Lack of context on the situation in Palestine prior to October 7


Andrea Baillie, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Press

Tim Cook, Assistant Managing Editor, Canadian Press

Dan Taylor, Managing Editor, CTV News

Dear Andrea Baillie, Tim Cook, and Dan Taylor,

I am writing to express concern about the Canadian Press article, “Police order B.C. woman who praised Hamas not to protest for 5 months, says her group,” published on May 2 in CTV News Vancouver.

I take foremost issue with the framing of your article. There is a lack of background information on the situation in Palestine before October 7. History did not start on October 7, yet the only piece of context you provide is that “the attack killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, setting off Israel’s offensive in Gaza that the Health Ministry there says has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians.”

It is not fair to start your time frame with October 7 as the protester’s comments are only comprehensible within a larger context. For readers to understand that context, it is essential to mention Israel’s longstanding occupation of Palestinian land. The Institute for Middle East Understanding recommends the following:

Always include the context of Israeli military occupation and apartheid, and when covering Gaza, the siege and blockade.

It’s impossible to comprehend what’s happening in Palestine/Israel without understanding that Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza live under a more than 54-year-old Israeli military occupation, Palestinians in Gaza live under a nearly 15-year long siege, and that all Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories live under an apartheid system that is designed to subjugate and dispossess them. This critical context should be included in all coverage.

On one hand, under international law, Israel is recognized as an occupying power over the Occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. It has obligations as an occupying power, such as protecting civilians, which negates its supposed right to self-defence.

Gaza has been under air, sea, and land blockage since 2007. During the past year, Israel’s military had consistently nightly raided Palestinian villages. Before October 7, 80% of Gazans relied on international aid, two-thirds lived below the poverty line and 45 % were unemployed. Before October 7, Israel attacked Gaza in four cases: in 2008-2009, in 2012, in 2014, and 2021. Members of the international community, including the UN, and human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, recognize Israel as an apartheid state.

On the other, Palestinians have a right to resist an occupying power through armed struggle under international law (Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions and General Assembly resolution A/RES/38/17 (22/11/1983)).

Please include context about Gaza before October 7 since it is misleading for your readers to think that October 7 happened in a vacuum and that Israel has no responsibility even before October 7, but especially since then.

I hope CTV News Vancouver and Canadian Press will add essential piece of context before October 7 and keep it in mind and mention it in future reporting about Gaza.


Fatima Haidar,

Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East