Sunday, March 05, 2017

05-Mar-17: What Gaza's Pal Arabs think about the electricity problems in Gaza

Seeking an energy solution in chilly, dark Gaza, January 2017
[Image Source: Aljazeera]
Buried deep inside an opinion poll report just published by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre is a real nugget.

JMCC's website says [here] the Ramallah-based organization was
established in 1988 by a group of Palestinian journalists and researchers seeking to provide information on what was happening in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Every few months, it publishes public opinion polls. The one we are discussing in this post was released for publication four days ago, on March 1, 2017. The next most recent one came out on October 9, 2016 - five months earlier.

To understand the context of what we're about to say, consider these recent news reports:
  • Gaza Strip - Anger is growing among Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip as the narrow coastal enclave's electricity crisis deepens. An estimated 10,000 Palestinians flooded the streets in Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza last week, after more than a week of lengthy power cuts. In many parts of Gaza, residents received only three hours of electricity at a time, punctuated by 12-hour blackouts. Protesters expressed anger at Israel's blockade, and at the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Hamas authorities in Gaza. Demanding a solution to the power cuts, some demonstrators clashed with security forces. Speaking to local media on Monday, Gaza's Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzm said that protesters arrested for "creating chaos" had been released after an agreement between various political factions. Nearly two million Palestinians in Gaza have endured electricity shortages since Israel, with the help of Egypt, imposed a suffocating blockade on the territory a decade ago. The electricity crisis has been exacerbated since Israel's 51-day war on Gaza in 2014, during which the main power plant was targeted and damaged by Israeli forces... ["Protests erupt in Gaza as electricity crisis deepens", Aljazeera, January 21, 2017]
  • Gaza requires 450-500 MegaWatts of power a day but is receiving barely a third of that. About 30 MW produced by its own ageing power plant, 30 MW imported from Egypt and 120 MW supplied from Israel... For weeks, Gazans have been making do with less than half their usual electricity supply - barely a few hours a day - with no sign of the shortages alleviating anytime soon, fuelling distress and frustration among the population... [S]ince late last year, there have been only three or four hours of electricity a day in total. The costs of running generators have spiralled. People are trying to light and heat their homes with candles or by burning scrap wood. Families wake in the middle of the night, when the power sometimes comes on, to take showers or wash clothes. "We live like rats," said Mazen Abu Reyala, an unemployed fisherman and father of five, sitting around a primitive stove that he uses to warm his house... ["Energy crisis leaves Gaza with barely four hours of power a day", Reuters, January 12, 2017]
  • ["Gaza electricity crisis: Hamas breaks up protest", BBC. January 13, 2017]
  • ["Israel cannot shirk its responsibility for Gaza’s electricity crisis", B'Tselem (far-left Israeli protest group), January 16, 2017]
Now consider the results of JMCC's rather inadequately named "Poll No. 89 - February 2017 - Gender, Equality and Politics" In the full text version of its analysis, it touches on Gazan anger at those responsible for the electric power power fiasco that is making hard lives even more stressful. And it gives numbers:

Source: JMCC Poll Number 89 (published March 1, 2017) [Online here]
Interesting. Look at the "Gaza" column, which reflects the opinions of the direct victims of the Hamas regime, those closest to the problem and suffering the most. Half of them lay the blame not at the feet of the Israelis but at the doorstep of their lords, masters and oppressors, the Islamist ideologues of Hamas.

When did you ever read or hear that via conventional news channels?

Notice also that Palestinian Arabs living far from Gaza (the column headed "West Bank") and who have essentially no first-hand knowledge or experience of living under the Hamas regime are twice as sure as their Gazan brethren (who do) that Israel is to blame.

Also interesting: if you read JMCC's poll summary (as distinct from the detailed report), there's not a word in it about the electricity crisis. Check for yourself; the summary report is online here. We're certain most reporters and their editors didn't bother to delve into the details. The summary met their needs. And so they missed a serious insight. And so did the consumers of their news.

Our friends over at the excellent Israellycool noticed something else funny/outrageous about social media coverage of the Gazan electricity screw-up. In "B’Tselem Caught In Malicious (And Dumb) Lie" (February 28, 2017), Israellycool's moving spirit, Aussie Dave, published a heart-tugging photo of an attractive young "medical student in Gaza [who] studies by the light of a battery-powered lamp... How does life without electricity, 90 minutes from Tel-Aviv, look like?" The photo and the accompanying text had been published by the ever-enthusiastic campaigners at B'Tselem.

Leaving aside the clumsy English (they have higher priorities at B'Tselem), if you take a close look at the "battery-powered" lamp, you quickly notice - unless you're as obsessed with simplistic anti-Israel narratives as B'Tselem's lot are - that it's not. The lamp is plugged into a wall power socket.

(And remember this earlier Gazan attempt [here] from 2008 at pulling the shades over people's eyes? Reuters played a central role in that scam too.)

Truth is often boring and shaded in grey. But that doesn't exonerate any of us from seeking it - even in the dark and the gloom. And that's especially true of the ladies and gentlemen of the news-reporting industry.


Anonymous said...

For those who don't know, the Israeli public has been subsidizing the power costs of the PA and Gaza because the Hamas and PA leaders refuse to pay their bills. Finally the power to them has been reduced, when for all other customers, it normally would be shut off altogether if customers refused to pay. It's also just been published that Israeli taxpayers are footing the bill for the hospitalization costs of Gazans and other "Palestinians". Yet the world condemns us with false charges of genocide and apartheid. It seems the truth is not a valued item anymore. Upside down world. If the PA ever really got a state, they couldn't survive without Israel's help. What would be the point of that? They should be sent to the Sinai and made to fend for themselves. They'd soon be begging to come back to Israel.

Catherine said...

If the world is already believing the false charges/etc, then Israel should just cut off their subsidizing. Why is Isreal feeding the enemy???