A front-page December 26 Ottawa Citizen article reported on the accidental and tragic killing of a Canadian soldier by Israeli forces during the 2006 Second Lebanon War with Hezbollah.
The Citizen’s report failed to provide proper context to the war and the incident in question. Specifically, the article failed to account for the fact that Hezbollah, the banned Lebanese terrorist group, had instigated the conflict and had used a UN base and its occupants as human shields. (The article was also published in the Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Windsor Star, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Edmonton Journal, and Vancouver Province.)
The feature-length and prominently placed article rested on unconfirmed claims that the Department of National Defense (DND) had “quietly” removed a report into the incident from its website as a result of the “Conservative government’s reluctance to criticize Israel for any wrongdoing.” We countered these unsubstantiated allegations, specifically as DND acknowledged it made a simple “error,” and was not the recipient of undue pressure by Prime Minister Harper whom this report carried claims was trying to shield Israel from criticism.
Our response published on December 29 in the Citizen (see below) and in the Montreal Gazette and Calgary Herald, set the record straight on this matter while noting that Hezbollah continues to pose a clear and present danger to Israel, the region, and the world.