The View into Gaza

This is a guest post by AKUS
We hear an awful lot on CiF about the destruction in Gaza, most recently from Judge Goldstone, apparently since CiF is one of the few forums willing to let him provide his bizarre attempt at self justification. He said he was shocked by the destruction:

“I did not anticipate seeing the vast destruction of the economic infrastructure of Gaza including its agricultural lands, industrial factories, water supply and sanitation works.”

There is, no doubt, there was destruction in Gaza – after all there was a mini-war there a few months ago. But it is nowhere near as widespread as the Guardian would have us believe from its articles and replaying the same pictures of the same few destroyed houses. Actually looking at Gaza tells a rather different story. A few pictures may help you see Gaza in a more balanced way.
Go to Google Maps and enter “Kibbutz Nir Am, Israel” and you’ll see a little reservoir west of the kibbutz. Follow the road that skirts the reservoir about 1 km east, and  if you look carefully, you’ll see a small road just west of the reservoir leading to a little white patch near a “V” shaped intersection – this is the little hill from which the TV crews reported on Cast Lead, and from which I shot the pictures below on August 8th this year, at about 8:30 am as the morning mist was lifting. It is about 1 km from the fence between Gaza and Israel. Kibbutz Nir Am, which has been subjected to heavy rocket fire from Gaza, lies about 2 – 3 km north east of this spot.
The first picture looks into Gaza from about ½ km on the Israeli side of the fence with Gaza, just west of the Nir Am reservoir. In the foreground, beyond the fence, is Bet Hanoun, one of the villages used frequently by Hamas and its cohorts from which to launch rockets into Israel. Behind that, you see high-rise buildings probably in Jabalya or just west of Sheikh Zaid. Next to the big white house in the foreground there appear to be a couple of destroyed houses, but clearly other buildings and the high rises are in good condition.
Gaza August 6, 2009 from Kibbutz Nir Am

You can see the security fence, with a gate that allows Israeli troops to enter Gaza when terrorists are detected approaching the fence or for other military purposes.
The second view looks south west, and I provide it to emphasize that there is, in fact, open territory in the Gaza Strip, and that the terrorists could, if they chose to do so, fire their rockets and mortars from sites not located in built up areas.
Gaza August 6, 2009 from Kibbutz Nir Am - southern view

Finally, next time you read about the “wall” around Gaza – remember these pictures and how simple a defense mechanism it really is.

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