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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pallywood Meets The Gaza Blockade (Or, "Did You Hear The One About How Palestinians Can't Eat Chocolate?")

One of the arguments against the military blockade of Gaza is that Israel does not only prevent military items from entering, it blocks non-military foodstuff and other supplies. This argument, of course, does not argue for a lifting of the blockade, but narrowing the scope of prohibited items found during screening.

If Israel really does prevent chocolate and spices from entering Gaza (it does not, see highlighted text below), that certainly does not make sense. But the only way for Israel to know whether a truck or ship contains weapons or chocolate (or weapons hidden in boxes marked "Chocolate") is to inspect the shipment.

Nonetheless, people like Nicholas Kristoff in The New York Times (and many others) point to the inclusion of non-military items on the list of banned items as proof that the blockade should be lifted in total.

The source for the claim that Israel bans a long list of civilian items, however, is speculative. Kristoff and others link to a list provided by the Gisha Legal Center.

But that list makes clear that it is anecdotal based upon what Palestinians have told Gisha. Even items supposedly banned, like chocolate, actually are not banned but are allowed to be shipped to the international organizations in Gaza which distribute food (emphasis mine):
The following list is approximate and partial, and it changes from time to time. It is based on information from Palestinian traders and businesspersons, international organizations, and the Palestinian Coordination Committee, all of whom "deduce" what is permitted and what is banned based on their experience requesting permission to bring goods into Gaza and the answers they receive from the Israeli authorities (approved or denied). It is not possible to verify this list with the Israeli authorities because they refuse to disclose information regarding the restrictions on transferring goods into Gaza. It should be noted that Israel permits some of the "prohibited" items into Gaza (for example: paper, biscuits, and chocolate), on the condition that they are for the use of international organizations, while requests from private merchants to purchase them are denied.
But of course, the Palestinians told us that Israel killed several hundred civilians in Jenin, had a policy of harvesting Palestinian organs, used poison gas in the West Bank, and so on and so on.

Pallywood and the use of false claims for propaganda purposes has a long history, and the Palestinians are very good at it. Gullible Westerners eat up this hype like, well, chocolate.

A good example is a story I linked to yesterday, in which a Danish journalist traveled to Gaza earlier this week to check out the food and other shortages, and found just the opposite. The journalist interviewed a Palestinian woman who insisted that there were food shortages, as she stood among stalls in the market filled high with food.

When it comes to the blockade, Pallywood is at its finest.

The question none of these commentators seem to ask, however, is why doesn't the government in Gaza spend money improving the lives of Gazans, rather than acting as a missile launching pad for Iran? Why, when Israel left Gaza in 2005, didn't the Palestinians turns towards self-improvement rather than war?

When Israel left Gaza, American Jewish donors paid to buy the huge greenhouses the Israelis had build in Gaza, so that Palestinians would have a foundation for a domestic food source:

The unusual arrangement was put together by James D. Wolfensohn, the former World Bank president and the current Middle East envoy for the Bush administration.

Mr. Wolfensohn also contributed $500,000 of his own money. "The arrangement gives a real opportunity for the Palestinians and makes the departure of Israelis from Gaza much easier," Mr. Wolfensohn said Friday in an interview. He added that he believed "the Palestinians are trying to make this a peaceful transition - at least the Palestinian Authority is."

The agreement, just four days before Israel is to begin evacuating settlers from Gaza, is intended keep valuable agricultural properties intact for Palestinian use.

Although Palestinians are eager to see the Israeli settlers go, the withdrawal could leave the Palestinians in even more dire economic straits, at least in the short term. About 3,500 Palestinians have worked in the greenhouses as employees of the Israeli settlers and would lose their jobs if the greenhouses are torn down. The greenhouses grow vegetables, spices, flowers and other produce that have become a major source of Israeli export income.

What did the Palestinians do? They destroyed the greenhouses, after looting the materials. If there is a food shortage in Gaza (which there is not), it is self-inflicted.

The blockade was not put in effect until two years after Israel left Gaza, when Hamas, which is committed to the destruction of Israel and a client of Iran, took over Gaza. The blockade was a reaction to Palestinian rejectionist policies, not the cause of rejection.

Why, when peace was handed to it with the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, did Gazans use the opportunity not to make peace and improve their lives, but to bring the war to southern Israel? Why did Palestinians in Gaza elect a government aligned with Iran which predictably started firing thousands of rockets at Israel?

