"There is a serious issue with how the violence associated with Israel’s raid in Nablus has been presented , and particularly the inaccurate language of “triggering a gunfight where gunmen and civilians were killed . ” This terminology of a “gunfight” obscures the power dynamics at play, creating the appearance of a fight between armed parties in which both sides are equal"
February 23, 2023
Saša Petricic, Asia Correspondent, CBC News
Dear Mr. Petricic,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) with feedback regarding your segment on Israel’s raid of Nablus, which aired on February 22, 2023 and is available online.
Overall, the segment provides relevant context and information to help viewers make sense of this horrific incident. For example, it correctly identifies the West Bank as occupied, highlights testimony from the family members of Palestinian civilians who were injured, and identifies the sourcing of the IDF footage used. Nonetheless, there are two significant issues that I need to address, including one issue that requires a correction.
First, there is the problematic framing of a “cycle” of violence between Israel and Palestinians, in which Palestinian attacks on Israelis lead to Israeli raids in Palestine. “More attacks, more raids.” There is an element of truth to this framing, as the actions of either party has consequences, often triggering a response. However, it is deeply inadequate for two reasons:
- Such framing obscures the overall asymmetrical nature of the violence, in which Israel as an occupying power maintains a system of oppression which is associated with egregious violence against Palestinians on a daily basis. In response, Palestinian attacks on Israeli arising from this situation of oppression are far rarer. This is reflected in the gross asymmetry in the numbers of casualties each year.
- In this specific case, the Palestinian attacks on Israelis mentioned in the segment are widely understood as responses to Israel’s deadly January 26 raid on Jenin, which killed at least 10 people, including two children. It is for this reason that UN human rights experts condemned Israel’s raid on Jenin as “a dangerous trajectory of violence.” It is this raid which is most responsible for triggering recent attacks on Israelis, but your segment has the sequence of events backwards.
Second, there is a serious issue with how the violence associated with Israel’s raid in Nablus has been presented, and particularly the inaccurate language of “triggering a gunfight where gunmen and civilians were killed.” This terminology of a “gunfight” obscures the power dynamics at play, creating the appearance of a fight between armed parties in which both sides are equal. In fact, this event involved Israeli military forces invading and attacking a Palestinian city under occupation; first surrounding and bombing a residential home, and then opening live fire indiscriminately in a crowded central market in broad daylight. In response, Palestinians resisted the invasion, largely with stones and debris, as can be seen in the footage used in the segment.
“Gunfight” cannot accurately describe an encounter between Palestinian protestors with rocks and Israeli snipers in a military vehicle. Such a description is misleading and factually incorrect. Instead, it should correctly be identified as an Israeli attack; or, at a minimum, a “confrontation.”
We insist that you issue a correction for referring to this incident as a “gunfight,” and clarify that the incident in which Palestinians were killed was a “confrontation” between mostly unarmed Palestinians and Israeli military forces.
Thank you in advance for making this correction, and for taking these concerns into account in your future reporting. 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
Adrienne Arsenault, Host, CBC’s The National
Nicole Brewster, Senior Producer, CBC’s The National
 UN Human Rights Office, “Israel/Palestine: UN experts condemn renewed violence and Israeli killings of Palestinians in occupied West Bank,” January 27, 2023, https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/01/israelpalestine-un-experts-condemn-renewed-violence-and-israeli-killings