Article conflates death toll and displacement numbers of Palestinians and Israelis

"With respect, to conflate the death tolls and displacement numbers of Palestinians and Israelis is not only inaccurate, it is offensive."


Joshua Frey-Sam, Winnipeg Free Press

Paul Samyn, Winnipeg Free Press

Dear Joshua Frey-Sam and Paul Samyn,

I’m writing to express concern about a recent article, “Escaping the Gaza chaos,” published on January 21, 2024.

The headline is misleading. None of the subjects featured are escaping Gaza. They are escaping the city of Metula in Israel, which is one of the furthest points in Israel away from Gaza. The “chaos” they are escaping is fundamentally different from what Palestinians in Gaza are trying to escape. Many residents of Metula have left, some voluntarily, while some were asked to leave by the Israeli military if they were within 2km of the border due to border conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. 3 Israelis (one civilian and two soldiers) in Metula have suffered minor injuries since October 7.  Meanwhile, recent reports show that 62,681 have been wounded in Gaza, and over 25,000 have been killed (mostly women and children). About 1.9 million Gazans have been forcibly displaced, while only a portion of Metula’s roughly 2,000 residents were asked to leave. Despite this dramatic difference, your article conflates Metula’s Israeli residents and Palestinians in Gaza as if to suggest their suffering is symmetrical:

Israel and the Hamas-led Palestinian military have battled since a Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7. The war has reportedly claimed more than 25,000 lives, while thousands, including every player on Maccabi Metula, have been displaced from their home.

Please edit your article to distinguish between Palestinian and Israeli casualties and displacement figures.

Your article also repeatedly describes Israel as “war-torn.” This is an editorializing exaggeration and should not be used in a news article. While Israel faced 1,200 deaths in its territory on October 7, it removed Hamas from its territory within a couple of days. While Gaza has been described as a genocide, Israel has faced relatively little harm since October 7. To describe it as war-torn misrepresents the reality.

Please clarify that Gaza is war-torn and Israel cannot be fairly described in the same terms.

With respect, to conflate the death tolls and displacement numbers of Palestinians and Israelis is not only inaccurate, it is offensive. Perhaps these mistakes were made out of ignorance, as Israel-Palestine does not appear to be central to Mr. Frey-Sam’s reporting, but they nonetheless require prompt correction and an editor’s note.


Jason Toney

Director of Media Advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East