The Hill Times publishes CJPME letter rebutting false claims made about Israel's attack on Jenin

On July 26, 2023, The Hill Times published a letter to the editor from CJPME rebutting the false claims made in a previous July 19 letter by Larry Shapiro, a subscriber to the pro-Israel group Honest Reporting Canada. Despite their bragging, the letter was riddled with problems. Here is the CJPME letter which the Hill Times agreed to publish in order to set the public record straight:

Re: “Dyer wrong about Israel’s ‘malice,’ and should look inward, says Calgary reader,” (The Hill Times, July 19, p. 8).

I’m writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East to note that a July 19 Letter to the Editor contained notable factual errors.

Firstly, Larry Shapiro writes, “Israel’s military operation in Jenin resulted in not a single civilian casualty.”

This is factually wrong in two ways:

a) A casualty is a person killed or injured in a war or accident. This definition is used in both common language and in legal contexts. During Israel’s two-day invasion of the Jenin refugee camp, the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner reported “Israeli forces killed at least 12 Palestinians … and injured more than 100 Palestinians.” The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 117 injuries. By all accounts, this was a mass civilian casualty event, as no one would argue that all 117 Palestinians injured were militants. Any ordinary reading of Shapiro’s comments is at odds with reality.

b) Reporting by The TimesBBC, and Defense for Children International-Palestinedetermined that at least one of the four Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces during the attack was unarmed. CCTV footage shows unarmed 16-year-old Abdulrahman Hasan Ahmad Hardan standing in front of a hospital when he was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper. 

Secondly, Shapiro also claims that Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was the target of Israel’s invasion of Jenin and that PIJ is a “universally designated terrorist group.”

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is an Islamist paramilitary organization committed to Palestinian national liberation. It has been designated as a “terrorist group” by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel. This is by no means a “universal” designation. The United Nations, for instance, has never designated Palestinian Islamic Jihad a terrorist group. However, the Islamic Jihad Group (IJU), which was a breakaway of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, was listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations. Perhaps Shapiro has mixed up the two groups, but his claim is not stated as a matter of opinion, but stated as a matter of fact.

Jason Toney
Director of media advocacy, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Montreal, Que.

Click here to read the letter on The Hill Times website.