"It is highly concerning that CityNews would refer to a refugee camp in Jenin simply as a “militant hotbed” and entirely exclude the name of the city itself, let alone make clear that it is a refugee camp, or that it has faced numerous Israeli military invasions this year, not just one 'raid'".
August 18, 2023
Amber Leblanc, CityNews Ottawa
Jonathan Whitten, News Director, CityNews
Dear Ms. Leblanc and Mr. Whitten,
I'm writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express alarm about the CityNews Ottawa radio news segment (CIWW) about Palestinian police in Jenin, which aired on August 18 around 5:52 AM.
The transcript reads:
“Palestinian police are struggling to control a militant hotbed in the occupied West Bank. A major Israeli military raid last month prompted the Palestinians to turn their wrath on their own security forces. The unrest also exposed the Palestinians' seething resentment toward their semi-autonomous government and forced a reckoning for their security forces who have come to embody the tension tearing at Palestinian society.”
It is highly concerning that CityNews would refer to a refugee camp in Jenin simply as a “militant hotbed” and entirely exclude the name of the city itself, let alone make clear that it is a refugee camp, or that it has faced numerous Israeli military invasions this year, not just one “raid.” The Israeli military offensive that is being referred to led to the deaths of 12 Palestinians, including children, and laid waste to the camp’s public infrastructure.
I insist that an on-air clarification is made to clarify that this story was about the Jenin refugee camp, which was unfortunately referred to only as a “militant hotbed.”
Further, the segment itself is confusing. In the immediate aftermath of Israel’s deadly July 3-July 5 raid, some protesters in Jenin damaged Palestinian security buildings in the area. Your segment makes it sound as if there was some recent incident between Jenin residents and the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. This appears to be due to a flawed summarization of a recent Associated Press article. It would have been far more appropriate to report on the August 17 raid in Jenin in which Israeli military forces killed an alleged Palestinian militant, but also destroyed a local bakery and the man’s family home. The destruction of the family homes of Palestinians accused of violence against Israelis is a practice that the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem says amounts to collective punishment, which is illegal under international law.
Your on-air clarification should make the above clearer to listeners.
Finally, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security forces regularly cooperate with Israel’s military. As such, the PA’s forces are viewed by many Palestinians and critics as collaborating with Israel’s illegal military occupation. Your description shifts the blame away from Israel’s illegal military occupation, and the collaboration of the PA’s forces, and pins the blame on Palestinians engaged in active resistance to occupation. The claim in your segment that Palestinians turned their “wrath” (beyond portraying Palestinians in Jenin as particularly or inherently violent) against “their” security forces, assumes that PA’s security forces are intended to protect Palestinians from Israel, which is not based in fact.
I insist that future coverage avoid such one-sided descriptions of events and currents in Palestine. During an on-air clarification, you can say that attacks on the Palestinian Authority’s security infrastructure were in direct response to its cooperation with Israel’s military.
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