Archive for the ‘Israel and electricity for Gaza’ category

Living in the Gaza Strip isn’t so bad, despite what Gazan protesters say

May 18, 2018

by Michael Rubin | May 14, 2018 03:57 PM Washington Examiner

Source Link: Living in the Gaza Strip isn’t so bad, despite what Gazan protesters say

{Something you’ll never hear about in the mainstream media. If you really want to blow your mind about life in Gaza, check out the following BONUS link from our friends in the ‘Down Under’. – LS}

Bonus Link: Luxury in the world’s largest prison

Israeli forces reportedly killed 52 Gazan protesters along the border fence amid violent protests. The Palestinian Authority called the killings a “terrible massacre” and the United National Human Rights Council called for the Israelis responsible to face justice. South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel until the occupation of Gaza ends (seemingly unaware that happened 13 years ago).

Let’s put aside the fact that the same activists condemning Israel for defending itself against Hamas were largely silent when the Syrian government destroyed a Palestinian refugee camp last month. And let’s also ignore that while the world blames Israel for the Gaza siege, Egypt also shares a border with the Gaza Strip and allows far less humanitarian transit.

Eight years ago, against the backdrop of a Turkish-sponsored flotilla to bust Israel’s blockade of Gaza, Washington Post columnist George Will noted the irony that Turkey was sponsoring the Gaza flotilla at a time when Gazans enjoyed higher life expectancy and had better health than Turks. While the situation in Gaza is far from ideal, some perspective is necessary: In terms of health and welfare, the plight of Gazans today is far better than those living in many other countries.

Take, for example, life expectancy at birth. According to the CIA’s World Fact Book, Gazans born today can expect to live 74.2 years. That’s higher than Peru, Iran, Brazil, Jamaica, Ukraine, Russia, India, and more than 90 other countries.

The pattern is more the rule than the exception. Consider infant mortality. In Gaza, it is 16.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. That’s better than Pakistan, Ethiopia, Senegal, India, South Africa, and several dozen other countries.

Youth unemployment in the Gaza Strip is bad, but young Gazans are still more likely to find jobs than young South Africans, Bosnians, or Greeks.

The economy is still a problem. The Gaza Strip leads the world in gross domestic product decline, but then again, its decline is inversely proportional to the money which Hamas spends on rockets and other systems of terror. It can be hard to make ends meet anywhere in the world, but consumer price inflation is less in the Gaza Strip than in Egypt, Argentina, Turkey, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Cell phone penetration in Gaza is greater than in much of Africa, and more Gazans use the Internet than Lithuanians. If the Gazan leadership wanted, they could transform their territory into a regional Singapore. That they choose not to is no one’s responsibility but their own.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, leaving behind intact infrastructure capable of supporting a number of industries and to employ thousands. Rather than accept Israeli largesse, the Palestinians in Gaza destroyed greenhouses and tens of millions of dollars in other structures. Simultaneously, the international community has donated more to the Palestinians on a per capita basis than to any other people on earth. Palestinians may seek to ascribe current suffering to Israeli actions, but Palestinians have agency and, for more than a decade, have emphasized terror over welfare.

The situation in Gaza is tragic, but it’s important to keep perspective: Life for the average Gazan is far better than for the average South African, Egyptian, or Russian. That may not be the story told by press and self-described human rights activists, but World Bank and U.N. statistics do not lie.

If the international community truly wanted to help Gazans, perhaps the best way would be to hold their own government to account rather than a neighboring democracy which no longer occupies the Gaza Strip and which has allowed sufficient aid and assistance through to give Gazans far better opportunities than many Turks, Russians, and Egyptians enjoy. Let’s hope journalists and diplomats fact-check protesters, because to buy into Hamas propaganda is to endorse the tactics Hamas embraces in the Gaza Strip and to ensure terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere replicate them.

Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.

 

As Gaza hospitals suffer shortages, Hamas refuses Israeli medical aid

May 16, 2018


The Israeli army prepares a shipment of medical supplies for the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2018. The Hamas terrorist group, which rules the coastal enclave, later refused to accept the equipment and sent it back.

