“The article explains why some families in Gaza no longer have homes and how the turf between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas is keeping them from being housed. It features some citations from the Zorob family, one of the affected families. Overall, the article did a fine job of outlining the situation, but the language used and context can be improved to give a more accurate description of Palestinian citizens’ treatment by Israel and Hamas.”
September 11, 2023
Issam Adwan, Journalist, Associated Press
Josef Federman, News Director, Jerusalem, Associated Press
Carson Jerema, Comments Editor, National Post
Dear Mr. Adwan, Mr. Federman and Mr. Roberts,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express our concerns regarding an article titled “Families in Gaza have waited years to move into new homes. Political infighting is keeping them out” which was published and posted online by The National Post on September 10, 2023.
The article explains why some families in Gaza no longer have homes and how the turf between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas is keeping them from being housed. It features some citations from the Zorob family, one of the affected families. Overall, the article did a fine job of outlining the situation, but the language used and context can be improved to give a more accurate description of Palestinian citizens’ treatment by Israel and Hamas.
First, although you stated that "Israeli fighter jets bombed the Zorob family’s two-story home in the Gaza Strip in 2019", you should use more active language to describe this ongoing situation. Your description of “2,000 [Palestinian] families… whose homes have been destroyed in fighting with Israel” obscures the fact that Palestinians’ homes in Gaza are almost exclusively destroyed by Israeli military attacks during times of conflict. This issue is exacerbated by the article's strict focus on the political infighting between Hamas and the PA while omitting descriptions of the actual situation in Gaza, especially in light of the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel. Israel’s role in creating these problems is largely left aside.
I insist that you make a clarification and use more active language regarding Israels’ actions towards the Palestinians. You should change the sentence to read “2,000 Palestinian families… whose homes have been destroyed by Israeli attacks on Gaza.”
Second, there is an issue with the description of Hamas and the context given. While we were glad to read AP make clear that Hamas was democratically elected in the 2006 legislative elections, there are other serious issues. Hamas does not necessarily "oppose Israel’s existence" and it is false to plainly state this claim.
Since 2004, Hamas leaders have repeatedly and consistently stated that they would accept a peace agreement based on an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders (i.e. the Green Line). However, its original 1988 Charter rejected peace negotiations with Israel, and this is frequently and misleadingly cited as evidence that Hamas is committed to Israel’s destruction. Hamas’ militant wing is the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, whose rocket attacks from Gaza are typically its most visible acts of armed resistance.
In order to correct your highly misleading description of Hamas, you should include the above context in your article.
We expect that these considerations are taken into account in future reporting: that The National Post and Associated Press will acknowledge Israeli violence against civilians, and that articles can give more accurate context and description.
Thank you for making these changes. Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East