Telegraph claim: ‘With few exceptions, no one’s been allowed in or out of Gaza since 2007’

In addition to the false suggestion that there's a concrete wall surrounding Gaza, the claim that "with few exceptions, no one has been allowed in or out since...2007" is absurd, as data from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA oPt) demonstrates.

A May 13th article at The Telegraph, “Meet the Palestinian family who have tended the graves of our war dead for 60 years”, by correspondent Tom Rowley, focuses on a Gazan who works as a gardener for Commonwealth Graves Commission tending to a First and Second World War cemetery in the strip.  

Ten paragraphs down, the Telegraph provides the following context on the location of the cemetery.

In the middle of the cramped concrete prison that is Gaza (with few exceptions, no one has been allowed in or out since Hamas came to power in 2007)…

This is extraordinarily misleading. In addition to the false suggestion that there’s a “concrete” wall surrounding Gaza, the claim that “with few exceptions, no one has been allowed in or out since…2007” is absurd, as data from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA oPt) demonstrates.

Here’s the OCHA oPt graph for the movement of people through the Erez crossing (run by Israel), in the north, between 2008 and 2017.

Here’s the graph for the movement of people through the Rafah crossing (run by Egypt), in the south, during the same time period:

Here’s a graph from COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) illustrating the most recent figures – Feb. 2017:

As you can see, whilst the crossings vary at both Erez and Rafah each year, the number of Gazans (Merchants, medical patients, etc.) “allowed in and out” yearly often reaches the hundreds of thousands. In fact, a very large number of Gazans have been “allowed in an out” of the strip even when Israel was at war with Hamas.  The broader narrative being advanced, suggesting Gaza is an open-air prison, has no basis in reality. 

(Additionally, you can see the graph for the movement of commodities to and from Gaza here.)

We have complained to Telegraph editors about this egregious error.

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