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Media Analyses





New York Times Corrects Grossly Inflated Figure for Palestinian Refugees


CAMERA's Israel office has prompted a correction of an article which appeared in the Sept. 15 print edition of The International New York Times. Due to an editing error, the article incorrectly reported that Gaza children studying in UNRWA-run schools are the children of Palestinians who left or fled their homes in 1948 and 1967.
 
 
As noted in CAMERA's Snapshots blog last week:

There are two apparent errors in this sentence.

First, it seems that the article should have stated "grandchildren or great-grandchildren of Palestinians who were expelled from or fled homes in Israel and the West Bank." Indeed, another version of the piece, which appeared in an earlier New York Times edition accurately referred to "descendants of Palestinians who were expelled from or fled homes in Israel and the West Bank."

It is impossible that the parents of students ranging from age 5 to 14 (kindergarten through ninth grade) were expelled from or fled homes in Israel in 1948.

If the parents were alive in 1948, they would have to be at least 66 years old today. Clearly, the parents of all of these elementary and middle school students are not, at a minimum, 66 years old.

The mean ageof Gaza women when they first marry is 20.1. For men, the figure is 24. In other words, Gaza's parents are young, not old.

Similarly, if the parents were displaced from the West Bank in 1967, and this category is much smaller than 1948 refugees, they would have to be at a minimum 47 years old, which also seems highly unlikely, though not impossible.

Second, it is not true that 70 percent of Gaza's 1.8 million residents are "Palestinians who were expelled from or fled homes in Israel and the West Bank."

In fact, as reported by the Associated Press, of those Palestinians who were expelled or fled homes in Israel in 1948 there are now some 30,000 still alive, living around the world, not just in the Gaza Strip. So if ALL of the surviving Palestinian Arabs who fled or expelled from their homes in Israel lived in the Gaza Strip -- and they don't, they also live in the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere -- then they amount to a total of 1.6 percent of the 1.8 million residents in Gaza, not 70 percent.

Following communication from CAMERA staff, International New York Times editors commendably published the following correction on Friday, Sept. 19:
 
 
On previous occasions, The New York Times has corrected erroneous figures which similarly conflated those who were expelled or fled in 1948 and their millions of descendants. The common confusion about actual refugees from 1948, some 30,000 individuals who are still alive, versus their millions of descendants, is a result of the Palestinians' unique status, where they alone, among all refugee populations of the world, are treated as refugees for generations following their displacement.
 
For additional New York Times corrections prompted by CAMERA, please see here.

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