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The presenter of a Channel Four documentary about Gaza has said that the local [Gazan] population would not recognise the portrayal of the area in much of the UK media as war-torn. Seyi Rhodes travelled to the Gaza Strip in February to film an episode of Unreported World. But rather than reporting on a region torn apart by conflict, the programme focuses on the property market and booming construction taking place there. Mr Rhodes said the experience confounded his expectations. "Before I started researching, I thought the region was destitute - people living literally hand-to-mouth on aid, with constant security threats. I took it for granted that people would be living in temporary accommodation provided by the UN." In fact, he found "a growing wealth gap", with ordinary families struggling even to rent but new flats being sold for up to $3 million to wealthy Palestinians with money from abroad or from jobs with the Hamas government. "As a left-wing student, I was given one view of Gaza/Palestine," said Mr Rhodes. "But I realise now that many of those representations were entirely politically motivated. Even Gazans wouldn't recognise the image that is portrayed of them sometimes. The woman crying over her dead son, the man throwing stones at tanks."The streaming video of Channel Four's program is here. Watching it will not change the world for anyone, but it's likely to add a different dimension for those who read about "the desperation of Gaza's plight" [February 2013], and the unabashed polemics of "Noam Chomsky: My Visit to Gaza, the World's Largest Open-Air Prison" [November 2012] and others.
He added that such stereotypes were "frankly offensive as most of these people live their lives with the same concerns as you and me… getting on the housing ladder, educating your children. People didn't even talk about Israel unless I brought it up."
Some snapshots from the "other" Gaza, the one where those construction materials that the wicked Israelis prevent from arriving somehow manage to arrive. Paradise? No, but nor is this a story about an open-air prison.
|Gaza City’s first big budget five-star hotel, the Arcmed Al Mashtal|
|The Al Deira Hotel in Gaza is also five-star and built with adobe bricks. |
And below, Gaza's Al Azhar University