Two trucks of supplies from the IDF entered the Strip but were returned after ruling terror group saw they were from Israel

By Judah Ari Gross and AP Times of Israel

Source Link: As Gaza hospitals suffer shortages, Hamas refuses Israeli medical aid

{Question: How many Palestinians does it take to screw in a light bulb?  Answer: None….they would rather sit in the dark and blame Israel. – LS}

The Hamas terrorist group on Wednesday refused to accept two shipments of medical supplies for Gaza hospitals, which are struggling with shortages, after seeing they were sent by Israel, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians said.

On Tuesday, Israel facilitated the entrance of eight trucks full of medical equipment into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which reopened earlier that day after it was burned by Palestinian rioters last Friday.

Four of the shipments were from the Palestinian Authority, two from the United Nations Children’s Fund and two were provided by the Israel Defense Forces’ Technological and Logistics Directorate.

According to Israel, the IDF shipments included IV fluids, bandages, pediatric equipment and disinfectants, as well as fuel for hospital generators.

However, on Wednesday morning, after the trucks passed through the crossing, Hamas officials saw that the two shipments from Israel had labels identifying them as coming from the IDF and sent them back, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories liaison unit.

“Hamas officials checked the trucks, saw that there were IDF stickers on the medications and said they were not prepared to accept medicine with IDF labels on it,” said a COGAT spokesperson.

The six shipments from the PA and UNICEF were accepted.

The Hamas-led organizers of the Palestinian protests along the Gaza border confirmed that they would not accept medicine “from the murderers of our people,” despite the widespread shortages of medical supplies in the coastal enclave.

The terrorist group accused Israel of “trying to improve its black image” by sending the humanitarian aid.

In the wake of mass riots Monday on the Gaza border, already strained hospitals in the beleaguered coastal enclave have struggled to provide treatment to the more than 1,500 patients that the Hamas-run health ministry says were injured in the clashes.

According to the Hamas ministry, 60 Palestinians were killed along the border on Monday, including several Hamas members who were shot dead in direct clashes with IDF soldiers.

In total, Israeli security forces have identified at least 24 of the people killed as known members of terrorist groups, mainly Hamas and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Israel has not put out its own official death toll, but some have questioned the accuracy of the Hamas-provided figure. For instance, a Gazan doctor told the Associated Press that an 8-month-old baby, who the Gaza ministry said died after inhaling Israeli tear gas on Monday, had a preexisting medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas.

Even before the latest round of bloodshed, Gaza’s health system of 13 public hospitals and 14 clinics run by NGOs had been buckling under persistent blockade-linked shortages of medicines and surgical supplies.

According to the IDF, the two trucks that were turned away contained thousands of units of IV fluid, beds, hospital gowns, IV fluid stands, thousands of bandages and thousands of units of antiseptic chemicals.

“Hamas basically said it would rather get no equipment than get aid from Israel,” the COGAT official said.

On Tuesday, Palestinian officials also refused to allow trucks loaded with goods into the Gaza Strip through the newly reopened Kerem Shalom Crossing.

Shipments of medical supplies, food and diapers arrived at the crossing on Tuesday morning. But officials on the Palestinian side said they could only allow through the medical supplies and sent back 14 trucks full of food and diapers, The Times of Israel learned.

It was not immediately clear why the border officials, who are employed by the Palestinian Authority, would not accept the shipments.

Israel had closed the crossing late last week in order to assess and repair significant damage caused by rioters there last Friday evening.

On Monday night — hours after Gazans again ransacked the facility — the army announced that Israel would be reopening Kerem Shalom on Tuesday.

“Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved the recommendation of the Israel Defense Forces and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to reopen the Kerem Shalom Crossing tomorrow,” the army said in a statement.

The crossing, near the Egyptian border, serves as the main entry point for commercial goods and humanitarian aid into the coastal enclave, which has been subject to a strict blockade by both Israel and Egypt for the past 11 years that is meant to prevent terrorist groups from bringing weapons into the Strip.

While the crossing reopened on Tuesday, it will only be able to function at a partial capacity in light of substantial damage caused to the facility, including to the fuel lines — the only way to bring diesel and gasoline into Gaza in significant quantities.

Palestinian rioters set fire to the Gaza Strip’s Kerem Shalom Crossing on May 14, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

On Sunday night, the United Nations said an alternative way of getting fuel to Gaza must be found urgently, warning of dwindling supplies needed to run hospitals, pick up garbage, pump water and treat sewage.

Palestinian rioters ransacked the crossing for the third time in two weeks on Monday, toward the end of the violent mass protests along the border, the army said.

