Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The iPhone5, Gaza and Israel

by Evelyn Gordon

Two recent news items tell you almost everything you need to know about the Gaza Strip, but usually won’t hear. First, the new iPhone 5 – which isn’t even available in Israel yet – is selling like hotcakes in Gaza, despite prices ranging from $1,170 to $1,480, roughly double what they are in the U.S.  This, you’ll recall, is the same Gaza that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized in an address to the UN Human Rights Council last month as suffering “unremitting poverty” due to Israel’s “harsh” blockade, a humanitarian crisis so grave that he devoted more of his speech to Gaza and the Palestinians than he did to the slaughter in Syria, where the death toll is over 30,000 and rising daily. It’s also the same Gaza that a UN report in August said would be “unlivable” by 2020 if the blockade continued.

Second, Palestinian doctors recently opened a cystic fibrosis clinic in Gaza that now treats 80 Palestinian children – thanks to Israel. The story began a few years ago, when an Israeli doctor, Eitan Kerem, saw a Palestinian cri de coeur on the Internet: After Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, it began strongly discouraging Gazans from seeking treatment in nearby Israel, sending them instead to Egyptian clinics located much farther away, and cystic fibrosis patients were finding the 24-hour journey unbearable. Kerem promptly joined forces with an Israeli nonprofit to organize a program to train Gazan specialists at Israel’s Hadassah Hospital, thereby enabling them to start treating cystic fibrosis patients in Gaza instead.

The first obvious lesson of these stories is that Gaza’s “humanitarian crisis” is a fiction propagated by UN bureaucrats, “human rights” organizations and complicit journalists.

As former senior Palestinian Authority official Mohammed Dahlan noted in August, many people worldwide would be delighted to have such a “humanitarian crisis”: He quoted a Sudanese minister who visited the Strip recently as saying he wished Sudan was as well-provided with staple products as Gaza was.

The second is that Gaza’s real problems are generally caused not by Israel, but by its own rulers – as with the cystic fibrosis patients forced to endure those exhausting journeys to Egypt for treatment. Or Hamas’s decision last month to bar imports of seven types of fruit from Israel, which sent prices soaring – to the obvious detriment of Gazan consumers. Or its decision to bar Israeli firms from building a UNICEF-funded desalination plant thereby perpetuates the lack of clean drinking water that the UN report deemed Gaza’s gravest problem. Indeed, as the cystic fibrosis tale shows, Israel often steps in to try to alleviate the distress Hamas causes.

Finally, of course, there’s the most significant decision of all: Hamas’s refusal to end the nonstop rocket fire at Israel, which is why the blockade exists to begin with. In a press conference marking the release of the UN’s August report on Gaza, UN humanitarian coordinator Maxwell Gaylard declared that “Despite their best efforts, the Palestinians in Gaza still need help … both politically and practically.” Evidently, Gaylard and his fellow UN bureaucrats consider it unreasonable to expect Palestinians’ “best efforts” to help themselves to include ending the rocket fire.

As Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said in August, the truth is “plain and simple: Hamas is responsible for the suffering in Gaza.” All the UN verbiage is aimed solely at concealing this fact.

Evelyn Gordon


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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