RNZ’s flagship Morning Report was particularly bad today, especially in this 8-minute item, titled on its website “UN expert on Palestinian rights cries for children killed.”
The headlined expert is Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on Human rights.
However the first half of the clip involved Netanyahu adviser Mark Regev given free rein to assert that Hamas was hiding under hospitals without any intervention or questioning. The lead-in said these assertions about Hamas tunnels under hospitals “cannot be independently verified.” So why publish them? Worse, why allow Israeli spokesman uncontested airtime to elaborate?
When it came to Francesca Albanese’s turn, Ingrid Hipkiss felt the need at the start to provide context to make sure that Albanese condemned Hamas October 7th raid, which of course she did, as she is a human rights lawyer. However she wasn’t about to allow Hipkiss to avoid Gaza’s pre-history of occupation. Hipkiss then wanted her to comment on the previous piece about the tunnels. Albanese responded;
In order to pursue with the destruction of these tunnels Israel is committing war crimes and potentially crimes against humanity and we have warned against the risk of genocide
There is a call coming from Israeli political leaders, military leaders to erase Gaza, to flatten Gaza, to kill all Gazans because they are “terrorists” or “human animals” .. this is extremely dangerous because there are 12,000 people who have been killed, 5000 of whom are children. These numbers are shocking .. there is mass destruction of civilian infrastructure.. north Gaza largely flattened .. massive bombing of building scan this be. justified by military necessity absolutely not.
Hipkiss returned to the Israeli line that they had no options because of the hostages, and tried to move to safe ground, the impossibility of doing anything. Albanese didn’t let her off the hook:
First of all I would like to go back to the question of the hostages that I have mentioned time and time again. The hostages face the same risk that Palestinians in Gaza face. How it’s possible that carpet bombing .. that living in Gaza without food water medicine .. how is it going to protect the hostages themselves ? They are put at risk by this fierce military operations..a ceasefire should have been declared weeks ago .. it is clear that the military response has never been the answer.
Hipkiss retired beaten, taking refuge in saying the issue was “complex”. Radio Garbage is not handling its Gaza coverage well; so-called balance has the thumb on the scale, and all sense of proportionality is lost. Bombs do not discriminate; too many innocents are being killed.
You can watch Francesca Albanese speaking to the National Press Club in Australia, where she explains the human rights and proportionality issues fully and also deals to similar questions from Australian media. She doesn’t use the Keating blowtorch, more a scalpel wielded with humour.
She will be speaking in Auckland at the Western Springs Community Garden at 7:30pm tonight, and in Wellington on Tuesday also at 7:30pm at St Andrews on the Terrace. I’ll be there.