"However, it should be mentioned that the article’s emphasis on how uncommon it is for Israeli soldiers to be prosecuted obscures the outrage that 10 days of imprisonment is at all an adequate punishment. Human rights groups are understandably concerned by such light sentencing."
September 19, 2023
Isabel Debre, Correspondent, AP
Josef Federman, News Director, Jerusalem, AP
Rob Roberts, Editor-in-Chief, National Post
Aileen Donnelly, News Editor, National Post
Dear Isabel Debre, Josef Federman, Rob Roberts and Aileen Donnelly,
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 your September 19 article, “Israeli military sentences commander to 10 days in prison over shooting of Palestinian.”
The article reports on an army commander’s sentencing after shooting an innocent Palestinian motorist, Mazen Samarat, in the occupied West Bank. It mentions that the army commander was sentenced to 10 days in military prison. It identifies who the innocent Palestinian man is and even includes quotes from him about what occurred, which doesn’t happen often in Canadian media coverage of events relating to Palestine and Palestinians.
We appreciate the article’s significant inclusion of critics’ points of view, statistics about indictments resulting from cases of harm inflicted on Palestinians from an Israeli human rights group, as well as the shocking quote of Tally Gotliv, a lawmaker with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Your article manages to be generally well-balanced.
However, it should be mentioned that the article’s emphasis on how uncommon it is for Israeli soldiers to be prosecuted obscures the outrage that 10 days of imprisonment is at all an adequate punishment. Human rights groups are understandably concerned by such light sentencing.
We insist that you include criticism of the light sentencing in your article.
You write that “Critics also have noted that Israeli military investigations into accusations of crimes committed against Palestinians rarely lead to prosecutions in the West Bank, which Israel captured along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war.” However, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip are not “areas captured by Israel in 1967.” This usage – “captured,” as distinct from occupied – runs directly counter (1) to how international law views the military seizure of territory, (2) to how the international diplomatic community currently views Israel’s presence in the Palestinian territories, and (3) to how both words are understood in plain English. In fact, “Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip).”
As such, using captured instead of occupied removes Israel’s obligations under International Humanitarian Law and its instruments, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in all occupied territories and establishes Israel's obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. As referred to in UN Security Council Resolutions 446 and 465, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.”  Israel can, therefore, not shoot civilians in the first place and army commanders committing wrongdoing have to be persecuted.
The use of the terminology "military occupied" or simply "occupied" is the most accurate way, legally, diplomatically, and etymologically to describe Israel’s rule of these territories. We suggest rephrasing and correcting this sentence so that the information is accurate: “… in the West Bank, which Israel illegally occupies along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip since the 1967 Mideast war”
We expect that these changes will be made and taken into account in future reporting.
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
 “Canadian Policy on Key Issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, Government of Canada. Last modified 29 Jan. 2023. < https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/mena-moan/israeli-palestinian_policy-politique_israelo-palestinien.aspx?lang=eng>.