The Guardian’s former Jerusalem correspondent (currently their religion correspondent) Harriet Sherwood penned a piece (“Gaza confirms first coronavirus cases as West Bank shuts down”, March 22) claiming that the Israeli blockade limits the import of medicines, thus hampering their healthcare system’s ability to cope with Covid-19 infected Palestinians:
Gaza’s public health system has been severely tested by repeated military conflicts with Israel over the past 12 years, and is chronically short of drugs and equipment. An Israeli blockade, in place since 2007 although eased in recent years, has limited the import of medicines and other essential items.
However, in addition to the fact that Sherwood ignores the role of Hamas and the PA in their deteriorating healthcare system, there are in fact no Israeli restrictions on the import of medicine to the Palestinian-run territory – a fact we have blogged about repeatedly. (The only restricted medical items are radio isotopes used in bone scans or for guided biopsy of axillary lymph nodes, presumably because they are considered dual-use.)
Just to be sure there hasn’t been a change in Israeli policy, we contacted COGAT:
Here’s their reply:
The Guardian got it wrong.
(Relatedly, just last week, following communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, the Associated Press amended an article which initially included the false assertion that Israel blocked the import of surgical supplies to Gaza.)
We’ll be contacting the Guardian readers’ editor seeking a correction to Sherwood’s article.
- For ‘If Not Now, coronavirus is just another hook for anti-Israel activism (CAMERA)
- BBC provides a platform for anti-Israel campaigning (BBC Watch)
- Dangerous coronavirus advice, and intellectual poverty in Gaza (UK Media Watch)