Ha’aretz’s Eldar Wrong on Gaza Hothouses

In the lead paragraph of his article yesterday entitled “Report says Katif’s greenhouses broke,” Ha’aretz‘s Akiva Eldar erroneously writes that the Gush Katif hothouses were “purchased by the Palestinian Economic Development (PED) Company.” As was widely reported in the Israeli and international press last August, the Gush Katif hothouses were purchased by American Jewish donors organized by James Wolfensohn, and were transferred to the control of the newly established Palestinian Economic Development Company.

Ha’aretz‘s Amira Hass was among the writers who described the deal. In her Aug. 31, 2005 article entitled “PA under fire for accepting gift of Gaza hothouses,” she reported

The purchase by wealthy foreign Jews of hothouses belonging to Gush Katif settlers for the Palestinian Authority has received a great deal of publicity in recent weeks, but little has been said about Palestinian concerns about the deal.

“We received a gift and we can’t refuse it,” is how a Palestinian source summed up the position of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for Haaretz. . . .

The Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF), headed by PA Finance Minister Salam Fayad, accepted responsibility for the “gift,” which cost the donors – chief among them former World Bank chairman James Wolfensohn – about $14 million. . . .

The initial assets will belong to the Palestinian people, through the PIF, and will be managed by the Palestine Development Company [sic], a private body. . . 

A sampling of the countless other sources that described the American purchase of the hothouses and the subsequent donation to the Palestinians to be managed by the PED include Kol Yisrael, Aug. 12, 2005, 10:00; Agence France Press, Aug. 18, 2005 (“US Jewish donors give 14 million to preserve Gaza greenhouses,”) Associated Press, Feb. 9, 2006; and Financial Times (“Private Donations: Gaza Strip greenhouse deal breaks deadlock,” Aug. 13, 2005).
As CAMERA regularly does with countless other media outlets, we have contacted editors requesting a correction, despite the fact that Ha’aretz has a history of refusing to correct errors.

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