For I'd been caught napping. Amid all the hustle and bustle of my recent move back to Australia from the UK I had missed the fact that the BBC's snidely pro-Palestinian Jon Donnison (yes, the notorious young bloke who tweeted Israel-damaging fauxtography not so long ago, and was lucky not to have his press pass revoked by Israel as a result) has also come to Oz's shores. He has begun reporting from Oz this month.
And Donnison, who (see below) has already stressed that Gaza "would fit inside Australia 21,000 times" has just amended that figure somewhat, opening a new BBC report thus:
"Well, you have certainly got a bigger patch," one of my friends in Gaza remarked as we strolled along the beach on my final sun-kissed summer evening on the shores of the Mediterranean.A little heavy of heart as I stepped around children flying kites against an ever-pinkening sky, I was about to leave the pint-sized Palestinian territory and set off on the interminable thrombosis-inducing journey to the vast expanses of Australia.And since I touched down on the world's biggest island, jaded by jetlag and infused with insomnia, I have become somewhat obsessed with matters of size.It began with a bit of night-time number crunching which revealed to me the probably never-before-reported fact that Gaza would fit inside Australia no fewer than 21,366 times.
And you would still have a couple of acres left over to set up a barbecue.
Australia's vital statistics, to put it politely, are chunky.
Gaza, meanwhile, is positively petite. Less than four miles (7 km) wide at its narrowest point and just over 26 miles (42 km) in length."
|Big enough for you?: "Chunky" Australia dwarfs tiny Israel too, Jono.|
'BBC New has appointed Jon Donnison as the new Australia correspondent, commencing early August 2013. Jon has been the BBC’s Gaza and West Bank correspondent for the past three years.
Based in Sydney, Jon will report on the latest political, cultural and business news from Australia for international news channel BBC World News and BBC.com, as well as covering stories for the BBC’s news services within the UK.
Jon has spent 15 years working in broadcast journalism and this year was awarded the Silver Sony Award for Radio Journalist of the Year for his coverage of Gaza in 2012. Judges commented that Jon’s reports were ‘vivid and dramatic and often delivered when he was in grave danger but were always measured and beautifully crafted’. [See more here: "His essay on the death of a colleague's baby during the fighting was deeply moving."]
Prior to his work in the Middle East, Jon was based in Washington, covering events across the US in a busy period during President Obama’s first year in office. He has also reported from Libya, Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, France, Germany, Spain and Poland.
From 2002 – 2007 Jon worked in London as a producer and programme editor for BBC radio, and before this presented a daily world affairs programme World Watch for Radio New Zealand, based in Wellington.
Jon graduated in politics and French from Edinburgh University and completed his post-graduate studies in journalism at the University of Lancashire. He is fluent in French and passionate about cycling, both of which proved helpful when he reported on the 2002 Tour De France by cycling the entire 3200km route – the first journalist to do so.
Richard Porter, Controller of English, BBC Global News said “Jon Donnison is a very experienced, award-winning journalist who has spent the last three and a half years immersing himself in the story of Gaza and the West Bank. In what is an important election year for Australia, I know he’ll bring the same enthusiasm and dedication to delivering the country’s big stories to BBC audiences around the world.”
Jon comments, “Sydney is certainly going to be a change of scene from Gaza, although they do have the beach and the ocean in common. The patch is a little bit bigger mind you. The whole of Gaza would fit inside Australia around 21000 times! I’m really looking forward to the new challenge and the sheer variety of stories in Australia – from the elections to The Ashes to the environment to the economy.”
Jon will be replacing Nick Bryant, who is departing Australia to take up a new BBC posting in New York.'As I commented on BBCWatch earlier today, on Twitter Donnison has enquired of Aussies what, precisely "Fair Dinkum" means, and that if I was on Twitter I'd tweet "It's everything your reports from Gaza were not, mate!"