Letter to the Editor of the New York Times,
“Subcontracting Repression in the West Bank and Gaza” published November 26, 2014, relies on disproven and faulty statistics when it sites “a Ramallah-based prisoners’ rights organization estimates that the Israeli authorities have arrested a cumulative total of about 800,000 Palestinians since the 1967 war.” If this claim, originating from the Palestinian NGO Addameer, is to be believed, since 1967, 17,500 new prisoners would have to be detained by Israel annually. Even at the height of the Palestinian terror campaign in 2002, the number of Palestinian prisoners averaged around 5000 at any one time. Moreover, given that many of these prisoners were sentenced to multiple year terms or were repeat offenders, the same individuals are included in the figures for each year. Further, Addameer’s estimation grew from 700,000 in 2008 to 800,000 in 2014, suggesting that Israel imprisoned 100,000 new prisoners in a span of 6 years. This would be an average of over 16,000 people annually, more than triple the average during the Second Intifada. Addameer’s claimed statistics should be dismissed as propaganda. They are not consistent with the professional standards of The New York Times.
Professor Gerald Steinberg is president of NGO Monitor, and professor of political science at Bar Ilan University.
President, NGO Monitor