The Israel Defense Forces said around 40,000 Gazans participated in “unprecedentedly” violent riots along the security fence on Monday. The protests, which Israel said were spurred by Hamas seeking to carry out terror attacks, saw multiple cases of shots fired at Israeli troops and several unsuccessful attempts to breach the border.

IDF soldiers responded with tear gas and, in some cases, live fire. Israel faced immediate international backlash and accusations of excessive force. The army maintains that its soldiers adhered to rigidly defined rules of engagement and only used live rounds as a last resort.

Rioters first attacked the crossing on May 4. They broke through the gates and, apparently believing they were in Israeli territory, set fire to the fuel lines, according to Israeli officials. In actuality, they were on the Palestinian side of the crossing.

One week later, another group of some 200 people broke into the Palestinian side of the crossing, following that day’s border protests.

However, according to Israeli officials, the Hamas terrorist group directed this attack on the crossing. Its operatives instructed rioters “what to do, where to go,” a senior COGAT officer told reporters on Sunday.

The rioters again set fire to the fuel terminal. They also torched a specially designed conveyor belt used to bring raw construction material into Gaza and wrecked two other conveyor belts used to transport animal feed.

Israeli and Palestinian officials estimate that it will take at least several weeks to bring the fuel lines and conveyor belts back online.

 

Suffering to Purchase Sympathy

June 25, 2017

Suffering to Purchase Sympathy, Clarion ProjectElliot Friedland, June 25, 2017

(Please see also, Illuminating Gaza, which suggests satirically that Hamas relinquish some of its weapons for electricity:

For example, what if Israel agreed to provide Hamas with 2 MWh for every stockpiled Qassam rocket turned over to us? They have thousands of these, which could keep the lights on for weeks. Not to mention longer-range rockets, which would be worth more. And tunnels – I’m sure we would be happy to give them a whole day’s worth of electricity for the precise location of a terror tunnel. Just give us the coordinates and we’ll do the rest! Anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons are valuable, too. A nice shoulder-fired SAM is probably worth 10 MWh. Even rifles and mortar shells could help keep the juice flowing.

— DM)

Hamas fighters in Gaza. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

The choices made by Palestinian leaders are deliberately spurring on a crisis over electricity for their own benefit, with Palestinians as the victims.

Here’s the crisis explained in brief:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, himself a dictator (since he cancelled elections after becoming president in 2005) has informed Israel that he will no longer pay for electricity to Gaza. He made the decision because Hamas is unable to pay for its electricity anymore.

This electricity is provided on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza by the Israeli electric company. Abbas asked Israel to cut power to the Gaza Strip since he decided not to foot the bill. Israel complied, reducing electricity supply by 40 percent.

News of the cuts spread internationally. Since Gaza consists of a small area where two million people live, a humanitarian disaster is in the making. Gaza’s power plant has already been shut down since April, again because of unpaid bills by Hamas, so the territory already only had power for around four hours a day.

Egypt stepped in on Thursday to ease the crisis, sending one million liters of fuel to restart Gaza’s power plant.

However this measure is only a temporary stop gap measure, and the crisis will reemerge when the fuel is used up.

What Does This Have to Do With Anything?

Gaza’s electricity crisis is symptomatic of a broader policy of Islamist terror factions, in general, and Hamas, in particular. Understanding and refusing to engage in this manipulative cycle is essential to defeating these groups and essential for ending the cycle of deprivation hitting those living in areas controlled by jihadis.

How does the cycle work? It can be loosely broken up into three stages:

1.Spend all the money on terrorism.

Hamas collects 100 million shekels ($29,000,000) a year in taxes from residents in Gaza. It has also been given hundreds of million dollars in international aid for reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. Yet, this year, Israel’s security services arrested Muhammad Murtaja, the head of the Gaza branch of the Turkish charity IHH, for siphoning off aid money for terror purposes.

“The egotistical Hamas terror organization has robbed funds that are meant for the needy of Gaza from international organizations. Hamas prospers at the expense of the residents of the Strip and uses donations meant for them to finance terror,” Major General Yoav Mordechai, coordinator of government activities in the territories said of the arrests.

Nor is this case isolated. In 2016, Israel arrested Waheed al Borsh, an engineer working for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), for stealing aid money to build a jetty for Hamas’ naval forces.

