False ‘Israel drowns Gaza’ claims sweep internet

Palestinians take a boat through flooded streets in Gaza City, December 17, 2013 (photo credit: Wissam Nassar/Flash90)

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” Mark Twain is believed to have said.

Indeed, an annual lie about Israel flooding the Gaza Strip circled the globe this week, with newspapers making wild allegations against Jerusalem that a minute of fact-checking could have straightened out.

France’s AFP wire service posted a video showing flooding in the Gaza Strip in the wake of last week’s storm, entitled “Gaza village floods after Israel opens dam gates.”

Al Jazeera and Palestinian news agency Ma’an also reported that Israel had caused the flooding by opening dams. The official Palestinian Al Wafa news service even said Israel “pumped large amounts of rainwater into the Gaza Strip, causing tens of neighboring homes to sink, according to witnesses and media sources.”

A writer at Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper outdid the other reports, contorting herself into knots to tie the flooding in with Israel’s Electric Corporation temporarily suspending service to West Banks cities Nablus and Jenin.

“Hundreds of Palestinians left homeless after Israel opens river dam and floods houses… hours before Jewish state’s electric company cuts off power in West Bank cities,” read the initial Daily Mail headline…

The satire site Preoccupied Territory has this: Israel Quickly Hides Dams To Undermine Gaza Flood Claims

unnamedNahal Oz, Israel, February 24 – Israel Defense Force engineers are working intensively to conceal a series of dams that were opened in order to flood the Gaza Strip with rainwater, aiming to contradict news reports of the induced flooding.

Nearly three battalions of engineers and support troops are laboring around the clock as of yesterday, when Agence France-Presse first reported on the opening of the dams and the consequent deluge of parts of the besieged Gaza Strip. A concurrent deluge of PR efforts also launched to deny the existence of such dams, including hacking Google Earth’s satellite image database to erase evidence of the dams that line the Israeli border with the coastal territory…