"The way that your article is written, particularly paragraph # 2, gives the impression that the Israeli military was acting in self-defense against a group of violent Palestinians. This unfortunate bias, which is all too common, paints the Palestinians as being the violent aggressors."
August 22, 2023
Steve Bartlett, Senior Managing Editor, Saltwire
Ali Sawafta, Journalist, Reuters
Maayan Lubell, Journalist, Reuters
Edmund Klamann, Journalist, Reuters
Ed Osmond, Chief sub-editor, Reuters
Bernadette Baum, Global Newsroom Editor, Reuters
Dear Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Sawafta, Ms. Lubell, Mr. Klamann, Mr. Osmond, Ms. Baum,
I’m writing to you 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 forces kill Palestinian militant in West Bank clash,” which was posted online on August 22, 2023.
First, your headline mentions the word “militant” when describing the 17-year-old killed by the Israeli military. This should be changed to reflect the young age of the person killed. As such, I would ask that you update your headline in the interest of accuracy to:
Israeli forces kill 17-year-old Palestinian in West Bank clash.
Second, the way that your article is written, particularly paragraph # 2, gives the impression that the Israeli military was acting in self-defense against a group of violent Palestinians. This unfortunate bias, which is all too common, paints the Palestinians as being the violent aggressors. The paragraph reads, “The Israeli military said that suspects threw explosives at soldiers in the confrontations and that the troops responded with live fire.”
Framing the Israeli military as having only used live fire as a response, while sidelining the fact that this was, in the first place, an Israeli military incursion that was met with resistance by the Palestinians is highly misleading. Please bear in mind that the West Bank is occupied, and that Palestinians have the right to defend themselves, enshrined in international law, against the belligerent and deadly Israeli military raids and attacks. It is your responsibility as a journalist to present your audience with a story that is framed according to the facts and realities of the situation. Israel is the occupier, the Israeli military conducts regular raids, yet the Palestinians are painted as being the aggressor while the Israeli military only used live fire in response. I demand that this paragraph be changed to the following:
The Israeli military raid was met with resistance by Palestinian youth who threw stones and improvised explosives only to be met with Israeli live fire resulting in the death of a 17-year-old.
Finally, your use of the word “captured” when describing Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, “Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war” is also problematic; the term “capture” never applies to land appropriation under international law. The UN Charter specifically outlaws the acquisition of territory by force.[i] As such, according to numerous legal interpretations, there is no concept of legal “capture” of sovereign territory. There are a variety of other reasons why journalists should refrain from using this terminology, some of which go beyond well-established international law. You can read more reasons here.
Thank you for making these changes. Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Director of Strategic Operations
[i] “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>.