HRC Prompts Globe Retraction Of False Claim That Ariel Sharon Helped Incite 2nd Intifada By Entering Al Aqsa Mosque

February 23, 2023

On February 22, the Globe and Mail published a lengthy article entitled: “Israel’s national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir brings fury from the right-wing fringes to Netanyahu’s government,” by international correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe, that saw the Globe’s journalist falsely report the following:

“He sees other parallels between the two men. Mr. Sharon helped incite the second intifadah in 2000 by entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as Temple Mount – only to see the ensuing violence boost his own political career.”

Mr. Sharon absolutely did not enter the Al Aqsa Mosque per Mr. VanderKlippe’s claims, he merely walked on the Temple Mount compound. Furthermore, the issue is in fundamental dispute about if Sharon’s walk on the Temple Mount “helped incite the second intifadeh”. For example, the Mitchell Report asserted that: “The Sharon visit did not cause the “Al- Aqsa Intifada.” But it was poorly timed and the provocative effect should have been foreseen; indeed, it was foreseen by those who urged that the visit be prohibited.” Furthermore, this claim ignored the well-documented evidence that the Palestinians incited and prepared for violence that initiated the 2nd intifada.

Reporter VanderKlippe also erred by describing Hebron as “a Palestinian city.”

By claiming that Hebron is a sovereign Palestinian city, ignores how the Palestinians control 80% of the city, meanwhile, Israel controls the remaining 20 percent, including where several hundred Jews reside. This is partly why, for example, Business Insider says the city is the “most contested city in the Middle East”. Sovereignty issues have not been finalized and both Israelis and Palestinians assert claims to the city. See the 1997 Hebron Agreement here for background. While Hebron may be a Palestinian-majority city under civil control by the Palestinian Authority, it isn’t sovereign Palestinian territory.

Accordingly, we filed a complaint with senior editors at the Globe calling for corrective action to be undertaken. We are pleased to note that the Globe retracted its reporter’s false claim that Ariel Sharon helped incite the 2nd Intifada by “entering the Al Aqsa Mosque.”

The Globe’s report now states: “He sees other parallels between the two men. Mr. Sharon helped incite the second intifadah in 2000 by visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located – only to see the ensuing violence boost his own political career.”

Regretfully though, the Globe didn’t acknowledge the premeditated Palestinian incitement and planning which also helped incite the 2nd Intifada. It’s also disappointing that although the Globe corrected their report, a formal correction notice has not been published as of this writing, in keeping with journalistic standards and practices. In the interests of accountability and transparency, the Globe is duty-bound to publish a public correction.

Lastly, we also note with disappointment that the Globe failed to correct its false reference to Hebron being a “Palestinian city”.

It’s noteworthy that only a week ago, in a feature-length front-page article in The Globe and Mail on February 16, this same reporter, international correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe, wrote about the lives, motivations, and deadly actions carried out by Palestinians against innocent Israeli civilians. But rather than describing in detail a culture of Palestinian incitement that encourages terror attacks, VanderKlippe gave a sympathetic portrayal of Palestinian terrorists and appeared to suggest that the new Israeli government and its policies are driving them to murder innocent Israelis when nothing could be further from the truth.

At the time, we said that Canadians deserve better from Canada’s paper of record and this latest journalistic transgression by the Globe and its international correspondent only serves to reinforce that perspective.

Update: February 24, 2023:

We take note that the Globe and Mail has issued a correction notice, however, the correction needs a correction.

The Globe’s correction appended to this article says: “Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the former prime minister, Ariel Sharon, entered the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This version has been updated.”

However, it should say in our view: “Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the former prime minister, Ariel Sharon, “helped incite the second intifadah in 2000 by entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as Temple Mount. Sharon only walked on the Temple Mount esplanade and did not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This version has been updated.”

Jews do not regard the Al Aqsa Mosque as being the equivalent of the Temple Mount.The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and for Muslims, it’s called the Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). The Al Aqsa Mosque (Islam’s 3rd holiest site) is merely situated on the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary.

We’ve communicated these concerns directly to the Globe and Mail.

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