Monday, September 15, 2014

15-Sep-14: Diplomatic incident on Israel's Gaza border involving semi-trailers

We see from his Twitter account that Australia's energetic ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, is paying a visit to Kerem Shalom, the optimistically-named 'Vineyard of Peace' terminal through which goods-laden trucks pass between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Israel.

Ambassador Sharma writes:

Amazing is a word that actually applies well to the actions of any public figure willing to acknowledge the fundamental fairness of Israel's conduct in its war against the forces of darkness and barbarism rooted in miserable Gaza.

Australian ambassador
at Kerem Shalom today
[Image Source: Twitter]
With the smallest degree of fanfare, Sharma - born in Canada and Australia's youngest-ever ambassador at the time he was appointed - has been quietly conveying appreciation for aspects of life here that get little exposure.

A year ago, for instance, he penned an article ["Israeli compassion amidst the atrocities"] for the Times of Israel in which he focused on the very substantial good being done for fleeing, often grotesquely injured, Syrians - victims of one of the largest current instances of Arab-on-Arab savagery - in one of Israel's periphery towns:
At Ziv Hospital they get the best medical care on offer to any Israeli, from surgeons and physicians who are quite literally the best in their field, having authored textbooks on the treatment of injuries from armed conflict... Ziv Hospital is a profound example of humanity and decency at its most compelling. It is Israel at its very best, and a side of Israel that the world too rarely sees or acknowledges. With all the tales of human woe and misery that continue to emerge from Syria, such small stories of hope should be cherished. [Dave Sharma, Times of Israel, August 28, 2013]
And did we say energetic? Last month, the Australian diplomat took a spill while participating in a bike ride in the Judaean Hills. This afforded him an inside look at a different Israeli medical facility:
If the diplomatic corps working in Israel were made of this kind of material, Israel's foreign relations might have a different look to them.

A few words about what the existence and daily reality of Kerem Shalom means in the ongoing reality of a rocket-rich, armed-to-the-teeth Gaza on a perpetual jihadist-war-footing. We visited Kerem Shalom in September 2012, took a close look at the two-way traffic passing through it, and wrote here ["28-Oct-12: What lies behind ongoing efforts to paint Gaza as a region under Israeli siege?"] about the powerful but misleading 'Poor Gaza is a victim of Israeli cruelty' meme that distorts much of the media discussion about what does and does not happen down there. 

Another of our posts ["4-Mar-13: Trucks filled with food and essential goods are lined up outside Gaza. Would it surprise you to know the role that money plays in this?"], points to how the inner circle of Hamas fat cats have done stunningly well via the restrictive importation policies over which they preside and the wealth it generates for them. The price is, of course, paid by the largely impoverished Gazans living under the Hamas jackboots.

It turns out, when you look more closely than most journalists and analysts do, that in fact a good deal of the daily pain experienced by 
Gaza's ordinary Palestinian Arabs is a direct function of money-centred decisions made by Hamas insiders. Lovers of simple black-and-white oppressor -v- oppressed narratives 'explaining' the Israel/Arab conflict have difficulty accepting this, But life is messy and usually made up of shades of grey. What can you do? Thankfully, decent men like Dave Sharma help us remember that.

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