"As such, I strongly urge Reuters to be far more critical of the Israeli government and military sources when reporting on developments in Israel-Palestine. The quotes by Gallant and Herzi-Halevi are highly contradictory to statements made by other Israeli officials, most notably Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is a staunch supporter for the expulsion, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes."
June 29, 2023
Dan Williams, Journalist, Reuters
Brian Moss, Trust Principles, Reuters
Steve Barlett, Senior Managing Editor, Saltwire
Bradley Works, Managing Editor, Saltwire
Dear Mr. Williams, Mr. Moss, Mr. Barlett, and Mr. Works,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express my concerns regarding the article “Israel on the defensive amid US censure at settler rampages,” by Dan Williams of Reuters and published by Saltwire on June 29, 2023.
I previously wrote a letter to Reuters regarding their one-sided article “Israeli, Palestinian ministers discuss West Bank violence in rare contact” published by Saltwire on June 27, 2023. Today’s article shows no substantial improvement and fails again to provide sufficient and authoritative Palestinian sources and perspectives, favoring once again, an Israeli narrative.
While the article cites Palestinian “witnesses” and “officials” it does not provide specific quotes or statements from these individuals. Rather, the article relies heavily on statements from representatives in the Israeli military and government such as Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and military chief Lieutenant-General Herzi Halevi. The article fails to quote authoritative Palestinian voices or sources such as the Palestinian news agency Wafa, the Palestine Red Crescent Society, the Palestinian Health Ministry, Defense for Children International - Palestine and others who directly report on violence committed by the Israeli military and Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In fact, Israeli journalists and NGO’s such as B’Tselem and Yesh Din have documented that the Israeli military is complicit in attacks by Jewish-Israeli settlers on Palestinian civilians and homes. According to B’Tselem, “The state fully supports and assists these acts of violence, and its agents sometimes participate in them directly. As such, settler violence is a form of government policy, aided and abetted by official state authorities with their active participation.” It has also been well documented that Israel fails to prosecute Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers for the violent offences committed against Palestinian civilians.
As such, I strongly urge Reuters to be far more critical of the Israeli government and military sources when reporting on developments in Israel-Palestine. The quotes by Gallant and Herzi-Halevi are highly contradictory to statements made by other Israeli officials, most notably Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is a staunch supporter for the expulsion, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes. This is evident in his statement last Friday but more recently this week when he called the young settlers involved in the rampage of Turmusayya, “sweet boys.”
Your reliance on the official Israeli narrative results in a whitewash of the actual military and government policy. The failure to provide a balanced article obscures the reality and dynamic between the Israeli military, Jewish settlers and Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank.
It is imperative that Reuters update this article to include authoritative Palestinian sources – of which I have mentioned – that can provide an important perspective on the escalating Israeli violence in the occupied West Bank. I strongly urge that Reuters be more critical of their sources and take action to ensure more balanced coverage regarding events in Israel-Palestine.
Second, in your article you write:
“A spiral of vandalism and arson was sparked by a Hamas gun ambush last week near a settlement that killed four Israelis.”
This is misleading and inaccurate considering that prior to the killing of four Israeli settlers, the Israeli military had raided the Jenin refugee camp, which resulted in the death of 7 Palestinians including two children Youssef Saqr and Sadil Ghassan Turkman. Moreover, over 91 Palestinian civilians, including 23 in critical condition were wounded by Israeli fire, stun grenades, and tear gas.
This information is absent from your article and although the article does not need to be a comprehensive account of all recent developments in Israel-Palestine, it is important to mention it, albeit briefly. By omitting such context, you mislead readers to think that settler attacks are spontaneous rather than a frequent occurrence. More importantly, such language rationalizes violence against Palestinians when in fact, the killing of the four Israeli settlers was a direct response to the brutality of the Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp.
I insist that you update your statement to read:
“Settler attacks against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank was sparked by the killing of four Israeli settlers, a direct response to the military raid on the Jenin refugee camp.”
I hope that Reuters takes immediate action to improve this article and ensure balanced coverage on all future news articles about events ongoing in occupied Palestine. By omitting Palestinian voices and such important context, you fail in your journalistic mandate to ensure balanced coverage on all future news articles about events in Israel-Palestine. Canadian audiences should be exposed to accurate, and balanced coverage.
Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East