"You refer to Islamic Jihad simply as 'Iran-backed' without providing any further context. By using such a reductive qualifier, readers are left with a limited, if not one-sided, picture."
August 17, 2023
Raneen Sawafta, Journalist, Reuters
Brian Moss, Editor, Reuters
Steve Bartlett, Managing Editor, Saltwire
Dear Raneen Sawafta, Mr. Moss, and Mr. Bartlett,
I'm writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express concern about the Reuters article “Israeli forces kill Palestinian gunman in West Bank raid” published by Saltwire on August 17.
You refer to Islamic Jihad simply as “Iran-backed” without providing any further context. By using such a reductive qualifier, readers are left with a limited, if not one-sided, picture. Below is a well-sourced description of Islamic Jihad that would be appropriate for your article. All sources are listed here. Feel free to use any of the following as an update to your article or for future coverage:
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is a Palestinian Islamist group that seeks the liberation of historic Palestine through armed struggle.
The PIJ was formed in 1981 as an Islamist paramilitary organization which rejected the growing secularism and moderation of other Palestinian factions. The PIJ was one of the first Palestinian groups to carry out terror attacks against Israel through the use of suicide bombers in the 1990s. The PIJ seeks the creation of a sovereign, Islamic Palestinian state along the pre-1948 borders. The PIJ is opposed to negotiations with Israel, and maintains a focus on military confrontation with Israel rather than on politics. PIJ has strong support in Gaza and certain parts of the West Bank – especially Jenin and Hebron – while also maintaining strong ties to Iran via its leadership in Lebanon and Syria. Its militant wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, continues to make its presence felt through rocket and other armed attacks against Israel.
“Israeli forces blew up a house belonging to the dead man's family and damaged a bakery on the ground floor, witnesses said.”
While it is useful to include eyewitness accounts, something that is too often left out of coverage of these events, I am disappointed that the destruction of the Palestinian home was not placed in a broader context. The demolition of Palestinian family homes is part of an Israeli military practice that many human rights groups (including B’Tselem) argue is a form of collective punishment.
The demolition of Palestinian family homes is a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as many other international laws.
I urge you to include any of the above context. Here is suggested text:
“Israeli forces blew up a house belonging to the dead man's family and damaged a bakery on the ground floor, witnesses said. The destruction of the family homes of Palestinians suspected of violence against Israelis is part of a practice by the Israeli military that critics say amounts to collective punishment, which is illegal under international law.”
I want to thank you for writing that “Israel occupied the West Bank, which Palestinians want as the core of a future independent state, in the 1967 Middle East war.” Reuters reporting has historically said that Israel "captured" the West Bank, which is misleading and incorrect by the standards of international law. This is an important update to the language Reuters uses to describe Israel's ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory.
You’re welcome to contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information or additional comment.
Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East