Organizations like Reuters and the Associated Press are prone to showing the horrors of life in the Gaza Strip through alleged journalism and a plethora of photographs. In the case of Reuters, doctored photographs on occasion, which has been proven. Here in the United States, nightly news shows quiver over the chance to show another Israeli "attack" on the people of Gaza or the effects of the blockade on the huddled masses.
But when a revelation such as has been offered recently of the splendor and prosperity in the region comes to light, those organizations choose to ignore it. This, of course, makes it easy for those who do not wish to believe it to cry foul over the sources that do report on it. On July 20th, I wrote about the subject in Adversaries of Veracity, as did many other blogs like mine, and still it was dismissed or ignored.
Many people who condemned the Flotilla incident of late May are probably unaware of the layout of the region and the circumstances of the situation over there, preferring to get their opinions from the likes of the anti-Semite Helen Thomas. But a quick look at the accompanying map reveals that the Gaza Strip enjoys roughly fifty miles of beachfront property on the Mediterranean Sea.
Recently Egyptian journalist Ashraf Abu al-Houl took a trip to Gaza and was surprised by what he saw, declaring that "in actual terms, Gaza is not under siege". In fact, he said that what he witnessed was a sense of absolute prosperity. "A sense of absolute prosperity prevails, as manifested by the grand resorts along and near Gaza's coast. Further, the site of the merchandise and luxuries filling the Gaza shops amazed me,” he reported.
He was quick to add a caveat, however. From the website LibertysFlame: Concerned that his initial impression of prosperity may have been misleading, “I toured the new resorts, most of which are quite grand, as well as the commercial markets, to verify my hypothesis. The resorts and markets have come to symbolize prosperity, and to prove that the siege is formal or political, not economic,” Al-Houl said.
Gaza's markets are filled with a “plethora of goods,” he wrote. Prices on many items, particularly food, are much lower than they are in Egypt, he said. With goods entering Gaza from both smuggling tunnels to Egypt and humanitarian aid shipments coming in via Israeli crossings, “supply is much greater than demand,” he stated.According to al-Houl, only about 20% of the population of Gaza enjoys this "absolute prosperity", while 80% are left to languish in the despair of which the rest of the world routinely hears. Is Israel to blame for such a disparity? Where is the condemnation from the world of Hamas and particularly the United Nations workers who bask in luxury while the majority suffer?
The evident prosperity is not enjoyed by all, or even most, of Gaza's residents, according to Al-Houl. The problem is the vast differences in the distribution of wealth. The luxury resorts and wide range of consumer goods are enjoyed by “only a few groups,” he said, primarily those who own smuggling tunnels to Egypt and those who work for international organizations such as the United Nations' UNRWA and who do not include or aid the rest of the population.
Most of the new resorts “are owned by members, or associates, of Hamas,” he reported. “In addition, the Hamas municipalities charge high fees, in Gaza terms, for the use of public beaches,” he added.
According to the Jerusalem Post Palestinians in Gaza have invested twenty million dollars in resorts. The good news is that much of that money has been diverted from investment in the tunnels to Egypt, in part because the Israeli and Egyptian crackdowns have made it too risky to invest there. This is yet another positive development in the region that ABC News will not be broadcasting.
Perhaps al-Houl's caveat was designed to prevent the world from believing that Gaza was anything but a cesspool of suffering, but in my mind, he only succeeded in a stinging indictment of Hamas and the U.N. Of course, places like this are the only ones where you will learn of it. Don't expect any sort of exposé to come blaring out of your television one evening while eating dinner. Sphere: Related Content