN chief seeks compensation from Israel. The more decent Australian newspaper published Israel savages UN report on Gaza attacks in which a number of subtle ommisions from the Age report are brought to light including the fact that the UN's Ban Ki-moon is uncomfortable with several aspects of his own organisation's report.
Robbie Sabel in the Guardian (a source often used by the Age) The UN on Gaza: partial and partisan gets right down to the point:
There is an asymmetry peculiar to the laws of armed conflict. Hamas knowingly and deliberately targeted civilians and civilian targets in Israel and based itself in civilian areas, but this does not exempt Israel from having to apply the rules of war to its hostilities with Hamas. Israel accepted this obligation and has never shirked from it. It is also absolutely right that the damage done to UN facilities should be fully
investigated, along with all other serious accusations of misconduct in war.
But the report the UN has produced does little to bring understanding or justice to the conflict in Gaza. The UN secretary general appears to have realised this and has tried to distance himself from it.
The report's underlying premise is that UN property enjoys absolute immunity. Of course, that is right, but the report should surely have explored why a military force needed to take action against an enemy in a built-up area at all. The undisputed fact – that Hamas was deliberately operating from such areas to launch attacks on Israeli civilian targets – is simply ignored.
The Age probably gets this but, on the evidence of the past four or five months doesn't want its readers to see this side of the story. It routinely airbrushes out of existence much of the bad side of Hamas and the PA, just as it routinely questions everything that the Jewish State does and even publishes articles including accusations that Israel lied. Even when it knows it has published lies and blood libels against Israel which, when proven untrue, are still not retracted.
That's sheer hypocrisy and utter indecency. The Palestine Lobby at the Age is working well and doing as good a job for its dark cause as the editors who published the offensive cartoon above.