Life for Palestinians in Gaza Strip Improved, So Why Send Flotilla There?
It was a very hot weekend for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. That is why thousands of them preferred to enjoy their time on the clean beaches, swimming, sunbathing, riding horses, sailing, smoking water pipes and barbequing.
These photos were provided not by a Jewish photographer or some naïve Western reporter who happened to be in the Gaza Strip last week.
The photos were actually published by a Hamas-affiliated website in an attempt to show that the situation in the Gaza Strip under Hamas's rule is not as bad as many people think.
No one is saying that the situation in the Gaza Strip is very good. It was never good – not when Egypt was there, not when Israel captured it in 1967, not when the PLO assumed control over the area in 1994 and not under Hamas today.
There has always been poverty in the Gaza Strip, where more than 80 percent of the people rely on handouts from UNRWA and dozens of international aid organizations.
But the irony is that, in comparison with the past, the situation in the Gaza Strip these days is much better. The rate of crime has dropped to its lowest in decades, and many Palestinians there are saying that they don't miss the anarchy, corruption and lawlessness that prevailed under the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority.
In a few weeks, the largest Palestinian shopping mall is scheduled to open its gates in the Gaza Strip, offering Palestinians a wide range of services, including cinemas, modern coffee shops and boutiques carrying international brands such as Armani, Ralph Lauren, Polo, Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica.
According to Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, there is no shortage of basic foods. Periodic shortage of medical supplies is often attributed to the ongoing power struggle between Hamas and Fatah, whose representatives in the West Bank are sometimes accused of withholding medicine as a way of punishing the Hamas government.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh last week boasted that, unlike the Western-funded government of Salam Fayyad, his government was not in debt and does not have any problem paying salaries to tens of thousands of people who are on its payroll.
In light of all the good news from that area, one wonders about the purpose of the new flotilla of ships to the Gaza Strip. Is it about helping Palestinians in the Gaza Strip or is it simply intended to challenge Israel?
It is always nice to send humanitarian aid to people who need it. And there is no doubt that there are many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who are in need of such aid.
But are there not other ways of helping the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip without challenging and provoking Israel? Why not, for example, try to send humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt? Why aren't the flotilla organizers protesting against Egypt's continued restrictions on the movement of Palestinians? Why are the new rulers of Egypt preventing goods and humanitarian aid from entering the Gaza Strip through their territories?
Finally, wouldn't it have been better if the flotilla organizers had planned a journey to the border between Turkey and Syria to help the thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled from their country in recent weeks? Those refugees cannot go to the beach or shopping malls and many of them are complaining about lack of basic foods and medicine. Or how about a flotilla to help thousands of Libyan families who have fled to neighboring countries in the last few months? Or a flotilla to Saudi Arabia to express solidarity with women who are being arrested for driving cars?
Reader comments on this item
|Educate the world on what is going on, please! [68 words]||Jenny Change||Dec 20, 2012 15:06|
|Flotilla better off in Syria's border with Turkey [171 words]||Davida Geller Rosenberg||Jul 1, 2011 09:44|
|I like what you are writing Khaled Abu Toameh [26 words]||Yossef||Jul 1, 2011 08:51|
Comment on this item
by Ben Cohen
Now, with the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.
That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.
by Lawrence A. Franklin
One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."
by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.
by Yaakov Lappin
Hamas's long-term ambitions are indistinguishable from those of Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Hamas will now focus on its next goal -- trying to strengthen its presence in the West Bank and eventually toppling the Palestinian Authority from power there, just as it did in Gaza. If Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank, Hamas would certainly find such a goal easier to accomplish.
Nothing keeps the flames of jihad alight, and Hamas's popularity secure, like frequent wars.
by Alan M. Dershowitz