"The article addresses the opposition by army reservists of Israel’s judicial overhaul and the threat it poses to Israeli “democracy.” The article, however, fails to mention the Palestinian people who have never been afforded such “democracy.” This results in a one-sided report."
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 provide an important critique regarding the article “Netanyahu vows crackdown on military no-shows in judicial protest,” by Dan Williams of Reuters and published in Saltwire on July 17, 2023.
The article addresses the opposition by army reservists of Israel’s judicial overhaul and the threat it poses to Israeli “democracy.” The article, however, fails to mention the Palestinian people who have never been afforded such “democracy.” This results in a one-sided report.
In a recent Reuters article by Henriette Chacar published in Saltwire on July 13, 2023, she writes:
“More than 3 million Palestinians who live in the same area [West Bank and East Jerusalem] are subjected to Israeli military rule that some rights groups say amounts to apartheid.”
Given that less than a week ago Reuters referenced the growing consensus among human rights groups that Israel’s military occupation amounts to apartheid, I believe it is important and necessary that Reteurs include that context in any discussion of Israel’s so-called democracy.
Israeli society is made up of approximately 21% Palestinians. While this small minority holds Israeli citizenship and has certain voting rights, they are subject to dozens of discriminatory laws that prevent them from receiving equal employment, healthcare, education, housing, and other benefits. The remaining Palestinians who live in the occupied territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are subjected to a military occupation and apartheid policies. This is poignantly evident in the forced expulsion, military raids, movement restrictions, and economic strangulation – few of the many injustices they endure.
Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories are subjected to discriminatory policies that disadvantage them for Jewish-Israelis. This political structure has been defined as “apartheid” by international organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, leading Israeli NGOs including B’Tselem, and Palestinian civil society. Considering that UN Special Rapporteur to the Palestinian Occupied Territories, Francesca Albanese described in her presentation to the UN Humans Rights Council that the “international community recognizes the illegality of Israel’s occupation naturally leading to apartheid” – your report should reflect this consensus.
As such, the idea that Israel is a democracy is a highly contested claim. Any discussion regarding the “democratic” character of Israel must acknowledge the lack of democracy for the Palestinian people who live under Israeli military occupation and apartheid or are treated as “second-class citizens” within Israel.
I insist that you update your article to include a counterclaim about Israel “democracy” that reads:
“International human rights groups and UN experts have stated that Israel’s military occupation and policies are a violation of international law and amount to apartheid.”
I ask that such a counterclaim be included in any future articles about the Israel judicial reforms and “democracy.” A failure to provide a counterclaim undermines the standard of your reporting and presents an unbalanced report.
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