CAMERA’s Israel office yesterday prompted correction of an April 9 article by Hiba M. Yazbek (“The Coronavirus Finally Gave the World a Chance to Feel What We Gazans Have Always Felt“) which erroneously claimed Gazans entering and exiting the territory through Egypt must obtain Israeli approval. The article appeared on page one of the April 12 English print edition.
Yazbek, not to be confused with the member of Knesset by the same name, erred:
Israel regulates the freedom of movement for the 1.9 million Palestinians in Gaza, determining the criteria needed to both enter or exit the Strip, and limiting it to very specific and special circumstances. (Emphasis added.)
Further on, she added:
Gazan youngsters wanting to study abroad must obtain the approval of no fewer than four authorities: Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee, Hamas and, depending on where they ultimately depart from, Jordan or Egypt.
Israel’s COGAT, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, has confirmed that Israel has absolutely no control or involvement whatsoever over the Rafah crossing. Therefore, Gazans who wish to enter or exit the territory through Egypt absolutely do not need any approval from Israel.
In response to communication from CAMERA, Haaretz commendably amended the second passage. The updated online article now states:
The majority of Gazan youngsters wanting to study abroad leave the Strip through the West Bank and Jordan. This requires them to obtain the approval of up to four authorities: Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Palestinian Authority’s Civil Affairs Committee, Hamas and Jordan. Leaving the Strip directly through Egypt’s Rafah crossing requires only Hamas and Egypt’s approval but is considered a last resort for students, as getting Egyptian approval is expensive and requests are often denied the first time.
Moreover, the editors’ transparent steps to set the record straight included the following correction appended to the bottom of the article:
Correction: An earlier version of this report stated that students leaving Gaza for studies abroad need the approval of at least four authorities: Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee, Hamas and Jordan or Egypt – depending on where they depart from. However, leaving Gaza via Egypt requires only Hamas and Egypt’s approval.