HRC Prompts Regina Leader Post Correction About ICJ Ruling On Israeli Operations In Gaza And Unverified Palestinian Casualty Statistics

On June 18, the Regina Leader Post published a front-page article that contained several egregious errors about the conflict between Hamas and Israel.

The article by reporter Larissa Kurz was entitled: “Sask. elected officials sign open letter to feds calling for arms embargo with Israel”.

In her report which documented how 19 elected officials in Saskatchewan signed an open letter calling for the Canadian government to back demands for a two-way arms embargo with Israel, reporter Kurz stated the following that we took great issue with:

“The letter cites a recent ruling from the International Court of Justice that Israel has violated the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the UN Security Council’s unanswered call demanding Israel cease operations in the West Bank, and advice from the UN Human Rights Council that provision of arms to Israel may violate international humanitarian law.”

Firstly, the ICJ did not find that Israel committed genocide, it only called on Israel to ensure that it take all efforts to prevent genocide, which it is doing. Secondly, the UN Security Council only called for a ceasefire, it did not demand a cessation of hostilities in the “West Bank”. And most importantly, the signed letter from these Saskatchewan elected officials did not make these claims.

Lastly, we took issue with the concluding paragraph to this article which failed to mention that 1,200 Israelis were savagely murdered, burned alive, raped, dismembered, decapitated, mutilated, etc. and how 250 were taken hostage by Hamas on October 7. The article merely concluded with this paragraph:

“The war began in October with an attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel, and has since escalated into a significant military response from both sides. It has resulted in the death of potentially more than 37,000 people.”

It was not just an “attack,” it was the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and was an attempted genocide. The article focused exclusively on the alleged Palestinian death toll (alleged, as these numbers originate from the Hamas-run “Gaza Health Ministry”). These numbers cannot be substantiated and they do not differentiate between civilian and combatant casualties. Israel says that it killed 15,000 terrorists and it also notes that errant and intentional Palestinian fire has killed scores of Palestinians, but the Leader Post’s article presented these unverified Palestinian casualty statistics as if they are indisputable facts.

Accordingly, HonestReporting Canada contacted senior editors at the Regina Leader Post calling for corrective action to be undertaken to set the record straight.

We are pleased to note that the Postmedia publication upheld our concerns and published the following clarification notice appended to its article:

“Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly summarized a ruling from the ICJ on Israel’s military operations in Gaza, and has been corrected. Further context related to casualty figures has also been added. The Leader-Post regrets this error.”

The article was also amended and now states the following:

“The letter cites a recent ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the United Nations Security Council’s call that Israel halt military operations on Rafah, and advice from the UN Human Rights Council to member countries that provision of arms to Israel may violate international humanitarian law.”

“The war began in October with an attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel, and has since escalated into a significant military response from both sides. The ongoing conflict has led to the death of potentially more than 37,000 people, according to news reports, although the death toll is heavily disputed.”

HRC appreciates the Leader Post’s cooperation and the corrective action that was undertaken, however, this publication’s failure to acknowledge that 1,200 Israelis were murdered on October 7 and 250 were taken hostage, is highly objectionable.

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