"Not including a Palestinian voice and focusing on Israeli victims alone helps to reinforce the perception that Palestinians are less deserving of access to basic human rights."
October 12, 2023
Dan Taylor, Managing Editor, Dear Mr. Taylor, CTV News
Dear Mr. Taylor,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) with serious concerns regarding an online news report, “As strikes devastate Gaza, Israel forms unity government to oversee war sparked by Hamas attack,” that appeared on the CTV News on October 11, 2023.
Certain unproven allegations made by the Israeli military are stated as fact in your article. For example, you quote Major General Itai Veruv as saying that “the military found evidence of Hamas militants cutting throats of bound captives, lining up children and killing them and packing 15 girls in a room before throwing a grenade.” As of yet, there is no evidence for this claim and no reputable human rights or international organizations are reporting these incidents in their data or reports. It is a basic journalistic responsibility that some level of skepticism is exercised regarding claims by military forces.
A Palestinian voice is needed to express the emotional toll that the air attacks are having on Gazans. U.S. President Biden is quoted as saying that “Saturday’s Hamas attack was the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust”. Not including a Palestinian voice and focusing on Israeli victims alone helps to reinforce the perception that Palestinians are less deserving of access to basic human rights.
It is essential that your reporting include adequate description of and context about Hamas. Readers tend to only hear about Hamas when there is a war or escalation. Your description of Hamas as simply the, “Hamas militant group,” followed later by stating it has been placed on Canada’s terrorist group list does not provide any understanding of its motives. Hamas, like all Palestinian armed groups, considers itself a resistance movement, fighting for the human rights and liberation of the Palestinian people. I challenge you to include Hamas’ underlying motivations in the description that you provide. For example, Hamas is an Islamic, Palestinian liberation organization that governs certain aspects of the Israeli-occupied Gaza, provides social services, runs media outlets. 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.
Your article would have benefited from additional information about the history and context of the Gaza Strip. For example, 2/3 of Gazans are refugees from 1948 and are still being denied the right of return. Israel has maintained a blockade and effective occupation of the Gaza Strip since 2007. During this time it has conducted six large-scale attacks on Gaza killing and injuring thousands. 80% of Gazans rely on aid to survive as the blockade strangles Gaza economically. Some mention of this underlying context would have made the Palestinians’ motivations more evident.
I expect that future articles would include better context and when needed, background information in order to better inform your readers.
Should you have any questions you are welcome to contact me at 250-469-4468.
Kelowna, British Columbia