CAMERA’s Israel office yesterday prompted improved Associated Press language on the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip. Fares Akram had reported (“Opioid crisis engulfs blockaded Gaza Strip,” Feb. 26):
Ostensibly meant to prevent arms from reaching Hamas, the blockade made it all but impossible for people to move in and out of Gaza. . . (Emphases added.)
First, intended or not, the word “ostensibly” signals that Israel and Egypt claim that the blockade is meant to prevent arms smuggling, but that this claim is suspect at best.
Second, according to the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 9,566 people crossed into Israel from Gaza last month, and there were an additional 5,715 crossings (both directions) between Gaza and Rafah. Out of the 2401 patients who applied for an exit permit into Israel last month, 67 percent were granted permission. In other words, patients were more likely to receive a permit than to be rejected. Therefore, the claim that the blockade “made it all but impossible for people to move in and out of Gaza” is highly misleading. However, those who wish to leave for reasons aside from commercial or medical purposes, such as study, travel or family visits, have a very difficult time doing so.
In response to communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, AP commendably updated the article with the following wording:
Aimed at preventing arms from reaching Hamas, the blockade largely closed Gaza’s borders, making it extremely difficult for people to move in and out of the territory …
CAMERA’s timely action vis-à-vis yesterday’s AP article underscores the value of the organization’s work monitoring and responding to wire stories in the same news cycle as they appear. With this preemptive work CAMERA helps prevent misinformation from appearing in media outlets around the world.