"When describing the 'near-nightly arrest raids,' it should be noted that these are often deadly and violent military invasions. This year, at least 29 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during these raids, including five children. These raids often involve excessive use of force, including the use of live ammunition, which violates international law and can result in unnecessary loss of life. The article only briefly mentions that 'youths protesting the incursions... have also been killed.' It is important to acknowledge and be specific that the violence committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians includes numerous children."
February 16, 2023
Bureau of Accuracy/Public Editor, Toronto Star
To Whom It May Concern,
I’m writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) regarding issues with your recent article entitled “Israel demolishes West Bank home of Palestinian attacker” published on February 16, 2023. I would ask that you make a number of corrections, and improve your coverage of such incidents moving forward.
Firstly, we would like to point out a problem with the title of the article. It should read "Israel demolishes West Bank home of family of dead Palestinian," as it is the family of Muhammed Kamel al-Jabari, not the deceased individual, who are having their home destroyed. The title is misleading and should be changed to reflect the reality, which is also noted in the article when it describes this policy representing "collective punishments against the families of assailants."
Secondly, when describing the "near-nightly arrest raids," it should be noted that these are often deadly and violent military invasions. This year, at least 29 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during these raids, including five children.[i][ii] These raids often involve excessive use of force, including the use of live ammunition, which violates international law and can result in unnecessary loss of life. The article only briefly mentions that "youths protesting the incursions... have also been killed." It is important to acknowledge and be specific that the violence committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians includes numerous children. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, every human being under 18 years old is considered a child.[iii]
Thus, we urge you to change the clause from “Israel has been conducting near-nightly arrest raids in the West Bank…” to “Israel has been conducting near-nightly, often deadly and violent arrest raids…”
Furthermore, we believe that the article is biased in its language and framing of events. It does not make enough effort to provide a fair representation of the Palestinian perspective. The article twice references the number of Palestinians who have been killed, but fails to mention the source of the violence. Conversely, it states that "some 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis." We urge you to give equal attention and attribution to the violence committed against Palestinians as you do to Israeli victims.
In a similar vein, it is written that the Israeli raids “were prompted by a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis last spring.” This sentiment stems from Israeli military sources, but is a view not widely held by the international community or many Palestinians civil-society groups themselves. It is unfair and unethical by widely shared journalistic standards to provide such 1-sided framing of events.
Finally, the article states that "Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war." We believe that it is important to note that according to international law, these territories are occupied by Israel, rather than simply "captured." The distinction between occupation and capture is significant under international law, and has implications for the rights of the Palestinian people and the obligations of the Israeli government.
We insist that you change this sentence of your article to more accurately say: "Following the 1967 Mideast war, Israel began its military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.”
I ask that you please immediately make these corrections and address our general concerns in future reporting. Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-530-6567.
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
[i] Al Jazeera. (2023, January 26). Israel Army kills 10 Palestinians, including elderly woman. Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/1/26/israeli-raid-kills-three-palestinians-in-jenin-fighting#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20Palestinians%20killed,2022%2C%20many%20of%20them%20civilians.
[ii] Isseid, I., & Goldenberg, T. (2023, February 7). Israeli forces kill five gunmen during raid on Refugee Camp in occupied West Bank. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-israeli-forces-kill-five-gunmen-during-raid-on-refugee-camp-in/
[iii] “Frequently asked questions on the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” UNICEF, accessed Feb. 15, 2023 at https://www.unicef.org/child-rights-convention/frequently-asked-questions