The Shocking Historical Illiteracy of Harper’s Magazine on Gaza

It is one thing for a news outlet to unintentionally make a mistake in the fog of war and as situations are developing. It is quite another to get the most basic historical facts wrong. Yet that is exactly what Harper’s Magazine did in its latest “Weekly Review” in the very first sentence about the horrific mass terror attack by Palestinians in southern Israel.

The article begins: “Fifty years and one day after the start of the Yom Kippur War, Palestinian militants from Gaza—where, under a 16-year Israeli occupation, only 10 percent of residents have direct access to clean water—attacked Israel in the bloodiest day for Jewish civilians since the end of the Holocaust.” Later, it repeats the claim: “Hamas threatened to execute a civilian hostage every time Gazans were hit by an air strike without warning, and the streets emptied in both the occupied territory and Tel Aviv…”

Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza eighteen years ago, in 2005. Other than the estimated 150 men, women, and children taken hostage by the internationally designated terrorist organization Hamas, there is not a single Israeli in the territory.

If Harper’s cannot get these basic, well-known facts about the Gaza Strip right, how can readers trust anything else the magazine says about the conflict?

It is also noteworthy that this error – combined with Harper’s claim about “clean water” – is mentioned even before the unspeakable violence committed by Hamas, as if to provide justification and explanation for the mass murder, torture, mutilation, rape, and beheading of Israeli civilians.

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