- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 17, 2009



I wish to dispute a statistic cited in Arnaud de Borchgrave’s latest column, “Jordan’s king warns of war” (Opinion, Wednesday). Mr. de Borchgrave refers to “what happened in 2005 in Gaza, where about 8,000 settlers who had occupied 40 percent of the 130-mile strip for 38 years were forcibly evicted.” This statement roughly triples the percentage of land that Israeli settlers held in the Gaza Strip before their withdrawal in 2005. It also trims 10 square miles from the territory as a whole. According to the most accurate estimates at the time, settlers populated between 12 percent and 15 percent of the 140-square-mile territory, which included some Israeli military installations.

The Washington Post made the same error in a July 23, 2004 report and, four days later, issued a correction. The 40 percent figure, which the Post originally mentioned, included roads available to Palestinian Arabs as well as to Israelis and security zones that encompassed Arab residential areas. But Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip occupied no more than 12 percent to 15 percent of the area.

Before their withdrawal in 2005, Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip occupied between 12 percent and 15 percent - not 40 percent - of the 140 - not 130 - square miles of territory.


Washington director

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America


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