Almost every article about Gaza, particularly in the Guardian and on CiF, portrays all Gazans as victims of the Israeli blockade in spite of the thousands of tons of Israeli aid crossing into Gaza every week. The Guardian and other media do not distinguish between the residents of Gaza City and those stuck in the show case refugee camps who are paraded before foreign dignities as “proof” of Israeli “war crimes” during Cast Lead. Were I being kind, I could argue that the media perhaps is not aware of Gaza City luxury and the tunnel economy which makes it possible for Hamas leaders to wine and dine in comfort whilst their brethren are deliberately kept in squalor and used to manipulate the world’s heartstrings.
However, I don’t at all feel like being kind.
I have little doubt that those Gazans who are deliberately kept in poverty and squalor by Hamas are indeed victims. However, most developed countries have pockets of great poverty in the midst of conspicuous affluence. In those countries the problem is often one of distribution rather than of lack of supply in general. To what extent is this also true in Gaza?
For in Gaza City there is indeed conspicuous wealth. On July 17th this year, the “starving” and war-damaged Gazans were treated to the opening of a brand new shopping mall, courtesy, no doubt, of EU and other international donations. How is this possible? Who could afford to shop at such a mall if the population of Gaza were as poverty-stricken as we are led to believe? Other examples of material wealth and, often, excess – in a place we are told represents “the world’s largest open-air prison” – can be found here and here.
The following illustrates that any deprivation is certainly a problem of distribution, not supply. In a communiqué dated 25th May 2010, the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs released a summary of its aid to Gaza. Of particular note is the following:
“… Well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months equalling nearly a ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza (emphasis mine). Millions of dollars worth of international food aid continually flows through the Israeli humanitarian apparatus, ensuring that there is no food shortage in Gaza.
Since the end of the IDF operation in Gaza (18 Jan 2009) until 5 June 2010, 1,025,686 tons of aid, 49,610 tons of cooking gas and 136,097,330 liters of fuel have been delivered to the Gaza Strip.
Food and supplies are shipped from Israel to Gaza six days a week. These items were channelled through aid organizations or via Gaza’s private sector. ..”
Of particular interest is the reference to aid being channelled via Gaza’s “private sector.” This is , I believe, the main avenue by which Hamas steps in and “affects” the distribution, although it stole from the UN itself and from other aid agencies immediately after Cast Lead (see also here, here and here) and also stole supplies donated by Jordan.
There are other examples of Hamas appropriating aid meant to be given out free to the people of Gaza, or interfering with its delivery by attacking the checkpoints through which such goods have to pass.
All this is perplexing, given Hamas’ main election promise that it would end the corruption of the previous Fatah government. If Hamas, which came into power on a welfare ticket, really cares about its people, why is it literally stealing the bread from their mouths? More importantly, why does the media (often unquestionably) advance the Hamas narrative and ignore such readily available contradictory evidence?
A friend and I were talking recently about victimhood and what predisposes certain people towards it and others not. I said that I perceived the various Gaza aid scams as typical symptoms of professional victimhood, but my friend, who is a hypnotherapist, perceives Gazan victimhood as yet another arm of the hypnotic fascination that the West (and, especially, the Left) has with Islamism. He tells me that one definition of hypnotic fascination is:
“… A presumed altered state of consciousness in which the hypnotized individual is usually more susceptible to suggestion than in his or her normal state. In this context, a suggestion is understood to be an idea or a communication carrying an idea that elicits a covert or overt response not mediated by the higher critical faculties (that is, the volitional apparatus)…”
One way in which the Islamist propaganda machine and its useful infidel fellow-travellers encourage the gullible to believe this is by enlisting the media (who are also similarly hypnotically fascinated) to repeat the same untruths again and again. Note that included in my friend’s definition above is that the overt response (i.e., the reactive behaviours of those who are bombarded with distortions in this case) is “not mediated by the higher critical faculties” – which in layman’s terms means that such information is swallowed whole and reacted to without thinking.
(My hypnotherapist friend also said that one can break a hypnotic fascination trance and stop oneself from being taken in by it only if one “comes to” within about one minute of being subjected to it and actively moves away from the source of it. However, what if those sources are all around you?)
