"Your segment fails to clarify that the West Bank is “occupied.” It has become a near-universal journalistic standard that the West Bank be qualified as “occupied” in reporting, as its exclusion obscures important power dynamics at play."
September 20, 2023
Amber Leblanc, CityNews Ottawa
Jonathan Whitten, News Director, CityNews
Norman Hall, Editor, AP
Dear Amber Leblanc, Jonathan Whitten and Norman Hall,
I'm writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express our concerns about a City News 660 (CFFR) radio segment, which aired on September 20, 2023 at around 4:55 AM.
We hope that the following information will prompt a much-needed on-air clarification, as your segment is not in accords with certain journalistic principles.
The City News 660 (CFFR) radio news segment transcript reads:
“An Israeli military raid has killed 3 people in the West Bank. Israeli troops raided the Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank late Tuesday, killing 3 people and wounding some 30 others. That's according to Palestinian health officials. A 4th Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire in separate unrest in the Gaza Strip. The bloodshed in Jenin was the latest in a deadly wave of fighting in the West Bank, where the Israeli military has stepped up its activities over the past year and a half. The Israeli army gave few details about the operation in the camp, a stronghold of Palestinian militants where the army often carries out deadly raids.”
Your segment fails to clarify that the West Bank is “occupied.” It has become a near-universal journalistic standard that the West Bank be qualified as “occupied” in reporting, as its exclusion obscures important power dynamics at play (Israel as an occupying military power and Palestinians as a population living under military occupation).
The use of the terminology "military occupied" or simply "occupied" should be added when talking about the West Bank. Gaza can reasonably be referred to as “occupied” according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).[i]
Second, since Gaza and the West Bank are occupied by Israel, Palestinians have a right to resist Israel’s military occupation according to the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 3314 and 37/43 and Protocol I to the Fourth Geneva Convention.[ii][iii][iv] Therefore, it does not make sense to describe Jenin as a stronghold of Palestinian militants. It is best practice to refer to Palestinians actively engaged in resistance to offensive Israeli military raids as “resistance fighters.”
Third, we encourage you to specify and identify who was killed or injured in this Israeli military offensive. Using the word people instead of Palestinians obscures who faced casualties. Those killed in these attacks were Palestinians, not Israelis. We suggest clarifying that the people killed or injured were Palestinians.
I insist that an on-air clarification is made to clarify how these events were reported.
You’re welcome to contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information or additional comment.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
[i] International Committee of the Red Cross, “What does the law say about the responsibilities of the Occupying Power in the occupied Palestinian territory?,” March 28, 2023, https://www.icrc.org/en/document/ihl-occupying-power-responsibilities-occupied-palestinian-territories
[ii] UNGA resolution 3314, “Definition of Aggression,” December 14, 1974.
[iii] UNGA resolution 37/43, “Importance of the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination and of the speedy granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights,” December 3, 1982.
[iv] Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), June 8, 1977.