"While the ongoing investigation of the instances of sexual violence by Hamas on October 7th is critical, the omission of instances of sexual violence committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian women, both before and after Oct.7th, is a grave journalistic failure."
Dylan Robertson, Staff Reporter, The Canadian Press
Andrea Baillie, Editor-in-Chief, The Canadian Press
Dear Mr. Robertson,
I am writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East to express concern regarding an article titled “Amid criticism, Canada asks Israel how it can help respond to Hamas sexual violence,” published on January 17 in The Canadian Press.
While the ongoing investigation of the instances of sexual violence by Hamas on October 7th is critical, the omission of instances of sexual violence committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian women, both before and after Oct.7th, is a grave journalistic failure.
Since the release of Palestinian prisoners and detainees as part of an exchange for Israeli hostages, several prisoners have shared their testimonies, including being beaten, neglected, subjected to naked beatings, and threatened with rape during their time in Israeli prisons. There are also numerous reports of sexual violence against Palestinian women on the part of conscript soldiers and civilian employees of the IDF, including rape and obscene acts, the majority of which have not resulted in indictments.
Here are a range of references that are reporting on this:
· Out of 1,542 IDF sexual assault complaints, just 31 indictments filed, an article by the Jerusalem Post.
· On international women’s day: Palestinian women prisoners remain resilient in the face of apartheid by Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer), a Palestinian non-governmental organization.
· Beyond Male Israeli Soldiers, Palestinian Women, Rape, And War, a scientific research paper by Revital Madar.
· IDF removes gag on 2016 conviction of officer for raping Palestinian woman, an article by The Times of Israel.
· Sexual Violence as a War Weapon in Conflict Zones: Palestinian Women’s Experience Visiting Loved Ones in Prisons and Jails, a scientific research paper published in Feminist Inquiry in Social Work.
· Female prisoners threatened with sexual assault, subject to naked beatings, an article by Middle East Eye.
· Israel-Palestine war: Palestinian writer 'threatened with rape' in Israeli prison, an article by Middle East Eye.
· It would’ve been better if they shot us’: Palestinians recount prison abuse, an article by +972 Magazine.
The sexual violence committed against Palestinian women is well-documented, yet you fail to mention it in any meaningful capacity. This makes your article one-sided.
I, therefore, suggest adding a comprehensive section about Israel’s threats and documented acts of sexual assault against Palestinians in your article.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East