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AP Mum on Egypt’s Closure of Crossing, Faulting Israel for Rafah Food Shortages

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By: Tamar Sternthal

In the wake of the International Criminal Court’s factually bogus, politically motivated, and morally bankrupt move Monday seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, the Associated Press fed the corrupt court’s fallacious accusation that Israel is starving Gaza’s civilians. In a 1300-word article holding Israel responsible for the reported food shortage in Rafah, the Associated Press today conceals that it is Egypt — not Israel — which has forced the shut down of the border crossing next to the southern Gaza Strip city, thereby stopping the flow of aid through that point.

In the very first sentence of their article today, the robust team of three Associated Press reporters explains that Israel’s military operation is at fault for the United Nations’ cessation of food distribution in Rafah (“UN halts all food distribution in Rafah after running out of supplies in the southern Gaza city“): The reason, explain AP’s Samy Magdy, Lee Keath and Tia Goldenberg in the very first paragraph, is Israel’s military operation:

The United Nations suspended food distribution in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Tuesday due to a lack of supplies and an untenable security situation caused by Israel’s expanding military operation. (Emphasis added.)

Further down, AP egregiously covers up Egypt’s closure of the Rafah crossing:

The humanitarian crisis deepened after Israeli forces pushed into Rafah on May 6. Tanks and troops seized the vital Rafah crossing into Egypt, and it’s been closed ever since.

The trio’s omission of the fact that Egypt closed its side of the crossing — therefore preventing the entrance of food into the territory from that point — stinks to the high pyramids of Giza.

In fact, since Egypt’s decision to halt the transfer of humanitarian aid following the launch of Israel’s military operation earlier this month, at no point did AP clearly report that Egypt took this draconian step at the expense of Palestinian civilians.

Instead, in a May 16 item, the Associated Press danced around the fact that Egypt closed the border, casting the affair as a jumble of mutual Egyptian-Israeli recriminations of undetermined veracity (“The Latest: Palestinians Mark 76 years of their dispossession as more catastrophe unfolds in Gaza”):


CAIRO — Egypt has blasted comments by Israel’s top diplomat in which he blamed the Arab country for the closure of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip.

Egypt has expressed mounting frustration with Israel’s seizure of the Palestinian side of the crossing last week, saying it threatens the two countries’ decades-old peace treaty.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Israel “is responsible for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

“We reject the policy of distorting the facts,” Shoukry said in a statement on Tuesday, denouncing Israel’s “desperate attempts” to blame Egypt.

He said Israel’s incursion into Rafah was the main reason aid cannot enter through the crossing and called for Israel to allow more aid through its own crossings.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Tuesday that there was a “need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing to allow the continued delivery of international humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

“The world places the responsibility for the humanitarian situation on Israel, but the key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends,” Katz said.

State-controlled Egyptian television itself reported that Egypt refused to coordinate with Israel on the transfer of aid, a fact which AP goes to great lengths to conceal.

Reuters, on the other hand, provided straightforward coverage of the Egyptian refusal to transfer aid — a policy which obviously creating serious implications for the U.N.’s food distribution program in the city. Reuters stated clearly May 11 (“Egypt refuses to coordinate with Israel on entry of aid from Rafah crossing, Alqahera News reports“):

Egypt has refused to coordinate with Israel on the entry of aid into Gaza from the Rafah crossing due to Israel’s “unacceptable escalation”, Egypt’s state affiliated Alqahera News satellite TV reported on Saturday, citing a senior official.

“Misreporting happens in a context where anti-Israel extremists are trying, and sometimes succeeding, at hijacking the conversation, and the media’s misinformation serves as fodder for these activists and their message,” observed CAMERA’s Gilead Ini in a fascinating webinar last week entitled “Tampered Evidence.”

In concealing the fact that Egypt — not Israel — is preventing aid from flowing through the Rafah crossing, the Associated Press piles on to the tampered evidence upon which the ICC has built its whole rotten case.


Tamar Sternthal is director of CAMERA’s Israel Office. She monitors both U.S. publications and English-language Israeli publications, and heads up CAMERA’s “Haaretz, Lost in Translation” project. Her columns have appeared in numerous American and Israeli publications, including the Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Ynet, Algemeiner, Philadelphia Daily News, St. Petersburg Times, and the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Sternthal is interviewed on radio about the media’s coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict and regularly participates in panels about the media, hosted by universities and think tanks in Israel. Twitter handle: http://twitter.com/TamarSternthal

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) is an international media-monitoring and educational organization founded in 1982 to promote accurate and unbiased coverage of Israel and the Middle East. CAMERA is a non-profit, tax-exempt, and non-partisan organization under section 501 (c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. To learn more or receive our newsletters please visit CAMERA.org.

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