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Friday, August 21, 2009

How bad are things in Gaza?

The Free Gaza movement just released a Ramadan message begging for funds.

Dear Friends of Palestine,

Inshallah, this appeal finds you and your families in the very best of circumstances. Sadly, not all of our brothers and sisters in the world share this good fortune. The Palestinian people continue to live under a cruel occupation regime, subjected to merciless Israeli policies designed to ethnically cleanse Palestine of her people. The situation is especially dire in Gaza, where Israel has imposed a brutal siege that is denying 1.5 million Palestinians basic food, medicine, and the freedoms that we take for granted.

So how has Gaza been doing while under this brutal siege designed to mercilessly ethnically cleanse all of Palestine?

The current blockade began in June 2007, although the military blockade started at the outset of the intifada. One would expect that things must have gotten progressively worse for Gazans over the years from reading propaganda from Free Gaza as well as the media.

The data show differently.

The most obvious metric is life expectancy. After two years of supposedly restricting food and medicine into Gaza, one would think that it must be effecting the demographics of Gaza by now.

The truth may surprise you (all figures from CIA World Factbook, historical data from IndexMundi)

YearLife expectancy
at birth
RankPercent
Change
Date of
Information
200371.4106
2003 est.
200471.791110.55 %2004 est.
200571.791130.00 %2005 est.
200671.971160.25 %2006 est.
200772.161140.26 %2007 est.
200873.161051.39 %2008 est.
200973.421070.36 %2009 est.

During the blockade, the life expectancy increased at a faster rate than beforehand!

Not only that, but Gaza's life expectancy ranks solidly in the middle compared to all world countries and areas, higher than many Arab countries like Egypt and Morocco (as well as Syria), and nearly seven years above the world average.

How about infant mortality? With the lack of medicines, Gaza must have been doing very badly in that area under this horrendous siege, right?

Wrong:

YearInfant
mortality rate
RankPercent
Change
Date of
Information
200324.15109
2003 est.
200422.93107-5.05 %2004 est.
200522.931070.00 %2005 est.
200622.4107-2.31 %2006 est.
200721.88105-2.32 %2007 est.
200819113-13.16 %2008 est.
200918.35114-3.54 %2009 est.

Those numbers have also gotten much better since the "siege." And the world average is 40.85, more than double Gaza's rate. Gaza has better numbers than Mexico and the Philippines, not to mention Egypt and Turkey.

Comparing Gaza with sub-Saharan nations is even more striking. The infant mortality rates in Angola are nearly ten times worse than in Gaza, and the life expectancy in most African nations ranges from 31 to 60.

Zakat money would be better spent in other parts of the world.