CBC News Article Covering Deaths of Palestinian Youth Downplays Palestinian Terrorism

December 27, 2023

In his December 20 article on CBC News’s website entitled: “Killings of Palestinian children are soaring in the West Bank. Advocates say it happens with impunity,” Nick Logan, a senior writer for the broadcaster based in Vancouver, purported to inform the public about the deaths of Palestinian children by Israeli forces in Judea & Samaria (what many news outlets call the “West Bank”).

Early in the article, Logan wrote that “human rights groups say there is little accountability when Israeli forces kill Palestinian children during operations in the occupied West Bank,” citing the United Nations (UN), which stated that “there have been more than 100 such killings this year.”

While such a topic may very well be worthy of attention, Logan’s piece failed to uphold many essential elements of journalistic standards.

Nowhere did Logan ever define the term “child,” an important element in providing the public with a full picture of what the article refers to. While most readers would likely acknowledge that a five year-old, for instance, would fall under that category, a teenager may not. In that case, “youth” would be a far more accurate term.

The article quoted four organizations which accused Israel of crimes against Palestinians, and yet, despite the enormous weight of the accusations leveled against Israel, not a single source with an opposing view. 

While Logan stated that “The IDF did not respond to questions,” this does not absolve him from seeking other voices to provide balance. Yet he failed to do so.

The article also neglected to convey the extent to which Palestinian terrorist organizations have extensively recruited child soldiers to engage in violent combat against Israeli soldiers. In fact, one “boy” mentioned by Logan in the article, Basil Suleiman Abu Al-Wafa, in fact was a 15-year-old youth, who was a member of Hamas, the Gaza-based Islamic terrorist organization against which Israel is currently fighting. Lest cynics believe that Israel simply made up the terrorist affiliation afterwards, it was Hamas, not Israel, which claimed the young man as one of their members.

The absence of this critical detail changes the entire story altogether, and presented readers with a far more complex view: that rather than gunning down small children, Israeli soldiers are faced with armed combatants from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other Islamic terrorist groups who are armed and ready to kill Israelis. Consequently, while Israel’s conduct is not above critical scrutiny, the failure to report essential information creates a dramatically distorted narrative.

Logan quoted Bill Van Esveld, an associate director for children’s rights at Human Rights Watch (HRW), a notoriously anti-Israel pressure group, as saying that “because the West Bank is under occupation and is not in a ‘wartime situation,’ Israel can’t justify killing civilians ‘by claiming it’s in the name of counterterrorism.’”

This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. When an individual picks up a weapon with intent to use it against an Israeli soldier, they are a combatant, regardless of whether they are wearing a uniform or not.

Van Esveld’s statement, and more importantly, Logan’s choice not to share any details regarding the state of violence from anti-Israel terrorist groups in Judea & Samaria, implies that Palestinian youth who are killed by Israel are killed for no legitimate reason whatsoever.

In fact, the reality is true. Palestinian terrorist attacks are a frequent occurrence, both within Judea & Samaria targeting Jews, but also from Palestinian groups emanating from the area, aiming to attack within Israel proper.

In response to the article, HonestReporting Canada has filed a complaint with CBC News over its coverage, specifically over its failure not only to present a balanced report, but its omission of even include the most salient facts.

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