Haaretz Corrects False Report Claiming Netanyahu Weighing Deportation of Gaza Residents

CAMERA’s Israel office has prompted correction of a report in Haaretz‘s English edition falsely claiming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented that the deportation of Gaza residents is under consideration.

Prime Minister Netanyahu commented on the possibility of the deportation of Hamas (Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders / U.S. Secretary of Defense, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The bogus Jan. 3 (8:57 PM) news item, which supplied false fodder to unfounded accusations of Israeli genocide (“Netanyahu: Considering scenario of surrender and deportation of Gaza residents“), fallaciously reported:

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a “scenario of surrender and deportation” of the Gaza Strip residents is being considered, according to reports on the Israel news channel 12.

In recordings from Netanyahu’s meeting with the families of the Israeli hostages that took place on Tuesday, the prime minister was heard saying, “We are not rejecting that possibility. There are claims to be made for and against it.”

A screenshot of Haaretz‘s false report before it was amended

But as Barak Ravid of Axios, and a former Haaretz journalist, rightly pointed out, Netanyahu did not say the deportation of Gaza residents is under consideration. Ravid correctly tweeted:

That’s not what he said in the recording. He was talking about a deal of deporting [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar from Gaza in return for the release of the hostages as a way to end the war.

Indeed, Kan’s (Hebrew) report confirmed Ravid’s information that Netanyahu was commenting on the possibility of deporting Hamas’ leadership – not the territory’s civilian population. Kan reported (“Netanyahu on the deportation of senior Hamas figures: There are discussions about this possibility,” CAMERA’s translation):

In a meeting today (Tuesday) between the prime minister and families of the hostages, Netanyahu responded to a question from one of the family members about the matter of deporting the Hamas leadership: “There are discussions about this possibility.”

Israeli (Hebrew) sites Mako and Ynet also reported that Netanyahu’s comment about the possibility of deportation was in reference to Hamas leadership, and not Gaza residents, as Haaretz had falsely wrote.

As Haaretz has repeatedly reported in recent days, the South African charge of Israeli genocide at the International Court of Justice must prove intentionality, which is established by the statement of Israeli leaders

Chen Maanit wrote in Haaretz Jan. 4:

Proof of actions that constitute genocide in the ICJ requires two main elements – first, showing an intention to cause mass physical destruction, and second, showing that there is a causal connection between the actions on the ground and the intention.

According to South Africa, the intention is learned from statements by senior Israeli officials. . . [Emphasis added.]

Thus, Haaretz‘s false reporting that the prime minister said the deportation of Gaza residents is under consideration provided tailwind for South Africa’s baseless accusation. Sadly, members of the government who fortunately have no say on Gaza policy have made statements in favor of deportation. But the claim that the prime minister made such comments is invention. 

In response to communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, Haaretz editors deleted the false claim that Netanyahu was speaking about the deportation of Hamas residents. The amended headline no longer refers to “residents” but still fails to specify deportation of Hamas leadership: “Netanyahu: Considering scenario of surrender and deportation in Gaza.” The revised accompanying text now states:

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a “scenario of surrender and deportation” in the Gaza Strip is being considered, according to reports on the Israeli news channel 12. The prime minister was most likely referring to Hamas leaders.

The “most likely” qualification is unjustified given that the recording of the meeting with the hostages’ families revealed for a fact that the prime minister’s statement about the possibility of deportation was in response to a question referring specifically to Hamas leadership.

Separately, intentionally or not, Haaretz gives an additional boost to false charges of Israeli war crimes with Gideon Levy’s uncorrected report egregiously alleging Israel’s “killing of 162 infants in one day — a figure reported by social media this week.” Despite the fact that CAMERA informed Haaretz that Levy himself has admitted that he has zero source for this incendiary claim, editors have yet to retract his fabrication.

Jan. 31 Update: New York Times, Salt Lake Tribune Corrections

Relying on Haaretz's misreporting falsely claiming that Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel was weighing the deportation of Gaza residents, The New York Times' Michelle Goldberg erroneously reported ("America Must Face Up to Israel's Extremism," Jan. 5):

As Israeli news outlets have reported, Netanyahu said this week that the government is considering a 'scenario of surrender and deportation' of residents of the Gaza Strip.

In the wake of Yair Rosenberg’s critique of various media misquotes of Israeli politicians concerning the fate of Hamas (“What Did Top Israeli War Officials Really Say About Gaza?,” The Atlantic), The New York Times published the following correction:

Michelle Goldberg’s Jan. 5 column, relying on a report in the English-language version of Haaretz, included a quotation from Benjamin Netanyahu that had been taken out of context. Referring to Hamas leadership, he said the Israeli government is considering a “scenario of surrender and deportation.” The quotation did not refer to all Gaza residents.

Subsequently, CAMERA prompted correction of Goldberg's column in The Salt Lake Tribune, where it appeared Jan. 7.

See also "Media Outlets Correct Yoav Gallant Misquotes on Eliminating Hamas"

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