"According to an investigation by the Palestinian human rights NGO, Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), 16-year-old Hamza Ashqar was killed while he was with a group of youth confronting Israeli military vehicles which had invaded the Palestinian city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. DCIP reports that these youth were unarmed"
February 8, 2023
Charlotte Anketell, Digital Content Editor, CTV News
Dear Ms. Anketell,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) regarding the story titled “Palestinians: Teen killed in Israeli army raid in West Bank” which was authored by AP and published by CTV News on February 7, 2023.
We are aware that ‘Honest Reporting Canada’ has requested a change to the headline to say that the Palestinian teen killed by Israeli forces was an armed gunman, or even a ‘terrorist.’ However, we strongly urge you to reject this request, for which there is no evidence. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary.
According to an investigation by the Palestinian human rights NGO, Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), 16-year-old Hamza Ashqar was killed while he was with a group of youth confronting Israeli military vehicles which had invaded the Palestinian city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. DCIP reports that these youth were unarmed: “One boy with Hamza allegedly threw a piece of metal at the Israeli military vehicles, while the other boys allegedly threw stones at the vehicles from a distance of about 30 meters (98 feet). An Israeli soldier inside one of the Israeli military vehicles fired two live bullets at Hamza, striking him in his mouth and the left side of his waist.”
Honest Reporting’s complaint cites a claim by an Israeli military spokesperson suggesting that Hamza was armed. There is significant reason to approach such claims with extreme skepticism, as Israel routinely issues claims that are later rescinded. For example, earlier in January, there was an incident in which a 45-year-old Palestinian man was shot to death at a military checkpoint. At first, Israeli spokesman claimed that he approached the soldiers with a drawn knife, but Israel later changed its version of events and said that he tried to take a weapon from a soldier. Days later, an Israeli army report dismissed this claim as well, and concluded that the incident was an “unjustifiable killing.” In the wake of incidents such as these, Israel’s version of events cannot be assumed truthful unless corroborated.
Instead of changing the headline, we ask that you add the following paragraph to ensure that necessary context is provided to your readers:
“An investigation by Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) found that Hamza, 16, was shot by Israeli forces in the mouth and waist, and that he was unarmed. He was with a group of youth alleged to have thrown rocks and pieces of metal at an Israeli military vehicle. Hamza was the 9th Palestinian child killed by Israeli fire in 2023.”
Thank you for making these changes. Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Michael Bueckert, PhD
Vice President, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
 Defense for Children International – Palestine, “Israeli Forces Shoot, Kill 16-Year-Old Palestinian Boy in Nablus,”
 Kubovich, Yaniv, “‘Unjustifiable’ Killing, Army Report Says on Palestinian Shot by Soldiers,” January 23, 2023,