"Not only, however, to you omit the grim language of Gallant, who in this same statement disparaged the Palestinians of Gaza as “human animals.” You irresponsibly reproduce the language of the Israeli government whose announced war crimes you are covering."
October 10, 2023
Donovan Vincent, Public Editor, Toronto Star
Josef Federman, News Director, Associated Press
Issam Adwan, Journalist, Associated Press
Dear Donovan Vincent, Josef Federman, and Issam Adwan,
I am writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, cjpme.org) to insist on correction of your October 10 article, “Under heavy bombing, Palestinians in Gaza move from place to place, only to discover nowhere is safe.”
The errors in this article are irresponsible, unprofessional, and inhumane.
You report that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, in the words of your own report, “warned Gaza civilians of the horrors to come” – horrors directed at these civilians. And you quote Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant’s threat to collectively punish these civilians by means of a “complete siege.”
Not only, however, to you omit the grim language of Gallant, who in this same statement disparaged the Palestinians of Gaza as “human animals.” You irresponsibly reproduce the language of the Israeli government whose announced war crimes you are covering.
The following paragraph of yours is especially unacceptable:
Israel says it takes pains to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas sites in Gaza, which is heavily built up and has scant open space. But Hamas militants also fire rockets and operate in civilian areas, using civilians for cover while drawing return fire to houses, offices and mosques.
That second sentence is grammatically unattributed. You are reproducing as fact unilateral Israeli assertions at the precise moment that these Israeli assertions are being used as a cover for attacks on civilians that Israeli government ministers celebrate as such.
We demand the following alternative paragraph:
Israel says it takes pains to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas sites in Gaza. But ever since Israel’s 2009 ground invasion of Gaza, codenamed Operation Cast Lead, Israeli spokespeople have regularly stated their intention to target not only Palestinian combatants but also “the civilians who are enabling them to fire and hide,” in the words of Major-General Amiram Levin (res.). Israeli government ministers including Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir are well known to advocate the collective punishment of Palestinians with lethal force.
Your readers deserve information to the above effect. As we brace for what is coming, journalists cannot in good conscience report unattributed Israeli claims as facts.
Feel free to contact me at 438-380-5410 if you would like to discuss this further.
PhD, University of Exeter
Director of Strategic Operations
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East/
Canadiens pour la Justice et la Paix au Moyen-Orient
 “Israeli general says Hamas must not be the only target in Gaza; Text of report by IDF Radio on 26 December,” December 26 2008, BBC Monitoring Middle East.