Letter in response to
Bureau of Accuracy/Public Editor
The Toronto Star
March 2nd, 2022
The Associated Press article published by the Toronto Star on February 23, 2022, “Palestinian boy buried after being killed by Israeli fire” (which was later updated to read “Palestinian boy buried after being killed by Israeli fire in firebombing incident) is misleading and ambiguous in some of its content.
For one, the title itself misinforms the reader from the very beginning. In the article we read that the victim, Mohammed Shehadeh, was “shot dead by Israeli troops.” By not mentioning this in the title, the article may be misunderstood and misleading. Also, many people may not read the entire article, if they read it at all; thus, including true and important information in the title is essential in avoiding ambiguity and misinformation. We suggest that the title be changed to something similar to the title of an article covering the same story by Defense for Children International – Palestine: “Israeli forces shoot, kill 13-year-old Palestinian boy near Bethlehem.” This places accountability correctly and where it is due – on the IDF.
Also, some of the content in the article is ambiguous. The article states that there are “dozens of [Israeli] settlements” in the West Bank. The term ‘dozens’ is vague; the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem estimates that there are over 200 settlements, both legal and illegal, with a population of almost 620,000 (https://www.btselem.org/topic/settlements). By using terms that are ambiguous, the article may make the problem seem less threatening or alarming than it is. We call upon the editors to change ambiguous terms and replace them with facts, statistics, and unambiguous language.
Finally, it is important to mention the language the article uses when discussing why the young boy was shot and killed. The Associated Press writes that the Israeli military “opened fire…after spotting three suspects throwing firebombs,” and that the IDF justifies the use of live fire against those throwing firebombs. The article provides only one part of the narrative that may be important; we must look at the rights and freedoms that must be offered to anybody in conflict under occupying powers. The Fourth Geneva Convention protects people “who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals” (ICRC). We call on the article to mention the human rights violations that the IDF committed, and which they are not being prosecuted or reprimanded for.
Just Peace Advocates