"This article misrepresents the legality of Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise as a matter of subjective opinion, writing that “most world powers view as illegal the settlements Israel has built on land it captured in a 1967 war with Arab powers.”
February 15, 2023
James Mackenzie and Kanishka Singh, Reuters
Aileen Donnelly, News Editor, National Post
Dear Mr. Mackenzie, Mr. Singh, and Ms. Donnelly,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) regarding the Reuters article, “U.S., Canada, European powers oppose Israeli settlement authorization,” which was published by the National Post on February 14, 2023.
While much of the reporting in this article is appropriate, we are disappointed that it presents the legality of Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise as a matter of subjective opinion, writing that “most world powers view as illegal the settlements Israel has built on land it captured in a 1967 war with Arab powers.”
This framing obscures the fact that Israel’s status as an occupying power is a matter of a settled consensus at the international level, as confirmed by the United Nations Security Council, the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Further, these same bodies have repeatedly affirmed that Israeli settlements are a breach of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which strictly prohibits Israel as an occupying power from transferring “parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
The Reuters article continues, saying that “Israel disputes that [the settlements are illegal] and cites biblical, historical and political links to the West Bank, as well as security interests.” While Israel may make these claims, none of this overrides the fundamental international consensus which has established that Israel is an occupying power and that the settlements are illegal. Presenting these two perspectives in this way creates the appearance of a mere difference of opinion, whereas it is a matter of legal fact.
We insist that future reporting on this issue accurately identifies the illegality of Israel’s settlements as a matter of settled international law.
Thank you for making these changes, and thus improving the coverage of these important issues. 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