The answer to that question puts everything else in perspective. But it is the question Palestinians and their supporters refuse to consider, because the answer is that Palestinians have made their own lot in life.

But you won't see that movie in Pallywood, or read about it in The New York Times.

Related Posts:
Abid Katib - Palestinian Shoe Fauxtographer?
What If Palestinians Were Settlers?
Protesters Now Attacking Israeli Musicians

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  1. "Why, when peace was handed to it with the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, did Gazans use the opportunity not to make peace and improve their lives, but to bring the war to southern Israel? Why did Palestinians in Gaza elect a government aligned with Iran which predictably started firing thousands of rockets at Israel?"

    That is the question that no one will ask - nor will they listen to anyone who answers it truthfully, asked or not. There are BOOKS written about this problem, and how it was brought about by the oppressive regimes taking advantage of this "crisis" of "Palestinian refugees" and "the occupation of Gaza." I still don't understand how and why these people don't rise up against their oppressors. Is it Islam, or just the general brainwashing against the "evil West, Israel, and demon Zionists"? Both, IMHO.

    Destruction of Israel is clearly the goal. This just makes it more clear. These terrorists have been waiting for a weak US leader - and they got one. And, like all Communists and fascists, they see a "crisis" that they don't what to "go to waste."

  2. Nobody asks the right questions because it is far more convenient to fall back on good old anti-semitism. The Pallywood lies are just a new form of "bloodlibel" with which the world is so comfortable. Isn't it interesting that for every "ism" that is being derided the only one that seems to rear its ungly head and nothing gets doen about it is anti-semitism.But then again with an anti-semite as President of the United States the haters smelled blood right away. Too bad so amny Jews are just hiding their heads in the ground. You know when you live like an onion someone is bound to chop off your bulb.

  3. The question no one seems to address is "where is Egypt in all of this?"

    Gaza borders with Egypt. And when I look at a map of Gaza, the main road that runs right through the strip begins at the Egyptian border, not at a border with Israel. So what is the problem with taking supplies (or as the Israel haters love to call them "humanitarian aid") into Gaza from Egypt? If the waters of Gaza are blocked by Israel, are the waters of Egypt, a sovereign nation, also blocked by Israel? It seems so very simple; unload the supplies at an Egyptian dock, truck them to Gaza via the Egyptian border. No one has been able to tell me why this cannot be done.

    I remember the destruction of the greenhouses and at the time I thought "what the hell are they doing?" The answer came to me. The Palestinians, or at least the Gazans, hate Jews to the point they would destroy greenhousese that once belonged to the Jews before they would use them to grow needed food, and produce products that could be exported. That kind of hatred cannot be eliminated by the simple act of giving suspicious flotillas passage.

    But that hatred is not born with. It is taught as the Gazans put AK47s in the hands of six year olds and parade those children down the streets, shouting "Death To The Jews, Death To Israel, Death To America." That hatred was on full review as the Gazans danced in the streets when the World Trade Center fell.

    Gaza is a horrible place. 1.5 million people shoved into a tiny area. But the Gazans are not the prisoners of Israel, they are the prisoners of Hamas, whose only political policy is "Kill All Jews". Was Israel any different than Gaza when it was made a Jewish homeland? Was it beautiful fields, a nation that produced enough for its people to eat, a nation that could sustain itself? No, it was carved out of the "wilderness" so to speak, and that same goal could be acheived by Gaza, but for its national past time of hatred. That kind of hatred prevents people from doing anything else.

    I guess Golda Mier was right; when the Arabs love their children (and not teach hate from the minute they are born) enough to want them to live instead of hating the Jews enough to want them to all die, then there will be peace.

    You would think that after the last century, the hatred of Jews would have been eradicated. To me, a Christian, it seems to be on the rise with the hatred of Israel now going global. What does that say about "civilization"? It says that nations will always seek a scapegoat for their own failures, never blaming themselves for that failure. Palestine gives us a perfect example of that.

    Israel is on its own with this administration like never before. I hope that American Jews understand that now. Obama's viewpoints were molded by the likes of Edward Said, et al.

    May God protect Israel.

  4. There are always some professors ready to justify atrocities against humanity. Here is an "Associate Clinical Professor of Law" at work. Nice job prof.

  5. Yes, very nice job. Our host will never get any of Noam Chomsky's NYT gigs, that's for sure.