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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Let's play Word Association: Gaza

I suspect that if many of you tried to play Word Association with your friends and threw out the word 'Gaza,' you would get responses like 'poverty,' 'despair,' 'starvation' and 'death.' But the truth is none of the above. Contrary to the impression that the 'Palestinians' and the media try to give you, the truth is that no one is starving in Gaza. Some people are poor, but that's because there aren't enough jobs in Gaza, because for the last seventeen years, instead of developing an economy, the 'Palestinians' have been developing a terror infrastructure. With most Gaza residents barred from working in Israel (a step that has probably saved tens, if not hundreds, of Israeli lives over the last ten years) there aren't a whole lot of jobs to be had.

On Wednesday, the New York Times published an article that tried to continue the usual Gaza memes. The article is entitled "Hemmed in by Gaza blockade, locked in despair." But the truth - as comes out between the lines of the article - is different from the memes. The truth is that Gazans are just kind of bored.
There are plenty of things to buy in Gaza; goods are brought over the border or smuggled through the tunnels with Egypt. That is not the problem.

In fact, talk about food and people here get angry because it implies that their struggle is over subsistence rather than quality of life. The issue is not hunger. It is idleness, uncertainty and despair.

Any discussion of Gaza’s travails is part of a charged political debate. No humanitarian crisis? That is an Israeli talking point, people here will say, aimed at making the world forget Israel’s misdeeds. Palestinians trapped with no future? They are worse off in Lebanon, others respond, where their “Arab brothers” bar them from buying property and working in most professions.

But the situation is certainly dire. Scores of interviews and hours spent in people’s homes over a dozen consecutive days here produced a portrait of a fractured and despondent society unable to imagine a decent future for itself as it plunges into listless desperation and radicalization.

It seems most unlikely that either a Palestinian state or any kind of Middle East peace can emerge without substantial change here. Gaza, on almost every level, is stuck.
Gaza is stuck because they have been sold nothing but hatred. Hatred for modernity. Hatred for non-Muslims. But above all, hatred for Israel and hatred for Jews.
People here seem increasingly unable to imagine a political solution to their ills. Ask Gazans how to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — two states? One state? — and the answer is mostly a reflexive call to drive Israel out.

“Hamas and Fatah are two sides of the same coin,” Ramzi, a public school teacher from the city of Rafah, said in a widely expressed sentiment. “All the land is ours. We should turn the Jews into refugees and then let the international community take care of them.”
But the Arab countries drove their Jews out and turn them into refugees in the 1940's and 1950's. There were hundreds of thousands of Jews driven out of Arab countries upon the establishment of the State of Israel. In fact, more Jews were driven out of Arab countries - and out of communities in which they lived for hundreds of years - than there were Arabs who left or were driven out of Israel in the 1948 and 1967 wars combined. But unlike the Arabs, the other Jews did not attempt to hold their brothers hostage in an effort to turn the clock back. And the Jewish refugees themselves did not wait for the 'international community' to take care of them. Ironically, a significant portion of Israel's population today is made up of Jews who descended from those who were driven out by Arab countries. Yes, the 'Palestinians' wish to drive out of Israel today hundreds of thousands of Jews who are grandchildren and great grandchildren of the Jews who were driven out of countries like Iraq and Syria and Lebanon and Egypt and Libya and Morocco (where some Jews stayed) and Tunisia and Algeria. (In case you're wondering, Jordan never had Jews). They may talk about sending us back to where we came from. But for many of us (not me), where we came from is the same countries that refuse to take the 'Palestinians' in. And if the finger of blame should be pointing at anyone other than the 'Palestinians' themselves, it should be pointing at those countries. Back to the Times:
Mr. Mesalem pointed at an Israeli ship on the horizon, then made his hand into a gun, pointed it at his head. “If we try to leave, they will shoot us,” he said.
That's not true. I think the Israelis would be very happy if they would leave - on one way tickets. But what country wants to take in a population in which the men do nothing but sleep all day and the women cannot work outside the home?
And while most here view Israel as the enemy, they want trade ties and to work there. In their lives the main source of income has been from and through Israel.

Economists here say what is most needed now is not more goods coming in, as the easing of the blockade has permitted, but people and exports getting out.

That is not going to happen soon.

“Our position against the movement of people is unchanged,” said Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the Israeli in charge of policy to Gaza’s civilians. “As to exports, not now. Security is paramount, so that will have to wait.”

Direct contact between the peoples, common in the 1980s and ’90s when Palestinians worked daily in Israel, is nonexistent.
In other words, the 'Palestinians' - or their leaders - have brought this situation upon themselves. Until Arafat and his corruptocrats were let back in 1993, the 'Palestinians' mostly had decent lives with jobs in Israel. But they threw that all away in the hope of getting a state reichlet. As my mother, may she rest in peace, used to say, you make your bed and then you have to lie in it. What the 'Palestinians' really need to do is to recognize that they are the source of their own problems, and they are also the solution. It's not up to Israel or the 'international community' to pull them out of poverty and despair. Only they themselves can do that.
“Our play does not mean we hate Israel,” said Abdel Qader Ismail, 24, a former employee of the military intelligence service, with no trace of irony. “We believe in Israel’s right to exist, but not on the land of Palestine. In France or in Russia, but not in Palestine. This is our home.”
It has been our home since long before the 'Palestinians' arrived here. France and Russia and other countries were never our home - they were exile. For 3,000 years, Jews prayed to return to Zion - and only to Zion. Some Jews have been here continuously for 3,000 years. Your home? Go learn some history. Your home is in the tribal areas of Jordan and Syria and Lebanon and Iraq - where no one wants you anymore.

Jonathan Tobin adds:
The picture painted in this story of life in Gaza is not pretty. But it makes it clear that what is really bothering Gazans is how boring life in Hamasistan can be. The Gazans chose to be ruled by an Islamist terrorist group dedicated to perpetuating the war against Israel and to the idea that Israel can someday be destroyed. But they think it is unfair to pay any price for the state of belligerency that exists with Israel — even if their basic needs are guaranteed by both the international community and the country they wish to destroy.

To their credit, authors Michael Slackman and Ethan Bronner make clear that the Palestinians’ biggest problem is the civil war being waged between the Hamas and Fatah organizations, as the latter’s decision to shut off electricity to Gaza to get even with Hamas illustrates.

As far as Israel, Palestinians are a bit confused. They desire its destruction, but at the same time, they think it is unfair that they should not be allowed to work there or that trade between Israel and Gaza should be halted because of the terrorist campaigns waged against the Jewish state by the groups Palestinians support. They want war and vote for Hamas but think it is unjust that they have lost income because of Israel’s measures of self-defense that were created because of Hamas terrorism.
In other words, they want to have their cake and eat it too. You can't usually do that.

Read the whole thing.


At 9:24 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

No - you can't. The Palestinians don't want to work and build a state. They want to destroy Israel. And if they think they will get one sleeping most of the day, its never going to happen.

Ironically, by demanding Israel allow in a flood of consumer goods into Gaza, the Palestinians have destroyed any incentive to build a better future for themselves. Having gotten what they demanded, they can no longer blame Israel for not giving them a state.

This is something they will have to do for themselves - if they give up their dream of destroying Israel. And that's not likely to happen any time soon. Yup, the Gazans are stuck where they are today because they choose not to grow up and and change their lot in life.


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