Associated Press spreads disinformation on Israel and Gaza conflict
October 17, 2023
Now we’ve got to worry about AP – yes, Associated Press – and disinformation on the Israel and Gaza story. This is disinformation:
“As the enclave’s food, water and medicine supplies dwindled, all eyes were on the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, where trucks carrying badly needed aid have been waiting for days as mediators press for a cease-fire that would allow them to enter Gaza and allow foreigners to leave. Rafah, Gaza’s only connection to Egypt, was shut down nearly a week ago because of Israeli airstrikes.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Israel ‘has not taken a position to open the crossing from the Gaza side.’ The Israeli government did not respond to a request for comment.”
Israel does not control the Rafah crossing and border post. Israel has not held it since 2005 and the evacuation of Gaza. Egypt controls one side of that border, that crossing, Hamas the other. Any inability to cross at Rafah is an issue between Egypt and Hamas.
This isn’t just splitting hairs — it’s vital in understanding the more general situation. Think of this statement:
“Hospitals in Gaza are expected to run out of generator fuel in the next 24 hours, endangering the lives of thousands of patients, according to the U.N. Gaza’s sole power plant shut down for lack of fuel after Israel completely sealed off the 40-kilometer (25-mile) long territory following the Hamas attack.”
Israel does not control the border with Egypt. Therefore, Israel has not, because it cannot, completely seal off the Gaza Strip.
Now, it’s possible to get all historical about why Egypt won’t open that border. They’re worried about hundreds of thousands of Gazans fleeing to safety, and they might not return – that has been said. Or perhaps that Hamas is an offshoot, a development, of the Muslim Brotherhood. An organization that Egypt has savagely repressed after at least one coup attempt. And might be worried about allowing more of them back in.
In detail, Egypt has said that if the Palestinian Authority controls Rafah, it will be open; if by Hamas, then it will not.
But that’s not the disinformation that is important here. Instead, AP, yes, the Associated Press, is telling us untruths about events. That supposedly global, truth-telling organization is misinforming. Israel is being blamed for something Israel has nothing to do with. Egypt and Hamas are not being blamed for something that is theirs to deal with.
The danger here is that we all get the wrong idea about who the bad guys are here. Who deserves our support, and who doesn’t? And AP isn’t being honest. AP is misinforming. And AP reports run, unedited, in newspapers across the country.
One of the great global news organizations is telling us something untrue. That’s dangerous and also something that should make us angry. Political decision-making about this will be based on what we, the voters, believe. And we’re being lied to.