|Metro Supermarket's meat department, Al Shuhadaa St., Al Remal|
Gaza. Phone orders to +970-8-284-6006 [Image Source]
"has the advantage both of appearing to be a victim rather than aggressor, and of giving your struggle the very highest religious priority for all good Muslims" [Source: "Islamic Terrorism", Wikipedia]Case in point: an extraordinarily superficial and misleading essay penned by a 21 year-old Palestinian Arab business student. It was published this past Friday on the Al-Monitor website (slogan: "The Pulse of the Middle East") under the title "Israeli Goods Flood Gaza".
You thought Gaza is doing better, with the shelves of the supermarkets groaning with abundant, high quality and affordable products? Of course it's not. The world's largest concentration camp is actually worse off now. Listen up:
On the surface, everyone seems to be normally going about their daily lives, but even purchasing behaviors are controlled by Israel... First-time visitors are usually lured by this façade of normalcy. Many wonder how a territory under siege can have all that it has, and the supermarket example is often cited to prove that the blockade is not as bad as is often publicized in the media... It is important to note that life under siege does not mean that the population in question is necessarily starving. However, it necessarily means that this population constitutes a huge consumer market to its jailer - Israel in this case. The Palestinian people in Gaza are forced to import and buy Israeli goods. With Israel's restrictions on local production and its more-than-once bombardment of Palestinian factories, it has become almost impossible for the besieged population to use available resources for local production. [more]There's much that is disturbing about the picture painted by the college-age writer, not least that she fails to mention even once any of the words Egypt, terror, Hamas, Fatah, Mahmoud or Abbas. Nor does she find space to fit in any of the words energy, effort, try, sacrifice, plan, honesty or truth.
Also, not a word here about the astronomic amounts of money fed into Gaza and the West Bank from foreign donors. Nothing about the unique for-Palestinian-Arabs-only social welfare and quasi-employment agency called UNRWA. And silence about the Arab potentates with their stupefying levels of oil-based wealth and perpetual amnesia when it comes to putting their hands in their robes to match the funding that comes to their Palestinian Arab brothers and cousins from the West.
What we have here is a classic paean to the noble pursuit of painting yourself and the society around you as pathetic. What's more, it leaves readers in little doubt that no one can do anything to help since, as the writer explains (absurdly), the Israelis are manning all the entries and exits:
The Palestinian people in Gaza are forced to import and buy Israeli goods... Israel, which denies the Palestinian people in the occupied territories the right to vote in the country's elections, controls what they eat and how they furnish their houses... It results in deteriorated living conditions and forced consumerism of the besieged population. Moreover, Israel's siege has cut Gaza off from the rest of Palestine and the world.[Can we also give a plug to Elder of Ziyon's excellent analysis of the same Al-Monitor essay? It's here.]
So now a quick and rude jump from narcissistic ideologically-enhanced Palestinian self-pity and across to the slightly-more-real world in which black-and-white problems tend to be seen as considerably more grey and gritty.
In today's Haaretz, Jack Houry writes about the role being played by Egypt, the Hamas regime's big brother:
Hamas: Egypt destroying Gaza smuggling tunnels by flooding themYes, we know: reality can be messy. That's why we strongly recommend reading articles like those we have posted here ["30-Aug-12: How close to hell is Gaza? Depends whom you want to believe", for instance; and "27-Jan-13: Hamas' new army of children: Will the UN's and foreign funders' role in this scandal be critiqued by the news-reporting media?"] to give just two of many examples, in preference to those fact-light nonsense pieces that are propagated far too widely on the web by people with terrorism-friendly agendas.
Haaretz | Feb.11, 2013 | 1:10 AM
The Egyptian army has been destroying smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Sinai, said Palestinians who build them. The Egyptians have been flooding them, they said. On its website, Hamas quotes both the owner of a tunnel and an Egyptian security official as saying that Egypt is reinforcing its troops on the border with the Gaza Strip, and that it has halted smuggling through most of the tunnels. The Egyptian army also has begun flooding the tunnels that were rebuilt after Israel destroyed them during Operation Pillar of Defense, the sources quoted by Hamas said. Water is considered a particularly effective and relatively inexpensive way to shut down the tunnels. Unlike using explosives, this method does not involve weapons or endanger surrounding areas. Flooded tunnels collapse, as happened when tunnels flooded amid the stormy weather earlier last month. Three men were killed while working in a tunnel when it flooded due to the weather. According to information given to the Hamas website, Egypt's army destroyed tunnels leading to the Rafah neighborhoods of al-Barazil and al-Salam on the Palestinian side, reported Hamas on its site. The Egyptian soldiers are not allowing farmers to approach the area, it added. The Egyptian army has increased its deployment along its border with the Gaza Strip and has been targeting smugglers since August 5, 2012, when 16 Egyptian border police were killed in a terror attack on the border. A Palestinian official told Haaretz that Egypt's destruction of the tunnels is in keeping with the agreement to maintain calm reached between Hamas and Israel after Operation Pillar of Defense. The Egyptians has become a party to the agreement, not just intermediaries, the official said.