"Failing to provide an authoritative Palestinian perspective or source results in a whitewash of the Israeli military’s policy and actions in Jenin. Residents of the Jenin refugee camp would disagree in describing the invasion as “targeted” as many described their homes being turned into military posts and barracks, and the theft and the destruction of their personal possessions."
July 14, 2023
Bassem Mroue, Journalist, Associated Press
Abby Sewell, News Director, Associated Press
Paul Berton, Editor-in-Chief, Hamilton Spectator
Jennifer Moore, Editorial Assistant, Hamilton Spectator
Dear Mr. Mroue, Ms. Sewell, Mr. Berton, and Ms. Moore,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express concern regarding the article titled “Moves at a small border village hike Israel-Hezbollah tensions at a time of regional jitters,” by Bassem Mroue of the Associated Press and published by the Hamilton Spectator on July 14, 2023. The article addresses the escalation of tension between Israel and Hezbollah regarding Al-Ghajar, a small village between the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and Lebanon.
I take issue with the overall framing of the article, which is one-sided and relies on the Israeli military narrative.
In the article, you write:
“The dispute over a small village in the green hills where Lebanon, Israel and Syria meet brings a new point of worry amid broader unrest. The West Bank has seen increased bloodshed the past week, with a major two-day offensive that Israel says targeted Palestinian militants.”
While I find that your statement regarding Israel’s invasion of the Jenin refugee camp unrelated to the article in general, I do however find that it relies on the official Israeli military narrative and thus lacks important context. The military raid on the Jenin refugee camp resulted in the death of at least 12 Palestinians (including four children) and wounded at least 120 Palestinians. Over 3,000 Palestinian residents were forced to flee their homes and returned to find the camp’s infrastructure destroyed – evidenced by the bulldozed roads, homes, hospitals, mosques and water and electricity networks.
Failing to provide an authoritative Palestinian perspective or source results in a whitewash of the Israeli military’s policy and actions in Jenin. Residents of the Jenin refugee camp would disagree in describing the invasion as “targeted” as many described their homes being turned into military posts and barracks, and the theft and the destruction of their personal possessions.
As such, I insist that you update this article to include an authoritative Palestinian perspective to counterbalance the Israeli military narrative which claims that the invasion of Jenin was a “targeted operation.” Otherwise, I suggest that you update the sentence to read:
“The West Bank has seen increased bloodshed the past week, with a major two-day offensive by the Israeli military.”
Second, in the article, you write:
“The village’s division is an unusual byproduct of the decades of conflict between Israel and its neighbors.”
This is highly inaccurate and misleading. In 2000, UN surveyors split the village of Al-Ghajar between Lebanon and the Israel-occupied Golan Heights. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) called for Israel’s withdrawal from the Lebanese part of the Al-Ghajar village following the Israel-Hezbollah war. More importantly, Al-Ghajar village is part of the Syrian Golan Heights – a territory occupied by Israel during the Six Day War and illegally annexed in 1981. The UNSC Resolution 497 (1981) asserts that “The Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.”
The village’s division is a direct result of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights rather than “decades of conflict” which insinuates an equal-sided conflict rather than Israel’s unilateral act of aggression.
As such, I insist that you update the sentence to read:
“The village’s division is a by-product of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights and its involvement in cross-border conflict with Lebanon.”
I look forward to seeing the changes made and expect that such one-sided coverage is not repeated in future articles about Israel and the Middle East.
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