Indy corrects. New text refutes claim Israel stops Gaza docs from traveling to training seminars

UK Media Watch prompted a correction at The Independent to the claim that Israel prevents Gaza doctors from traveling abroad for training seminars. The new text cites statistics on the hundreds of such crossings over the past two years alone.

On July 11th, we demonstrated that a claim made by Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, and uncritically cited by The Independent, was erroneous.  The article by Bethan Mckernan (“Three Palestinian babies have died in Gaza and no one will accept responsibility”, June 30th) included the following passage:

Ms Moss [spokesperson for PHR – Israel] also blamed Israel for the current healthcare crisis. The state prevents Gazan doctors from travelling abroad for training and the blockade prevents essential medical equipment from reaching hospitals, she said.

Though we addressed the extremely misleading claim that the the blockade prevents medical equipment from reaching hospitals, we particularly focused on the specific claim by PHR-Israel that Israel “prevents Gazan doctors from travelling abroad for training”.  We contacted a spokesperson from COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) to get an answer about this claim, and they flatly denied it.  In fact, they provided us detailed statistics on the hundreds of such crossings over the past couple of years. 

We contacted Indy editors, providing them with the information from COGAT, and we learned this morning that our complaint was upheld. The article has been updated and now includes the following text immediately following the claim by PHR-Israel.

A spokesperson for Cogat (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) denied that Israel stops Gazan doctors from receiving training. “In 2016 alone, 221 crossings of doctors were coordinated for professional training abroad, whilst an additional 43 were coordinated in 2017,” the organisation said in a statement. “The list of doctors is determined by the Palestinian Authority,” added the Cogat spokesperson. 

We commend Indy editors for the correction.

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