FLOOD LIBEL: Media Pull Reports Falsely Accusing Israel of Flooding Gaza

As The Gateway Pundit was one of the first to report earlier this week, international media outlets smeared Israel in reports by falsely claiming the Jewish state had flooded the Islamist enclave of neighboring Gaza. Those outlets have since retracted and/or corrected their bogus reporting.

Other global media have not retracted or corrected their false reports, including Iran’s Press TV and China’s Xinhua News Agency. Those reports show the Flood Libel was initiated by Palestinian government officials.

As Israeli officials pointed out when contacted after the Flood Libel reports were published, there are no dams in the south of Israel, except for a small dam with no gates.


What all these reports have in common is that they ran Palestinian propaganda without seeking comment from Israel nor checking to see whether there were dams in the area capable of flooding Gaza.

This is a shameful episode for the media that has caused great harm to Israel and the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Agence France-Press posted a video report that was pulled Monday after the media watchdog group CAMERA called them out.

The pulled AFP video report was reposted to YouTube by The Gateway Pundit commenter TØMLA

The UK Daily Mail corrected their report on Tuesday after The Gateway Pundit reported their libel against Israel.

Al Jazeera retracted and apologized on Wednesday for their false report–which TGP noted in the Monday report.

Buzzfeed reported a Palestinian official as saying it is easier to blame Israel for the floods than it is for the Palestinians to face their failures in not being able to build infrastructure to control the flooding.

“In Gaza, the story of the dams has ( long been circulated http://www.timesofisrael.com/how-hamas-used-the-weather-to-defame-israel/) as an explanation for why the central Gaza Strip floods during the winter. One Palestinian official, who spoke to BuzzFeed on condition of anonymity, said the rumor could be traced back more than a decade.

““It is easy to say it is dams, easier than saying that the problem is infrastructure — not having infrastructure, having bad infrastructure, having what little infrastructure Gaza destroyed each time there is way — that is the truth,” said the official, who spoke by phone from Gaza. He asked to remain anonymous as his statements did not coincide with those made by Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. “If we could rebuild Gaza, we could build a system that dealt with these horrible floods. But Gaza is in ruins, there is nowhere for the water to go, and each year it will be the same unless someone helps us.””

The Iranian government propaganda outlet Press TV still has online an uncorrected report publishedSun day entitled, “Israel opens dams’ gates, floods Gaza

AFP Israel Flood Gaza Libel 02222015
The article features an AFP photo captioned, “A Palestinian boy stands in the middle of the water in al-Mughraqa village of the Gaza Strip following a move by Israel to open the gates of several dams surrounding the area, February 22, 2015. (© AFP)”

Press TV quotes a Gaza government body blaming Israel for the flooding:

““The [Israeli] army opened the floodgates of a canal leading to central Gaza, which led to the removal of sand mounds along the border with Israel,” GAZA’s Civil Defense Directorate (CDD) said in a statement on Sunday.
“Opening the levees to the canal has led to the flooding of several Palestinian homes, and we had to quickly evacuate the afflicted citizens,” the statement further read.

“The directorate also lashed out at Tel Aviv for opening the dams without giving prior notice to Gaza’s residents, saying the regime intentionally discharged a huge amount of water in the direction of the strip.”

Xinhua reported on Sunday, also uncorrected:

““A Palestinian minister lashed out at Israel on Sunday after it opened its dams near the border with the Gaza Strip, flooding the central area of the besieged enclave with huge amounts of water.

“Mufid al-Hasaynah, minister of Housing and Public Works in the Palestinian unity government, told Xinhua that Israel deliberately increases the suffering of the Gazans.

“”Dozens of houses were filled with water of the Israeli dams, which were largely opened this morning towards the Gaza Strip. These actions double the people’s suffering who live under a tight Israeli siege,” said the minister.

“Early on Sunday, rescue teams and firefighters rushed to the central area of the Gaza Strip to rescue dozens of Palestinians who were stuck in their houses after Israel opened the dams.”

The text of the Daily Mail’s correction:

“An earlier version of this article stated that Israel had opened river dams in the south of the country, causing flooding in the Gaza strip. In fact, there are no dams in southern Israel and the flooding was caused by rain and drainage issues. We are happy to clarify this.”

Al Jazeera’s statement:

“Article retracted, 25/2/2015.

“Editor’s note: An earlier version of this page hosted an article which stated that Israel had, without warning, opened a number of dams, which had resulted in a part of Gaza being flooded.

“This was false.

“In southern Israel, there are no dams of the type which can be opened.

“We apologise for this error.

“Al Jazeera depends on objective reporting and strives to correct all errors of fact. We are committed to accountability and transparency.

“We encourage our audience and others to identify and report our mistakes.”

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