Dozens of families still live in tents amid collapsed buildings and rusting pipes. With construction materials barred, a few are building mud-brick homes. Everything but food and medicine has to be smuggled through desert tunnels from Egypt...
Four months after Israel waged a war here to stop Hamas rocket fire and two years after Hamas took full control of this coastal strip, Gaza is like an island adrift. Squeezed from without by an Israeli and Egyptian boycott and from within by their
Islamist rulers, the 1.5 million people here are cut off from any productivity or hope...
There are tens of thousands of educated and ambitious people here, teachers, engineers, translators, business managers, who have nothing to do but grow frustrated. They cannot practice their professions and they cannot leave. They collect welfare and smoke in cafes. A United Nations survey shows a spike in domestic violence...
Many here are especially worried about the young. At a program aimed at helping those traumatized by the January war, teenagers are offered colored markers to draw anything they like, says Farah Abu Qasem, 20, a student of English translation who volunteers at the program.
“They seem only to choose black and to draw things like tanks,” she said. “And when we ask them to draw something that represents the future, they leave the paper blank.”
No surprises there, and I'm not really sure why this story has been deemed headline worthy. I don't think it would have occurred to me to mention it, were it not for the deep irony in the juxtapostion of headlines.
Consider the New York Times headline, above, with this one from the same day - "Despite No Links to Violence, Founders of Muslim Charity Sentenced to Lengthy Terms for Donations to Needy Palestinians in Occupied Territories." That one is from Democracy Now!, a long-running and well-regarded independent media outlet from New York. Here's a synopsis of what happened:
Five founders of the Holy Land Foundation, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity, have received prison terms of up to sixty-five years on charges of supporting the Palestinian group Hamas. The five were never accused of supporting violence and were convicted for funding charities that aided needy Palestinians. The government’s case relied on Israeli intelligence as well as disputed documents and electronic surveillance gathered by the FBI over a span of fifteen years.
I think that might be part of the reason that, as a Palestinian man stuck living in Gaza said, “Right after the war, everybody came — journalists, foreign governments and charities promising to help,” said Hashem Dardona, 47, who is unemployed. “Now, nobody comes.” It's hard when they're shut down and locked up. That type of persecution sets a heavy example for others who would wish to do the same things.
Let's make that very plain: Israeli military commanders decide how much food people in Gaza are allowed to have. They decide when they can have it, and what kinds. Were they in such a mood, they could decide that Gazans get no food. What would happen? People would starve. Israel would face "international diplomatic pressure." The Israeli government would show no remorse or compunction and would surely blame those who died. In short, nothing would change. I wonder where "terrorism" comes from.
In Gaza, you have no control. You are controlled by shitbags of all stripes above you. And they pull those strings tight.