I don’t claim to know the specifics of how the Guardian and CiF themselves succeed in hypnotically fascinating their readership into believing the proverbial six impossible things before breakfast about “starving Gazans” unless it is by almost constant repetition, but the problem is plainly not confined to the Guardian. Readers may also be interested in the following:
Earlier this month according to Elder of Ziyon’s blog, the UK medical journal, The Lancet, treated its similarly fascinated and uncritical readership to an article which told them that one in four Palestinian children goes without breakfast. Granted, Elder of Ziyon says that The Lancet does not specifically blame Israel for this, but given The Lancet’s past coverage of alleged Israeli “atrocities” in Gaza, one might be forgiven for assuming that such a causation it is at least implicit.
In the light of the above, in which we see that millions of tons’ worth of humanitarian and other aid have been given free to Gaza by Israel, and the tourist attractions in Gaza City as well as the markets and supermarkets laden with food, we really do need to question the continuing funding, by the international community, of Gazans’ Hamas-induced victimhood, particularly when the world economy in general is in such a parlous state. Western governments should long ago have begun to ask exactly where their money is going, given continuing evidence that such largess is being diverted to increase Hamas’s terrorist capacities.
Journalist and author Stephanie Gutmann wrote an essay in the Daily Telegraph shortly after the Mavi Marmara incident. The following excerpt provides an appropriate summing up to my argument. Note in particular her reference to the “poverty pimps” whose livelihoods depend upon the continuation of the crisis in Gaza. Ask yourselves to what extent are the Guardian/CiF contributing to Hamas’s pimping of Gazans’ poor?
“…aid workers have jobs which are dependent on there being a crisis in Gaza. Take away the crisis, no more photos to put on the stationary, no more NGO. The oldest of these poverty pimps, is, of course, UNWRA, the arm of the UN created in 1948 to supply homes, food, medical care, even education to the Arab Palestinians (prior to 1948 Jews were referred to as “Palestinians” as well) who fled Palestine during the ‘48 Israel/Arab Legion war. Like many aid programs UNWRA was originally supposed to be temporary but because it had so much largesse to distribute and because its programs are eligible to those defining themselves as descendants of 1948 refugees, its rolls increase exponentially every year and the initiative shows no signs of ever shutting down.
“.. Here, then, is what has made me a sceptic on the Gaza-is-starving issue:
“One piece of data was a documentary I saw a few months ago, shot by a pro-Hamas activist and screened during Columbia University’s Apartheid Week festivities. Peculiarly, though the travelogue (filmed very recently) was supposed to arouse Nuremberg rally-like rage about occupation and so on, the activist/producer had allowed abundant footage of street markets brimming with produce and shops full of canned goods, cigarettes, and sweets. At one point the activist/film producer asked a Gazan whether he had enough food. He answered with something to the effect of “We have food, but we object to the closures on political grounds.” The activist’s cameras then took us over to the Gaza/Egypt border where, under full view of apathetic uniformed authorities, huge, complicated tunnels were being built, repaired, and used to bring in more goods.
“…the fact that every single documentary or TV news clip I have seen of Gaza shows healthy looking children frisking in the streets and robust young men busy doing calorically expensive things like loading rocket launchers. Severely under-nourished people are usually quite apathetic..”
Hamas grows richer while its people grow poorer because of the willingness of the West and other countries to fall for such dangerous propaganda. It sells aid meant to be distributed free, donated by international aid agencies and foreign governments – complaining all the time that its people are starving, while it uses such funds to buy arms. It is high time we broke the spell.
I have just been sent the following, courtesy of Scottish Friends of Israel, which underlines my arguments. Not only is the problem one of supply but, according to Hamas, the easing of the blockade is causing a glut! Moreover Hamas, in true “Hidden Hand” fashion, perceives this evidence of Israel’s consistent refusal to starve the people of Gaza as a Zionist plot to overthrow it!
Plenty goods, no shoppers
Sir,-Shopkeepers in Gaza are now complaining of an over-abundance of goods, according to the Gaza newspaper Al Ayyam.
Receiving billions in aid, Hamas has not paid salaries so shoppers, not goods, are in short supply.
Hamas claims that easing the blockade is a “plot by Israelis, Arabs and Europeans” to topple Hamas.
Soft drink, furniture and clothing manufacturers don’t want to compete with lower Israeli prices, and have called on the Hamas government to prevent the entry of Israeli products, claiming they can meet the needs of the market.
Will our “humanitarians” send flotillas to take back their surplus goods? Seems the Hamas terrorists now need their help more than ever due to the “glut” of goods in the region.
9 MacLaren Gardens,