CiF Watch prompts correction to Guardian claim on Gaza construction imports


In a CiF Watch post published on Dec. 28, ‘Harriet Sherwood falsely claims that “almost no” construction materials have entered Gaza’, we noted this extremely misleading, and quite confusing, passage in a Dec. 27 report by Sherwood:

“Meanwhile, Israel is to allow construction materials to enter Gaza from next week for the first time since 2007. Despite easing its blockade of the enclave two and a half years ago, it has continued to ban the import of almost all construction materials, such as cement and steel, saying they could be used for military purposes.”

We explained that the first sentence was completely untrue, while the passage (seemingly contradicting the first) highlighted in the second sentence was, at best, extraordinarily misleading.

As we noted, despite restrictions (which have recently been eased) on dual-use materials entering Gaza (items which could be used for military purposes) thousands of trucks carrying construction materials have entered Gaza, since 2010, via COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories).  COGAT has coordinated such shipments in conjunction with international sponsors (US Aid, the World Bank, the UN, etc.) who can guarantee that the materials are used for their original civilian intent.  

Further, during the same two-year period Sherwood is referring to, out of 268 submitted construction proposals by the PA (in conjunction with international sponsors) 235 were approved.

The new easing of restrictions by Israel – implemented as part of the ceasefire agreement with Hamas, which was brokered by Egypt – now allows building materials into Gaza for use by the private sector for the first time since 2007.

After communicating with Guardian editors, demonstrating the construction import figures, and noting that other media outlets who made similar errors had (due largely to the diligence of our friends at CAMERA), corrected their mistakes, the Guardian has corrected the original text in Sherwood’s report.

Here’s their notice, at the end of Sherwood’s piece, noting the change:

• This article was amended on 7 January 2013. The original said that “Israel is to allow construction materials to enter Gaza from next week for the first time since 2007. To clarify: limited quantities of building materials, for UN sponsored projects, were allowed to enter Gaza during that time, as was made clear in the next sentence.

A sincere thanks goes out to our followers who assisted us in contacting Guardian editors to request the correction. 


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