Monday, August 16, 2010

The sudden twist in Hamas propaganda


by Meryl Yourish


Aussie Dave aka Israelly Cool noticed it:

The palestinians, their supporters, and those who do not, but should know, better have been portraying Gaza as a concentration camp/prison camp – replete with widespread poverty and starvation.

The proliferation of such proof that the reality in Gaza does not support the concentration camp/prison camp comparison has engendered a paradigm shift in the palestinian’s Gaza narrative. So while they are still arguing that it is a prison, they have shifted the essence of their Gaza narrative from physical prison to mental one.

Indeed, the change is remarkable. The article that Dave quotes, says it quite unequivocally:

Gaza’s residents will concede that there is no hunger crisis in the Strip. Residents do love the beach; and the store shelves are stocked. But if you’re focused on starvation, they say, you’re probably missing the point.

What, no starvation? That after years of being taught by Gazan propaganda and their many tame supporters west and east of Gaza that death of starvation is but a few hours away? Google for “gaza starvation” – a small effort that returns almost 200,000 hits in a blink of an eye.

Yeah, well, after all you cannot fool all of the people all the time. Too much information on the real situation in Gaza leaked out, and the media lately is saturated by the pictures of stores, bazaars and hotels, so the old tackle doesn’t work as well as it has done for years.

Gaza’s Siege Mentality: Not Deprivation but Desperation – was the title of the article Dave uses in his post. Easy to see the shift. And then I have encountered another example of the shift, with a headline that is even more fascinating: Calling Gaza a prison camp is an understatement. The author, Laila El-Haddad is a Palestinian freelance journalist, photographer, and blogger who divides her time between Gaza and the United States.

It’s a strong start, ain’t it? And Laila doesn’t mince her words to start with:

Gaza was never a place with a quantitative food shortage…

Do you notice that “never”? Of course, Laila qualifies that bombshell with “it is a place where many people lack the means to buy food and other goods…”. You would have thought that such people are precisely the reason that UNWRA and the West in general (but not the Arab and Muslim brethren for some reason) are pumping hundreds of millions yearly into Hamastan, but let’s leave it alone.

So, the above mentioned “concentration camp/prison camp – replete with widespread poverty and starvation” is not replete with starvation, as we have learned. And there is a keyword missing now from the formula. And the formula, anyway, is insufficient for the horrors Laila is presenting in her article – concentration camp is, you see, an understatement. I shall leave that concentration camp missive to Laila’s expertise (no, I don’t want to go that easy way, really). Anyway, what makes Gaza worse than a concentration camp? Here it is:

But people don’t want handouts and uncertainty and despair; they want their dignity and their freedom, employment and prosperity and possibility. Perhaps most significantly, they want to be able to move freely – something they still cannot do.

So, if we gather the wishlists from the two articles, what is it the people of Gaza desire?

  • Freedom of movement.
  • Employment.
  • Prosperity.
  • Possibility.
  • No more mental anguish, no more posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How interesting: the same list will be, for sure, collated by the people of Sderot, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon – the whole million Israelis that were in the reach of Gazan rockets (still are, and for all we know, there are new and more potent rockets in Hamas’ warehouses).

Although, come to think of it, most Israelis would add one wish missing from that list. It is peace. It was the reason for the botched disengagement from Gaza, when we have really hoped for a prosperous and peaceful neighbor and got instead that “We have decided to make Sderot a ghost town” promise.

Laila’s article, however, doesn’t mention peace. It is all about things that people of Gaza miss and desire. Not about what they are ready to do about it – aside of continuing the efforts to kill more Jews at their own convenience and demand more freedom and prosperity in between.

Anyhow, now you see the way propaganda winds have started to blow. Be ready for more mental anguish and more uber-concentration-camp headology.


Meryl Yourish

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