British Prime Minister, David Cameron, exploited his visit to Turkey to curry favour with his hosts, using Palestinian propaganda hype, saying that Israel’s blockade turned the Gaza strip into a “prison camp”.
Every last Israeli left Gaza long before Hamas' bloody take-over. Closing the borders and even war has not stopped the incessant rockets and terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens and border checkpoints. More than 30 terrorist attacks come out of Gaza each month.
Applying international law, Israel inspects the constant flow of goods through its borders into Gaza, in an attempt to exclude war material. Propagandists (and it seems European politicians) conveniently ignore the rules of war and international law, and claim these actions to be a form of occupation. They declare that Israel ruthlessly keeps Gazans in poverty.
Visiting international politicians and aid agency representatives are taken to view the deliberately unrepaired damage of the war Hamas provoked. Poverty stricken areas, including families living in plastic tents since their houses were destroyed in the war, are all on the carefully pre-arranged agenda. Israel is obligingly condemned. And more western tax payer money is pledged to the highest ever per capita aid program.
Although of little interest to the mainstream media, Gazan "poverty" is strongly questioned in the blogosphere. No accumulation of facts seems to be able to stop the constant flow of lies, cynically manipulated into very effective anti-Israel (and often anti-Semitic) propaganda.
Even the Palestinian media reports a very different picture. There is an abundance of both basic and luxury goods. It is not clear if it comes via the Egyptian border, underground tunnels, or the thousands of trucks that the Israelis officially allow to stream through their border crossings. But the fact is that there is plenty, and often at very attractive prices.
Ordinary Palestinian citizens say that there is enough to go around - but the Hamas apparatchiks steal it.
And what of building materials to house those wretched families? Somehow, they don't seem to rank in the Hamas list of priorities. A brand new shopping mall replete with luxury goods, a luxury hotel, a fancy restaurant, an olympic size pool and a fancy jail to lock up prisoners accused of crimes such as "passing information to the Palestinian Authority" all make it into the list of latest completed projects, though.
Electricity shortages? Also an internal problem. Seems that Hamas collects electricity bills from the end user & then steals the money - expecting the Palestinian Authority and international donors to pay the Israeli suppliers. When the suppliers want their overdue money before providing more goods, who do you guess is blamed?
But those wretched Palestinians are suffering. Then again, life expectancy, infant mortality, and even cell phone penetration statistics show Gaza to be better off than other Muslim countries – and in many cases better than most places on earth!
Forgotten is the Economist report of 2004 that the West Bank and Gaza rank amongst the most obese populations in the world.
Clicking on the links embedded above will bring you to lots of reports and pictures showing the truth.
But what about the charge that Israel has turned Gaza into a large open-air jail? We all value freedom of movement. We want to be able to leave our country of residence either permanently or temporarily for vacation, to receive better medical care, to advance our education or business. But of course, we all know that no-one can get in or out. Don't we?
Israel can be forgiven for being very cautious about allowing enemy aliens through its territory - after all Hamas has officially and openly declared its intent to wipe Israel off the map and sends regular rockets across the border to remind us all. Nevertheless, many people do cross the border - usually for humanitarian reasons, often to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.
But what everyone seems to forget is that Israel is not Gaza's only border. Fellow Arab country Egypt, which has supported the Palestinian cause since it was first invented, is linked to Gaza with a little more than 11 km of border, and an official crossing at Rafah.
So why an open air prison? The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) regularly exposes the real problem in its monthly reports. Here it is from this month's bulletin:
Violations of the Right to Travel and Movement International travel, even via Egypt, requires a passport. The PA won't issue Gazans with passports. Gazans can't travel. That's Israel's fault. Clear?
Gaza residents are still suffering from the unavailability of passport books since November 2008 until the end of this current month. According to ICHR information obtained from officials from the Ministry of Interior of the Deposed Government, the MOI in the West Bank does not send passport books for citizens in Gaza Strip which entails depriving them from the right to travel and movement. In addition, it affects most of those in urgent need for traveling abroad for seeking medical care, university education, students and thousands of expatriates whose passports have expired and require renewal.