HRC Prompts Global National On-Air Correction After Falsely Accusing Israel Of Occupying Gaza & Repressing Israeli Arabs & Palestinians

September 28, 2023

On July 25, Global National broadcast a report covering the ongoing controversy surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned judicial overhaul, following an important piece of the legislation being passed by Israel’s Knesset, or parliament.

The broadcast, filed by Global News’ Europe Bureau Chief, Crystal Goomansingh, also shed light on the widespread demonstrations throughout Israel in protest of the judicial reforms, which have attracted hundreds of thousands of Israelis on a weekly basis in cities across the country.

And while the topic of Israel’s judicial overhaul is worthy of coverage from the Canadian news media, it was a throwaway comment near the end of the broadcast that caught the attention of HonestReporting Canada.

In her report, Goomansingh told viewers that “With Israel’s far-right government, that means Palestinians could suffer even more. Nearly seven million are repressed living under Israeli military occupation in Palestinian territories, including the West Bank.”

Not only was the statement a non sequitur as part of the broadcast, it also spread wildly inaccurate information.

As HonestReporting Canada pointed out in a subsequent alert, the seven million figure presumably counts eastern Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria (often called the “West Bank” by news media outlets), with a population of around 3 million, and even Israeli Arabs, with a population of two million. It also includes the Gaza Strip, with an estimated population of around two million people.

Even aside from the necessary context that Israel possesses extensive legal and historical rights to the land in question, the most notable errors in Goomansingh’s comment were that Israeli Arabs suffer military repression, and that Gaza Strip is under Israeli occupation. In reality, Israel notably withdrew the entirety of its population – nearly 10,000 people, both civilian and military – from the Gaza Strip in 2005 in what became known as the Gaza Disengagement.

As for Arabs living inside Israel, contrary to Goomansingh’s report, they’re not under military occupation in any way, and in fact enjoy full rights as Israeli citizens or residents, with the right to vote, stand for election, and live as full Israelis in any way they choose.

Following HonestReporting Canada’s complaint sent to Global National and the issuance of our action alert, which was published only two days after the broadcast, Global National broadcast an on-air correction acknowledging their error.

In the on-air correction issued on September 22, Global National Anchor Dawna Friesen issued a mea culpa, saying: “A correction on a story we aired on July 25 in our coverage of the mass protests of Israel’s planned judicial reforms. We stated that nearly seven million Palestinians are living under Israeli military occupation in Palestinian territories, including the West Bank. According to data from the UN, that figure is closer to 4.8 million.”

According to recent figures from the United Nations, the population of the Palestinian territories (including both Judea & Samaria and the Gaza Strip) totals 4.8 million, and if this is the figure cited by Global National, then the recent correction, while a step in the right direction by acknowledging that Israeli Arabs do not live under Israeli military occupation, is still incomplete and false, as it suggests that Gaza remains under Israeli occupation.

Beyond the straightforward factual error made in the original broadcast alleging that Israel occupies the Gaza Strip, Goomansingh’s statement claiming that millions of Palestinians “are repressed living under Israeli military occupation” is wildly misleading.

As specified in the 1993 Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, the vast majority of Palestinians live under the civil and military control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), not Israel. Palestinian population centres including Bethlehem, Jericho, Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah all fall under Area A, meaning they are under full Palestinian civilian and security control.

And as pointed out in HonestReporting Canada’s original alert, Goomansingh’s original statement that Israel is present in Judea & Samaria also lacked any context as to why Israel is situated in those territories, including that had the Palestinian Authority accepted a peace deal with Israel, as it was offered, most famously at Camp David in 2000, then today, instead of Israel in some areas of Judea & Samaria, there would be a full and independent Palestinian state.

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