Friend of FLAME:
Over the past six months, I have become exponentially more frustrated with the worldwide
perception of the supposed humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Is the situation there
ideal? Of course it isn't. Are many Gazans unemployed? Yes they are. But
to paint a picture of people living in Holocaust-like conditions and completely forgotten
by the outside world is, in the kindest interpretation, a willful misrepresentation of the
facts; in the worst case scenario it's a flat out lie.
As Jacob Shrybman points out in this week's short (but very much to the point) FLAME Hotline,
life actually isn't so horrible in Gaza. In fact, in the past couple of weeks a bright,
shiny new shopping mall opened in Gaza (links to photos below). One wonders how that came
about, since Israel has supposedly only allowed the most basic of necessities into Gaza. Where
did all that cement and other building material come from? Concentration camps usually
don't have building materials simply lying around, do they?
On the same day that the mall opened, the EU once again criticized Israel for its treatment
of Gaza. This after the EU had already announced more aid for the Palestinians---to
the tune of 71 million Euros for the "Occupied Palestinian Territory". Perhaps the
EU should have looked into the following statistics of life expectancy and infant mortality
in Gaza versus, for example, Turkey (thanks to Tom Gross for providing these numbers, the
source of which is the "CIA World Factbook").
- Turkey: life expectancy is 72.23 and infant mortality is 24.84 per 1,000 births.
- Gaza: life expectancy is 73.68 and infant mortality is 17.71 per 1,000 births.
Or how about life in Gaza compared to the millions of Africans that die each year from famine. Life
expectancy in Swaziland is less than 40 years, and in Zambia it is 42 years, not much better.
It would seem that the EU and the UN should be issuing proclamation after proclamation about
the humanitarian crisis in Turkey, right? Or better yet, perhaps the EU can send their
millions of Euros to Africa, or send a flotilla to help the poor citizens of Turkey?
Earlier this year a new Olympic-sized swimming pool opened in Gaza as well. It would
be surprising if members of the world media missed this, but they certainly didn't widely
report on it. And they also apparently missed the full markets and fancy hotels and
restaurants in Gaza. Here are images of the mall,
pool, and the Roots restaurant, and here are images of the markets.
Yet there are continued voiced intentions (most recently from Hizbollah/Lebanon) to send
more flotillas to Gaza, to go along with the "emergency" funds announced by the EU and even
the United States (President Obama recently pledged $400 million in aid for the West Bank
and Gaza). As is the norm when it comes to the Middle East, there is a disconnect between
the facts on the ground and the image given to us by the media.
Clearly, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Palestinians receive among
the highest amounts of international aid in the world (here
are the exact numbers from 2006-2008). Also, this year alone Israel has itself
delivered almost 300,000 tons of aid into Gaza. There is a simple solution to the problems
that Gaza and the Palestinians do have: Recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state,
stop all incitement, and negotiate in good faith directly with a willing Israeli government.
Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have said and shown they are simply not willing
to do these things. In short, the admittedly deprived Gazans have, unfortunately, no
one to blame but their own leadership.
FLAME Hotline Contributor
You know by now that the idea of a humanitarian crisis is Gaza is nothing
more than a publicity stunt. For more on this false and dangerous narrative, please read
FLAME's position paper titled "The Great
'Peace Flotilla' Ambush? How Israel fell into a trap, carefully set by its enemiesies."
Most of all, if you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is
critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public
opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation
now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME
is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html.
Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from
the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.
The good life in Gaza
by Jacob Shrybman, Ynetnews, July 20, 2010
This past Saturday night, the Gaza Strip marked the grand opening of its new shopping mall,
known as Strip Mall. So as the world continues to chastise Israel over its "blockade," Gaza
residents (including the over 10,500 allowed intro Israel for medical treatment in 2009)
can enjoy life at the fancy new shopping center.
Curiously, a day after the mall opened, the European Union's Senior Representative for Foreign
Affairs, Catherine Ashton, called for Israel to lift the Gaza blockade. One wonders whether
she found the time, while inspecting all the terrible sights of Gaza's humanitarian crisis
during her visit, to stop by the new Gaza mall to check out how sales were going.
Meanwhile, as Strip Mall festivities were on Saturday, Sky News reported on the "still
dire" situation in Gaza. The article noted that, "The blockade has meant that only
basics like flour, rice and sugar have been allowed into Gaza from Israel." One wonders
about that while examining the joyous pictures of the upscale Gaza mall's grand opening and
the various goods on offer there.
Similarly, on the day of the Gaza mall's opening, UNRWA President John
Ging said the people of Gaza "Can't afford to buy cans of Coca Cola from Israel." But
they can afford new clothes, luxury hair products, and children's toys at the new Gaza Mall?
Indeed, images from the new mall make one wonder about the humanitarian crisis all these
international "aid" ships are sailing to. Who knows, maybe Libyan dictator Gaddafi,
who sent a ship recently, owns a store in the Gaza Strip Mall?