CBC Video Tells Viewers Israel Is Responsible For Gaza’s Isolation; Fails To Share Any Context About Palestinian Terrorism

November 9, 2023

As Israel’s counter-terrorism efforts against Hamas in Gaza continue, undoubtedly many Canadians and others around the world are curious about how Gaza, a small coastal enclave only 360 square kilometres, become so isolated?

Unfortunately, a recent CBC News video broadcast on November 3 entitled: “Why doesn’t Gaza have an airport?,” which professes to address this important question, in fact raises more questions than it answers.

The narrator in the two minute-long video begins by telling viewers that “Palestinians are trapped in Gaza amid Israel’s bombing campaign,” strongly implying that it is entirely Israel that controls Gaza’s land boundaries.

However, it is only near the end of the segment that viewers see a map which delineates how Egypt controls the Rafah Crossing, one of two entry points into the Gaza Strip.

Elsewhere in the broadcast, the narrator discusses Yasser Arafat International Airport, a facility that was built in 1998 and closed in 2001 following Israeli counter-terrorism operations.

The narrator told viewers that “Yasser Arafat International Airport was completely destroyed by Israeli forces during the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising that begin in 2000 and ended five years later. The Israel Defense Forces bombed the airport’s radar tower and bulldozed the runway. It called the airport a security concern, saying it was a way to bring weapons into Gaza.”

While factual in a very superficial sense, there are a number of very serious problems with how the CBC narrator described events surrounding the airport’s closure.

Describing the Second Intifada as a “Palestinian uprising” is technically correct, but extremely misleading. An uprising may suggest protests or demonstrations, but the intifada was in fact a well-coordinated campaign of terrorism against Israel, including suicide bomb attacks, that intentionally murdered around 1,000 Israelis, mostly civilians.

During the Second Intifada, Gaza was run by Fatah, a Palestinian organization headed by Palestinian leader (the godfather of Palestinian terrorism) Yasser Arafat, which had claimed responsibility for many terrorist attacks in Israel during this period. Weapons used by groups like Fatah (and Hamas) to kill innocent Israeli civilians didn’t appear out of thin air; many were brought into Gaza, sent by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In fact, during the early 2000s, the Israeli military apprehended a number of weapons shipments bound for Gaza, with dozens of tonnes of deadly armaments.

Had the narrator provided viewers with this context, both about Fatah’s terrorism against Israel during the Second Intifada, and the extent of weapons smuggling that was clearly taking place, the public would have understood that destroying Gaza’s airport in 2001 was a consequence of Fatah’s usage of the enclave as a hotbed of terrorism, just as Hamas uses the territory today.

Near the end of the broadcast, the narrator shared that “Since then, there have been heavy restrictions on the movement of people and goods. Palestinians can’t leave Gaza. Many have spent their entire lives in the territory. That’s because Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and seaports.”

The tragic reality faced by inhabitants inside the Gaza Strip is indisputable, but it is false to suggest that Gazans cannot leave the territory because “Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and seaports.” Gaza’s crossing into Egypt is not controlled by Israel whatsoever, and Egypt could, if it so desired, allow Gazans exit into Egypt.

Just a few months before Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack, Israel was pursuing a pilot program where residents of the Gaza Strip could fly to Turkey from the Ramon Airport in southern Israel.

Residents of the Gaza Strip live in poverty and isolation from much of the outside world, and the undeniable culprit behind their suffering is Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group which has, since its takeover of the strip in a violent 2007 coup, turned Gaza into a terrorist statelet. Until Gaza is no longer under the oppressive power of a Palestinian terrorist group, residents there will continue to suffer.

As such, it is the duty and responsibility of the news media to highlight the context behind why Gaza is in the sorry state that it is.

Please send complaints also to CBC Director of Journalistic Standards, George Achi at: George.Achi@cbc.ca.

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