More egregiously the manager of international charity World Vision has been charged with funneling at least $43 million earmarked for international aid to Hamas’ military wing to pay for fighters and weapons.

As the independent think tank the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies notes, “According to the budget and expenditures for the 2013 fiscal year released by the last official Hamas government in 2014, a mere 2% of total expenditures of $348 million went to development and only 11.2% to social welfare transfers (compared to 25% in Egypt, which has a similar socio-economic profile). The rival PA estimates that over two-thirds of Hamas expenditures went to the production of terror.”

Spending in this way harms the inhabitants of Gaza. This, however, is a win for Hamas, because …

2.Manipulate the Ensuing Humanitarian Crisis

It’s important to note that the humanitarian crisis is real. According to Israel itself, in addition to the blackouts, 96% of Gaza’s water is reportedly not fit for drinking, due to the strain on the aquifers. There are widespread shortages. Unemployment is at 42%.

At this stage, Hamas’ goal is now to use these crises to extract concessions from Israel and malign Israel in the international press.

During the recent electricity crisis, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri thundered that Israel “bears responsibility for the consequences of the reduction.”

“Israel is trying to cause a humanitarian crisis in Gaza to oust Hamas,” accused Vice, in an incredibly misleading headline, despite the fact that even the Palestinian Authority blamed Hamas for the current crisis.

The UN Special Envoy on the Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov warned that the humanitarian crisis could spark another war, giving as the reason that “people will be angry, increasingly desperate…”

“UN warns of Gaza’s ‘total collapse’ amid power crisis,” writes Al-Jazeera, lamenting that, “Further cuts to Gaza’s already diminished electricity supply has besieged Strip on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe.”

The UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied territories, Robert Piper, warned of the disastrous effect of further power cuts. A joint statement signed by 16 NGOs, including Rabbis for Human Rights, B’Tselem and Peace Now, called on the Israeli attorney general to intervene and force Israel to give Gaza free electricity on the grounds that Israel is legally responsible for the humanitarian welfare of the Gaza strip.

Amnesty International and other global NGOs also joined the condemnation.

All these condemnations harm Israel’s image  and increase pressure on it, creating strategic opportunities for Hamas to exploit for …

3.Profit

If Israel gives Gaza free electricity, it will, in effect, be subsidizing Hamas terrorism by freeing up resources that would be spent on paying for its own electricity, thus paying for terrorism.

This money will be coming from the pocket of the Israeli taxpayer.

If Israel refuses to pay for Hamas’ electricity, it tarnishes its already battered international image. It also puts itself in a moral quandary as images of beleaguered Palestinians roll across the news. This can also create social and political tension in Israel.

If Israel decides enough is enough and invades Gaza to replace Hamas, this will also benefit Hamas. As soon as the body count starts racking up, international and Palestinian sympathy will swing to support Hamas, as happened during and after the last Gaza war.

As the Jerusalem Post noted in their editorial on the electricity crisis, “Ultimately, the so-called electricity crisis is of Hamas’s making. As with the Islamist movement’s use of human shields, its purposeful positioning of combatants and rocket launchers in the midst of population centers, so too the default on Gaza’s electricity bill presents Israel with a difficult moral dilemma.

“Hamas is willing to sacrifice the lives of Gaza’s civilians in order to win the battle of public opinion. The image of a sick Palestinian baby lying untreated in a darkened Rantisi Pediatric Hospital in Gaza City is a blow to the gut that is impossible to explain away.”

There is yet another benefit: the international aid that can be extracted from the international community when Gaza faces a humanitarian crisis.

Hamas has already asked the UN, Europe and the Arab states to intercede with Abbas over the crisis. Meanwhile a ship containing 10,000 tons of aid from the Turkish IHH charity — the same charity whose head was arrested for using aid money to fund Hamas terror — docked in Ashdod so the goods could be taken to Gaza.

International donors give millions in aid to Gaza and will in all likelihood do so again if the situation worsens.

If this happens, Hamas will reap the benefits and steal the fresh aid money to fund terrorism while ignoring those who live under its rule.

Theirs is the strategy of the boa constrictor, aiming to slowly choke out Israel, not through brute force, but through relentless attrition and making all choices bad choices. The fact that Palestinians suffer is not only not a moral consideration, but it is actually part of the plan.

It is both brilliant and evil.