"Canada and much of the international community indeed see Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. Still, it is incomplete to not add that they are illegal under international law. Such a statement undermines their illegality and makes it seem like the illegality of the settlements is not founded and only 'an opinion/impression'."
January 18, 2024
Darren Major, Senior Writer, CBC
Raffy Boudjikanian, Senior Reporter, CBC
Brodie Fenlon, General Manager & Editor in Chief, CBC
Nancy Waugh, Sr. Manager, CBC
Dear Darren Major, Raffy Boudjikanian, Brodie Fenlon, and Nancy Waugh,
I am writing to express my concern about the article: “MPs visiting the West Bank raise concerns about settler violence targeting Palestinians,”published on January 17 on CBC.
There are several issues in your article that need to be corrected.
First, you write: “Canada, along with much of the international community, sees Israeli settlements in the West Bank, built on land captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as illegal and inflammatory.”
Canada and much of the international community indeed see Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. Still, it is incomplete to not add that they are illegal under international law. Such a statement undermines their illegality and makes it seem like the illegality of the settlements is not founded and only “an opinion/impression.”
Also, it is incorrect to state that Israel “captured” the West Bank. Israel is recognized as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. To be consistent with your statement, it should also be noted that Canada doesn’t recognize Israel’s presence in the Palestinian territories as a “capture.” Therefore, it is more accurate to state that Israel is occupying the West Bank.
I, therefore, ask you to add that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and to change the word “captured” to “occupied” to be more accurate.
Third, you write: “Since then, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).”
Although you refer to OCHA, such a statement tends to undermine Israel’s actions and Palestinians' casualties by being vague with words like “hundreds of Palestinians.” It would be more humanizing to give the exact numbers. According to OCHA, since October 7 and as of January 17, 2024, 355 Palestinians have been killed, including 90 children, across the West Bank.
I, therefore, ask you to change the word “hundreds” to the exact numbers.
Fourth, in the same idea as my third point, you write: “Since the Oct. 7 attack – in which 1,200 Israelis were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage – the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza has estimated some 24 000 Palestinians have died as a result of Israel’s military actions.”
You use the word “killed” for Israelis and “have died” for Palestinians, which undermines Israel’s bombardment campaign. Also, you don’t give the exact number of Palestinian casualties by writing that “some 24,000 Palestinians have died.” This is, again, dehumanizing language. According to OCHA, since October 7 and as of January 17, 2024, at least 24 448 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza.
I, therefore, ask you to change the word “have died” to “were killed” and to give the exact numbers when writing about Palestinian casualties to be more accurate, fair, and balanced.
Fifth, you write: “In November, two Liberal and three Conservative MPs travelled to Israel to meet with survivors of Hamas’s deadly attack and family members of those killed.”
You wrote an article in November about this trip. In this article, you mention Jerusalem. To further my point, Marco Mendicino, a Liberal MP on the trip, tweeted a picture of him in front of the Old City in East Jerusalem. Writing Israel now is inaccurate and furthers Israel’s illegal claim to the Occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem has been recognized as an occupied Palestinian territory since 1967.
To respect your journalistic obligations of accuracy and balance, I suggest changing Israel to East Jerusalem.
I hope CBC will make these changes and not be one-sided when reporting on Palestine-Israel.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East