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January 26, 2014

The NYT and the Facts on the Wall

West Bank security fence nyt.jpg
Not a "wall": More than 91 percent of the barrier is made of fences, ditches and barbed wire. (Image from Israeli Defense Ministry)

We were still waiting for The New York Times to correct factual errors in the Jan. 22 Op-Ed about Ariel Sharon by former Palestinian Authority official Ali Jarbawi, when we spotted yet another Times Op-Ed which botched the facts on Israel.

In "The walls that hurt us," Marcello Di Cintio writes:

Israel built a wall around Palestine and recently completed a fence along its Egyptian border.

While it is unclear exactly territory Di Cintio has in mind when he writes "Palestine" -- does this mean the West Bank, the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian controlled territory in the West Bank? -- he is incorrect regardless.

With respect to the Gaza Strip, a fence, not a wall, separates Israel from Gaza. In her Jan. 3, 2014 article, for instance, The Times' Isabel Kershner correctly refers to the Gaza "border fence" repeatedly.

As for the separation barrier, which runs roughly along the Green Line between Israel and the West Bank, and at times dips more deeply into the West Bank, it is largely a fence. As the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported in July 2011, the barrier's total length is approximately 708 km, and around 61 km of the barrier consists of 8-9 meter high concrete wall. In other words, according to the United Nations, just 8.6 percent of the barrier is a wall. The rest consists of "fences, ditches, razor wire, groomed sand paths, an electronic monitoring system, patrol roads, and a buffer zone."

According to Dany Tirza, who was the IDF's chief architect for the barrier, "less than 5% percent of the project is a concrete wall" (Al Monitor, July 1, 2012, emphasis added).

Again, Kershner accurately reported that Israel's West Bank separation barrier "is made up mostly of a fence, barbed wire and ditches" (Oct. 29, 2009). Similarly, she commendably reported March 21, 2009, "Most of the barrier is made up of a wire fence flanked by barbed wire, a trench and patrol roads. In some urban areas, particularly around Jerusalem, it takes the form of a looming concrete wall."

CAMERA has contacted Times editors to request the correction. Meanwhile, CAMERA employs multi-media to communicate its concerns regarding the paper's systemic slant against Israel. The latest venue: a large billboard on a looming concrete wall opposite The New York Times building.

Posted by TS at January 26, 2014 05:59 AM


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