"Even if the statistics are accurate, it would be far more relevant to say that about half of those killed are civilians, including at least 13 children killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023. That would mean that approximately 1 in 5 Palestinians killed this year have been children."
March 2, 2023
Dear Mr. Vincent and those and the Associated Press,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to request two corrections to the article, “Israeli campaign raises funds for torched Palestinian town,” which was authored by the Associated Press and published by the Toronto Star on March 2, 2023.
My concerns are focused on the final paragraph, which states:
More than 60 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, about half of them militants, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Palestinian attacks against Israelis have killed 14 Israelis during that same time. It has been one of the deadliest periods between Israelis and Palestinians in years.
The claim that “about half of them are militants” is misleading or inadequate in a number of ways and must be addressed.
- Unless the Associated Press is independently verifying this data, it should clarify that many of those killed are alleged to be militants.
- Even if the statistics are accurate, it would be far more relevant to say that about half of those killed are civilians, including at least 13 children killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023. That would mean that approximately 1 in 5 Palestinians killed this year have been children.
- Even if the statistics are accurate, describing those killed as “militants” implies that they were killed in active battle and that their death is automatically justified, whereas many may have been affiliated in some way with militant groups but unarmed and killed in unrelated circumstances, including in ways that violate international law. The two Israeli investigations below substantiate this problem:
- An analysis by B’Tselem found that a significant number of killings in 2022 were “unlawful and immoral and cannot be justified”; for example, many Palestinians were killed during incidents in which Palestinian threw stones at soldiers and infrastructure, or after any danger they may have posed had already passed.
- A Haaretz investigation of reported casualties in 2022 found that “only in 45 percent of these cases [in which a Palestinian killed was alleged to be armed] was there a specific claim that the deceased had been armed, or that the lethal shot had taken place during clashes in which there was an exchange of gunfire. And in these cases, even according to the army the dead Palestinian didn’t necessarily take part in the exchange.”
I insist upon a correction to state that “More than 60 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, about half of them civilians including 13 children. The other half are alleged to be affiliated with militant groups but were not necessarily killed in active conflict.”
Further, the claim that it has been one of “deadliest periods between Israelis and Palestinians in years” is too vague and not accurate unless it is meant to refer only to the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Far greater numbers have been killed during Israel’s repeated bombing campaigns in Gaza; in the month of May 2021 alone, Israeli offensives in Gaza killed 240 Palestinians (63% of them civilians) and wounded 1,968.
I insist upon a correction to clarify that the discussion is specifically referring violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
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
 Defence for Children International Palestine, “Israeli forces kill 16-year-old Palestinian boy during military incursion into Nablus,” February 23, 2023, https://www.dci-palestine.org/israeli_forces_kill_16_year_old_palestinian_boy_during_military_incursion_into_nablus
 B’Tselem, “The Occupied Territories in 2022: largest number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the West Bank since 2004,” Haaretz, January 8, 2023, https://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20230108_the_occupied_territories_in_2022_largest_number_of_palestinians_killed_by_israel_in_the_west_bank_since_2004
 Hagar Shezaf, “2022 Saw Highest Number of Palestinians Killed in West Bank by Israeli Forces Since Second Intifada,” Haaretz, January 4, 2023 https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-01-04/ty-article-magazine/.premium/2022-saw-highest-number-of-palestinians-killed-by-israeli-forces-since-second-intifada/00000185-7cf9-d464-a197-fefb0f290000
 Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and Al-Haq, “Assault on Gaza in Numbers: A Statistical report,” January 2022, https://mezan.org/en/uploads/files/16442214671081.pdf