This article was originally published in The Jewish Chronicle on March14, 2008.
Aid organisations have published a correction to a case study used in a report last week denouncing Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
The document, The Gaza Strip: a Humanitarian Crisis, issued by Christian Aid, Oxfam, Save the Children and five other non-governmental organisations, highlighted the plight in particular of one Palestinian in Gaza called Munir. He is quoted as saying that the Israelis would not allow him to travel to Jordan to receive medical treatment for thyroid cancer.
But this week Oxfam posted a correction on its website to explain that, by the time of the report’s launch, Munir had been to Jordan for treatment.
Its statement said: "Thanks to high-level Jordanian intervention, he reached Jordan for the treatment he desperately needs. This came to light after the report had been finalised and circulated and a matter of hours before its publishing time of 00:01 on Thursday March 6."
It went on: "Yet the fact remains that Munir’s crucial cancer treatment was delayed for six months, during which time his cancer spread from his thyroid to other parts of his body, and his mental and physical health deteriorated.
"We remain convinced that Munir’s story is a good example of how lack of access to vital medical treatment is affecting ordinary people’s lives."
John Davison, head of media at Christian Aid, confirmed that the new information emerged on the eve of the launch. "It only came to light because of a media request to interview him," he said. "People tried to find him and realised he wasn’t there any more."
He said it was "highly regrettable that it [the report] did appear before being properly checked before it went to press, but it was used in good faith".
But in response, Bicom (the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre) this week criticised the "NGO blame game". It said: "Those that really seek to alleviate poverty and help bring an end to the conflict need to do more than produce a pejorative report which fails to examine Hamas’s key role in engineering Gaza’s current plight."