Archive for the ‘Media and 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.

 

Gaza on the Brink

June 3, 2017

Gaza on the Brink, Commentary Magazine, June 2, 2017

in Gaza City, Monday, April 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

The testimony of these Gazan refugees in Greece provides a rare opportunity to hear what Palestinians say when they’re out of reach of their own repressive governments and can speak freely. It thereby offers a glimpse at the true source of much Palestinian suffering – and a rebuke to all the journalists, diplomats, and NGOs who have collaborated with both Palestinian governments to hide this truth from the world.

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If you ask Palestinians in either Gaza or the West Bank who’s responsible for their suffering, most would probably say Israel. But what would they say if they were safely overseas and no longer needed to fear their own governments? That’s not a question reporters, diplomats, or nongovernmental organizations usually bother asking. We now have an answer to it, at least with regard to Palestinians who fled Gaza. They left not because of anything Israel did, but because of persecution by Gaza’s Hamas-run government

Their testimony was brought by Haaretz reporter Zvi Bar’el, who went to Greece in search of Syrian refugees but accidentally stumbled instead on Palestinians from Gaza–thousands of them, by their own count. One Gazan refugee estimated there were about 6,000 Palestinians from Gaza in Athens alone. The Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights says the real figure is probably higher.

And that’s just those who have been able to leave. Many would like to but are stuck in Gaza because the border crossing to Egypt is open only a few days per month. Even when it’s open, only a few hundred people per day can leave. Osama, one of the Palestinians Bar’el interviewed, said that when he left Gaza (via a cross-border smuggling tunnel) over 25,000 people were on the waiting list to leave via the official border crossing.

And why have so many Gazans fled or tried to flee? The Palestinians Bar’el met had a uniform answer: Hamas. Not a single one of them even mentioned Israel in their responses.

“There’s a Palestinian doctor here who came with his wife and three children,” Osama told Bar’el. “Imagine, a doctor, a respectable person with a profession, has to flee Gaza only because he was suspected of disloyalty to Hamas.”

Ayman, who has been listening to the conversation in silence, joins in. “I’m a cartoonist, an artist, and I’ve had exhibitions in Gaza. Hamas didn’t like my cartoons and they forbade me to draw, and they also arrested me. After I spent time in a Hamas prison I decided to escape,” he says.

“They tied my hands and feet, they beat me, and after I was injured from the blows they transferred me to a hospital where I was for more than a month. In the meantime they also arrested my brother to get information out of him about me.”

Naji, another Gazan, showed Bar’el a deep scar on his leg that he said came from being tortured in a Hamas prison.

“One day I even tried to commit suicide. I slammed my head hard against a windowpane and put my neck up against the broken glass. But they pulled me back and I wasn’t successful,” he says, pointing to an ugly scar on his neck. “I’m telling you, Gaza is on the brink of civil war and no one knows what’s happening there. No one is interested.”

There are numerous UN agencies ostensibly devoted exclusively to helping the Palestinians, while human rights groups allocate disproportionate attention to this issue. In both cases, their only real interest in Palestinian suffering is finding some way to blame Israel for it. They couldn’t care less about protecting Palestinians from the abuses of their own government. That’s why they keep issuing reports accusing Israel of being the “key cause” of Palestinian suffering, as one UN agency put it this week, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Yet their blatant bias often obscures a larger problem that affects even well-meaning journalists, NGOs, diplomats and almost everyone else involved in telling the world about what’s happening in the West Bank and Gaza–a failure to understand the way fear affects what people say in nondemocratic societies. For Palestinians, blaming anyone other than Israel for their problems risks serious repercussions from either their own governments or vigilante groups affiliated with both governments. And that’s true not just in Hamas-run Gaza, as people like Ayman and Naji discovered to their sorrow, but also in the Fatah-run West Bank, where journalists, businessmen, and Palestinian security officers have all suffered arrest and financial sanctions for daring to criticize the Palestinian Authority or its president, Mahmoud Abbas. Blaming Israel is always the safest solution, even in cases where it’s patently untrue.

Responsible journalists, NGOs, and diplomats would take this fear factor into account and try to dig a little deeper to try to get at the truth. They would also recognize that the very fact that Israel is the one party no Palestinian fears to criticize is in itself a potent refutation of Palestinian claims that Israel is an oppressive regime. People who truly live under an oppressive regime are generally afraid to go on record criticizing it.

Instead, these opinion shapers take everything they hear from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza at face value and parrot it uncritically. That does nothing to better the Palestinians’ lot, but a great deal to bolster the Palestinians’ own repressive governments by absolving them of all scrutiny and pressure to reform.

The testimony of these Gazan refugees in Greece provides a rare opportunity to hear what Palestinians say when they’re out of reach of their own repressive governments and can speak freely. It thereby offers a glimpse at the true source of much Palestinian suffering – and a rebuke to all the journalists, diplomats, and NGOs who have collaborated with both Palestinian governments to hide this truth from the world.