"Your use of the word captured when referring to the West Bank is inaccurate. Israel did not “capture” the West Bank, it occupies it. The use of the word “captured” when referring to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is misleading, suggesting that Israel has a strong claim to or ownership of these territories."
August 15, 2023
Tia Goldenberg, Journalist, The Associated Press
John Daniszewski, VP and Editor at Large
Paul Samyn, Editor, The Winnipeg Free Press
Dear Ms. Goldenberg, Mr. Daniszewski, Mr. Samyn
I’m writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express concern regarding your article titled “Israeli West Bank raid kills 2 Palestinians” as published in the Winnipeg Free Press on August 15.
My first concern is your description of the 16-year-old Palestinian who was killed by Israeli forces; A 16-year-old, under Israeli or Palestinian law is a child.[i] Further, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is anyone under the age of 18.[ii] Under international law, Israel as an occupying power has a responsibility to protect children, even those participating in hostilities.[iii]
Therefore, the first sentence of your article should be changed to:
“Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinians, including a 16-year-old child.”
Second, you write that “Israel has been carrying out near nightly raids in the West Bank since last year in response to Palestinian attacks.” In actual fact, Israel has been regularly carrying out raids on Palestinian towns, villages, cities and farms regardless of whether or not any Palestinian attacks have taken place. Israel itself does not even describe their raids in the manner that AP claims.
In a March 2023 press release, the IDF claimed that “Operation Break the Wave” was conceived as a “counterterrorism operation conducted to thwart future attacks and apprehend those involved in terrorist activities against Israeli civilians.” Break the Wave is inherently offensive, not reactive, as it attempts to “thwart future attacks.” The AP’s description gives the impression that the IDF’s actions are defensive, when, in fact, the IDF itself does not even describe its own actions in that way.[iv]
Please update this statement to “Israel has been carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank since last year”, and exclude the segment “in response to a spate of Palestinian attacks”
Third, your use of the word captured when referring to the West Bank is inaccurate. Israel did not “capture” the West Bank, it occupies it. The use of the word “captured” when referring to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is misleading, suggesting that Israel has a strong claim to or ownership of these territories. In fact, international law never uses the term “captured” when referring to land appropriation and the international community has never accepted Israel’s ongoing military presence in the West Bank as being legitimate. The UN Charter specifically outlaws the acquisition of territory by force[v]. By using “capture” instead of “occupy” without any reference to international law, you effectively erase the claims and rights of the Palestinian people.
Please rectify this error and adapt all future reporting to include the correct terminology when referring to the occupied Palestinian territories.
Finally, your description of Hamas as the “militant group that rules the Gaza Strip” is not wholly accurate. Hamas is an Islamic, Palestinian liberation organization which governs certain aspects of the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip. It provides social services and runs hospitals, schools, and has a military wing as well. While Canada considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization, many countries around the world do not. Furthermore, a UN resolution condemning it as a terrorist entity failed to pass in 2018.
I insist that you update your description of Hamas so it is fairer and more balanced.
Should you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me at 438-3805410.
Director of Strategic Operations, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
[ii] “Convention on the Rights of the Child,” United Nations, November 20, 1989, https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/convention-rights-child.
[iii] “Protection of Children in International Humanitarian Law,” International Committee of the Red Cross, June 30, 1983, https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/resources/documents/article/other/57jmat.htm.
[iv] “One Year Since Operation Break the Wave,” IDF, March 31, 2023, https://www.idf.il/en/articles/2023/one-year-since-operation-break-the-wave/.
[v] “UN Charter,” Article 2.4, The United Nations. 26 Jun. 1945. Web. 27 Jul. 2016. <http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/un-charter-full-text/index.html>.