No Excuse for Ha’aretz Gaza Population Error

Ha’aretz, the Israeli daily newspaper relied upon by the Israeli cultural and political elite as well the Western press corps, has printed for the second time in just over a month the same factual error. The second error appeared yesterday despite the fact that editors had already been provided with documentation refuting the erroneous claim.

In a May 23 Snapshots blog entry, CAMERA documented that Ha’aretz that day ran an Op-Ed by Amram Mitzna which wrongly identified the Gaza Strip as “the most densely populated area in the world.” Gaza is not the “most densely populated area in the world.” According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2004-2005, the population per sq. mile for 2003 in the Gaza Strip is 8,666. Gaza is less densely populated than numerous places around the world, including Monaco (41,608), Singapore (17,751), Gibraltar (11,990), Hong Kong (17,833), and especially Macau, which is nearly ten times more densely populated than the Gaza Strip (71,466).

CAMERA that day contacted editors providing them with the Statistical Abstract‘s figures and requesting a correction. The Israel Press Council’s Rules of Professional Ethics and Journalists requires:

Substantive mistakes, omissions or inaccuracies in the publication of facts must be corrected speedily, fairly and with the appropriate emphasis relative to the original publication.

Ha’aretz never ran a correction as required by the Press Council, and instead settled for a letter to the editor by this researcher on May 26. Not only did the paper not run a correction, but the very same error appeared in an Op-Ed yesterday by Yitzhak Laor. Writing about the Gaza disengagement and the demolition of Jewish homes there, he continued:

The thirst and the destruction that have been imposed on the most densely populated place in the world for the benefit of a few thousand settlers . . .

CAMERA today informed David Landau, editor of Ha’aretz, as well as multiple other editors at the paper about the repeated error.

This is not the only recent error that Ha’aretz has allowed to stand uncorrected. As noted in Snapshots, in a June 5 Op-Ed Yossi Beilin wrongly stated that from 1957 to 1967, “only 20 people were killed by hostile operations.” At least 40 Israelis were killed by hostile actions during this period.

The following incidents are listed on the Web site of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
* Feb. 18, 1957: Two civilians were killed by terrorist landmines, next to Nir Yitzhak, on the southern border of the Gaza Strip.
* March 8, 1957: A shepherd from Kibbutz Beit Guvrin was killed by terrorists in a field near the kibbutz.
* April 16, 1957: Terrorists infiltrated from Jordan, and killed two guards at Kibbutz Mesilot
* May 20, 1957: A terrorist opened fire on a truck in the Arava region, killing a worker.
* May 29, 1957: A tractor driver was killed and two others wounded, when the vehicle struck a landmine, next to Kibbutz Kisufim.
* Aug. 23, 1957: Two guards of the Israeli Mekorot water company were killed near Kibbutz Beit Guvrin.
* Dec. 21, 1957: A member of Kibbutz Gadot was killed in the Kibbutz fields.
* Feb. 11, 1958: Terrorists killed a resident of Moshav Yanov who was on his way to Kfar Yona, in the Sharon area.
* April 5, 1958: Terrorists lying in ambush shot and killed two fishermen near Aqaba
* April 22, 1958: Jordanian soldiers shot and killed two fisherman near Aqaba
* May 26, 1958: Four Israeli police officers were killed in a Jordanian attack on Mt. Scopus
* Dec. 3, 1958: A shepherd was killed at Kibbutz Gonen.
* Jan. 23, 1959: A shepherd from Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan was killed.
* Feb. 1, 1959: Three civilians were killed by a terrorist landmine near Moshav Zavdiel.
* April 15, 1959: A guard was killed at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel.
* April 27, 1959: Two hikers were shot at close range and killed near Masada.
* Sept. 6, 1959: Bedouin terrorists killed a paratroop reconnaissance officer near Nitzana.
* Sept. 8, 1959: Bedouins opened fire on an army bivouac in the Negev, killing an IDF officer, Captain Yair Peled.
* Oct. 3, 1959: A shepherd from Kibbutz Hetziba was killed near Kibbutz Yad Hana.
* April 26, 1960: Terrorists killed a resident of Ashkelon south of the city.
* May 11, 1965: Jordanian Legionnaires fired on the neighborhood of Musrara in Jerusalem, killing two civilians.
* May 16, 1966: Two Israelis were killed when their jeep hit a terrorist landmine, north of the Sea of Galilee and south of Almagor. Tracks led to Syria.
* July 13, 1966: Two soldiers and a civilian were killed near Almagor, when their truck struck a terrorist landmine.

In addition, according to Martin Gilbert’s Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, four border policemen were killed by a Syrian mine on Oct. 9, 1966.

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