Lavish 'Gaza' Mall Is Actually in Malaysia, Israeli Military Admits

Israeli military apologizes for a photograph on its English-language blog, which was incorrectly represented as a mall in Gaza, describing it as an honest mistake.

Oded Yaron
Oded Yaron
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Oded Yaron
Oded Yaron

The Israel Defense Forces apologized Thursday for publishing an image of a mall in Malaysia with a caption falsely describing it as being located in the Gaza Strip.

The incorrect caption, which was posted alongside a photo on its English-language blog, was described by the IDF as an honest mistake.

The blog post resembled a tourism brochure that was meant to counter claims that Gaza is facing a humanitarian crisis. “Despite what you may hear from the media, Gaza is not an open-air prison,” the blog post said.

“This summer, Gazans are out in force, enjoying themselves in beautiful beaches and hotels, and doing their shopping in pristine grocery stores and markets heaving with fresh produce,” it continued.

The blog post included, alongside the photograph of the mall, images of fancy hotels, and young Gazans playing on the beach or enjoying the nightlife scene.

The true location of the mall was revealed by online media outlet Electronic Intifada, which said it was in fact the Suria KLCC Mall in Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Petronas Towers.

Following an inquiry by Haaretz, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit apologized on its Twitter account for the misleading caption and photograph, saying it was “a mistake made in good conscience."

"When the mistake was revealed, the picture was taken down," the spokesperson's unit said, adding, "It is important to note that the post contained 17 accurate pictures which properly reflected the subject in question.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit is not the only one to post pictures incorrectly described as being taken in Gaza. During Operation Pillar of Defense, Palestinian media outlets and social media websites published pictures they claimed had been taken in Gaza. One case involved a picture of a dead child published by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing. Later, an Israeli citizen proved the photograph was actually taken in Syria a few weeks earlier.

A screenshot of the photograph of the Malaysian mall on the IDF blog before it was taken down as a mistake.
Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Credit: Reuters

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