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February 23, 2015 10:41 pm

Watchdog Rips AFP for False Report Claiming Israel Flooded Gaza Areas by Opening Dams

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The AFP headquarters in Paris. Photo: Wikipedia.

Media watchdog CAMERA has blasted the Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency after it ran a story claiming that recent flooding in Gaza was caused by the opening of dams by Israeli authorities.

“In fact, Israel has no dams that can be opened in southern Israel,” the watchdog said.

The story, which AFP posted with an accompanying video entitled  “Gaza village flooded as Israel opens dam gates” was also carried by media mouthpieces of Iran, Qatar, Russia, China and the Palestinian Authority as well as the UK‘s Daily Mail.

In a blog on its website, CAMERA cited a spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) in Israel who said, “The claim is entirely false, and southern Israel does not have any dams. Due to the recent rain, streams were flooded throughout the region with no connection to actions taken by the State of Israel.”

The spokesman added: “Prior to the storm, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories allowed the transfer of four water pumps belonging to the Palestinian Water Authority from Israel into Gaza to supplement the 13 pumps already in the Gaza Strip in dealing with any potential flooding throughout the area.”

CAMERA also spoke to Nechemia Shahaf, the head of the Drainage Authority for the Shakma-Besor Region, who confirmed to the group that there are no dams which can be opened and closed in southern Israel. Shahaf said, “There is a diverting dam one meter high which directs water to reservoirs. This is a low dam which cannot be opened or closed.” He also noted that the singular dam, which cannot be opened, is next to Kibbutz Gvulot, and approximately 20 kilometers away from Gaza.

The watchdog said that it has contacted AFP editors and that the French wire service is a repeat offender.

AFP “has trouble passing up on a juicy story, however unsubstantiated and flimsy, accusing Israel of wrongdoing. Three years ago, the influential news agency refused to clarify the unsubstantiated allegation that an Israeli soldier ran over a Palestinian worker with a construction vehicle,” CAMERA said. “Later that year, AFP editors failed to correct the false claim that an Israeli airstrike had killed 11-year-old Mahmoud Sadallah, though multiple other media outlets responsibly clarified that it was Hamas weaponry that killed the boy.”

“Two months ago, the French news outlet declined to clarify an article claiming that an Israeli arsonist was responsible for a fire in a West Bank mosque, though the Associated Press, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Haaretz all commendably followed up with reports and/or corrections noting that an Israeli investigation determined that it was an electrical fire.”

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  • “The story[about flood], which AFP posted with an accompanying video entitled “Gaza village flooded as Israel opens dam gates” was also carried by media mouthpieces of Iran, Qatar, Russia, China and the Palestinian Authority as well as the UK‘s Daily Mail.”
    You may understand that Russia (and unfortunately China) is the same enemy (sometimes masked for friend) as Iran and “Palestinian Authority”.
    The main and fatal mistake of Israel is that it helps its enemies. I remember delivering (artificial) snow to the Russian Olympic, and now with pumps to Gaza. It is worse than madness, I have no words. All good things Israel does will be turned as bad things. For example, somebody from enemies would write that Israel grabed or closed or the like those four pumps. Everything would be upside down. Don’t help your enemies, Israel!

  • Michelle D

    Can’t win, they say we steal their water, then when they get loads of water (which they say we gave them), they still moan! Never happy 🙂

  • Fred

    International Media is amateur. Gutter professionalism.
    The main ingredient of journalism : transparency, honesty, integrity & truth have been buried long ago. The model of international journalism is Hitlers “Der Stuermer” mob & inciter journalism.

  • With AFP, France TV ,Euronews ,etc stoking anti-Semitism, you realize how hollow the president’s words are about anti-Semitism in France.

  • Well… this stinks. Now Israel will be accused of NOT having dams near Gaza that could have averted the flooding.

    • Beth

      I was wondering if the AFP is learning from Fox News or if Fox News is learning to lie from the AFP. But either way one is as bad as the other.

      • Magnum

        You know it’s a drone if it can’t post without including one of the following three words: Bush, Fox, tea.

  • Leonie Lachmish

    The old song couldn’t be truer: There ain’t nothin’ like a dam, NOTHING IN THE WORLD…

  • Mudar Zahran

    How can many of those so called journalist report on Gaza when malt of them are tucked into five star hotels in Jerusalem?
    It took two months to interview Gazans over the phone and skype despite being in the West Bank and speaking to their relatives at that time….how could those journalists report stories when they have never been to Gaza or have stayed there for a few hours?

  • MO

    MSN actually picked up on this story and posted it on their website…it has since been removed.

  • Elliott

    Well, didn’t they recently publish a report about how the Jews control the weather, and are therefore responsible for Climate Change, as part of their ongoing masterplan for maintaining world domination over the poor Christians and Moslems?

    • Leonie Lachmish

      They would publish such a report but, you know, “the Jews own/ control the media”, so they’re not letting that information out. That’s supposedly why the media is so pro-Israel. Ask any anti-semite… sorry, ask any anti-Zionist!

    • Nina

      I would be more concerned about what is happening in your own backyard…http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Frequency_Active_Auroral_Research_Program

  • G Feldman

    No doubt when it eventually rains in these deserts, the path of the accumulated water flows into the channels cutting through the earth with tremendous force. Anything caught in path of these waters has little, if any, chance of survival. Tantamount to being caught in a garbage disposal. When you come to the realization that these tunnels they are digging are leading upwards into Israel, one might also conclude: anything caught in the torrent, was ground up and disposed of at the lowest entrance. Imagine having to explain those remains to their families? Sort of like Pharaoh claiming the Jews were responsible for him losing his army at the Red Sea.. Hallelujah, I think I feel a song coming on..

  • Eric R.

    Israel should arrest the reporter of this fabrication and jail them on incitement and hate crimes charges.

    AFP should also be completely expelled from the country, and in future wars, their people should be targeted in Gaza, Judea/Samaria, and Lebanon.

  • Howie Subnick

    Israel open dams to flood Gaza? Not on your life! “IF” they opened said dams, you know damned well they would plant thousands of trees. God Bless Israel!

    • Leonie Lachmish

      So true. Israel has made the desert bloom and continues to do so. 🙂

  • Amazing that the BBC didn’t jump on this wonderful story! Something they missed! As for the Daily Mail, this is the paper that ran the headline “Hurrah for the blackshirts!”

  • steven L

    AFP a mouth piece for BLATANT antisemitism! They don’t care because they deal with civilized people. they are cowards because they will never dare to do the same to Islamists who would kill them at once.

  • dante

    afp = disgusting bigots who, in the interest of hurling a libel against Israel, will fabricate the facts. IF THE FRENCH GOVT IS SERIOUS ABOUT COMBATING ANTI-SEMITISM, THEY CAN START WITH the contemptible swine at afp.

  • Joel

    Goebels all over again!!!

  • Yale

    I would call attention to this report from AFP and link it to the absence of any dams that could be used for this purpose, and then ridicule AFP for being taken by someone who thinks AFP is stupid.

    • Lynne T

      There is no taking AFP editors for fools necessary. They are biased enough to accept stories like this without corroborating evidence and just hope they won’t get caught.