"Your article omits that Gaza is under effective Israeli occupation. This is a widely held position. The UN’s Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict (a.k.a. “Goldstone Report”) determined unambiguously in 2009 that Israel exerted “effective control” over the Gaza Strip, and therefore continued to be an occupying power."
December 5, 2023
Andrea Baillie, Editor-in-Chief
Tim Cook, Managing Editor
Dear Andrea Baillie and Tim Cook,
I’m writing with concerns about your December 5 article “The Gaza Strip: Tiny, cramped and as densely populated as London.” If the goal is to leave readers more educated about Gaza, I’m afraid that readers will actually end up more misled than anything.
Your article omits that Gaza is under effective Israeli occupation. This is a widely held position. The UN’s Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict (a.k.a. “Goldstone Report”) determined unambiguously in 2009 that Israel exerted “effective control” over the Gaza Strip, and therefore continued to be an occupying power:
“Israel has without doubt at all times relevant to the mandate of the Mission exercised effective control over the Gaza Strip. The Mission is of the view that the circumstances of this control establish that the Gaza Strip remains occupied by Israel. The provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention therefore apply at all relevant times with regard to the obligations of Israel towards the population of the Gaza Strip.”
Similarly, earlier in 2023, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reaffirmed its longstanding position that it:
“Considers Gaza to remain occupied territory on the basis that Israel still exercises key elements of authority over the strip, including over its borders (airspace, sea and land – at the exception of the border with Egypt). Even though Israel no longer maintains a permanent presence inside the Gaza Strip, it continues to be bound by certain obligations under the law of occupation that are commensurate with the degree to which it exercises control over it.”
The United Nations and its various bodies continue to assert that Gaza is occupied Palestinian territory.
Please update your article to make clear that Gaza is occupied Palestinian territory.
Next, you write:
“Gaza has few open spaces, especially in its cities, due to lack of planning and urban sprawl.”
It is extraordinary violation of basic journalistic principles to claim this and fail to mention Israel’s longstanding occupation and blockade. Not to mention that a significant portion of Gaza’s residents are actually refugees, displaced from other parts of historic Palestine.
Your claim is like saying that Gaza’s infrastructure has collapsed because it wasn’t built out of titanium, rather than mentioning Israel’s bombing campaign.
This is nothing short of historical revisionism. Canadian Press must update this sentence, either removing the misleading claim or adding sufficient context to balance it out.
Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
 United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict (2009), https://www.ohchr.org/en/hr-bodies/hrc/special-sessions/session9/fact-finding-mission, para 276.
 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