"A phrase like this one – 'Israeli soldiers have repeatedly raided the camp to kill and capture suspected militants' – places the violent enforcers of an illegal occupation on the side of 'order,' as you state explicitly in asking whether those you select to define as 'Palestinian forces,' and we quote, 'can impose order without Israeli interference.'"
August 18, 2023
Isabel Debre, Reporter, Associated Press
Josef Federman, News Director, Associated Press
Paul Samyn, Editor, Winnipeg Free Press
Dear Isabel Debre, Josef Federman, Paul Samyn,
I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, cjpme.org) to express concern about your August 18 news report, “After Israeli Raids, Palestinian Police Struggle in Militant Hotbed, Reflecting Region on the Brink.”
This is a matter of professionalism and accuracy: Despite your reference to “the occupied West Bank,” the most salient fact in this area – that of a military occupation for decades condemned as illegal by the relevant international bodies – is obscured by your reporting.
Your article suggests an opposition between those you describe as “Palestinian forces” on the one hand and “militants” on the other. And yet the “militants” are Palestinians, with at least as wide a claim to popular legitimacy among their people as the PA forces in question (locally, much more). This becomes even more skewed in discussions of Israeli action.
A phrase like this one – “Israeli soldiers have repeatedly raided the camp to kill and capture suspected militants” – places the violent enforcers of an illegal occupation on the side of “order,” as you state explicitly in asking whether those you select to define as “Palestinian forces,” and we quote, “can impose order without Israeli interference.”
The result is that the inhabitants of the Jenin refugee camp, and particularly the “militants,” as you describe them, feature as the threat to order. They are excluded by your skewed definition of “Palestinian forces” to the point that the illegal occupation forces are given greater claims to Jenin than its people. For either Israel or PA forces aligned with it to try to push their authority into the Jenin refugee camp would involve much death, disorder, and destruction, and yet you come dangerously close to describing this as “order.”
Reference to a “Hamas coup” needs rewording for nuance, with reference to the 2006 election results and to the Israeli veto on open PA elections ever since.
Professionalism also demands clear reference to the measurable popularity of those under attack in Jenin and to the invasive illegality of Israeli attacks on them.