"Such a description misrepresents Hamas because in 2006, it won the Palestinian legislative elections and, following a power struggle with Fatah, took control of certain aspects of the Gaza Strip in 2007. The terms “controlled,” “seized control” and “took over the territory” obscure essential electoral elements of Hamas’ governance."
September 27, 2023
Josef Federman, News Director, Jerusalem, AP
Donovan Vincent, Public Editor, Toronto Star
Dear Josef Federman, and Donovan Vincent,
I am writing to express concern about your AP article, “Israel strikes militant sites in Gaza as unrest continues, no casualties” published by Toronto Star on September 26.
I was happy to see Palestinian voices included in the article. However, I want to highlight two significant issues in your article.
First, your article does not fully and fairly depict Hamas. You write: “Hamas, the Islamic militant group that has controlled Gaza since 2007 or that seized control of Gaza in 2007.” You, also, write that it “took over the territory.”
Such a description misrepresents Hamas because in 2006, it won the Palestinian legislative elections and, following a power struggle with Fatah, took control of certain aspects of the Gaza Strip in 2007. The terms “controlled,” “seized control” and “took over the territory” obscure essential electoral elements of Hamas’ governance.
To be more accurate, you should clarify that Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections and took control of certain aspects of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Second, your article presents the events as violent clashes between Israeli military forces and protesters. You write: “Palestinian protesters burn tires during clashes with Israeli security forces along the frontier with Israel, east of Gaza City, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023.”
Presenting such events as violent clashes obscures the asymmetrical nature of the violence (Israel as an occupying power and Palestinians as a population living under military occupation).
To be more accurate, it is best practice to avoid the term “clashes,” as Israeli forces fired live ammunition at protesters who were accused of lighting tires and balloons on fire. The term “clash” is highly misleading.
Further, Gaza can reasonably be referred to as “occupied” according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which gives Palestinians a right to resist according to the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 3314 and 37/43 and Protocol I to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In order to provide a full picture of the events in Gaza, you should add even minimal context about Israel’s ongoing blockade and effective occupation of Gaza.
I hope that Toronto Star and AP will add more context about Hamas and Israel’s ongoing occupation of Gaza in future reporting.
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
 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
 UNGA resolution 3314, “Definition of Aggression,” December 14, 1974.
 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.
 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.