Friday, June 04, 2010

Anti-Israel propaganda disguised as a backgrounder

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/06/want_to_know_more_about_israel.htmlForeign Policy has what appears to be a well-sourced, fact-based article called "What exactly is the blockade of Gaza?" Ezra Klein at the WashPo raves about it (from Memeorandum.)

Unfortunately, the article does nothing to answer its titular question. It just uses statistics and, in one case, an outright lie to show how Gazans' lives are not great, and by implication is blames Israel's blockade on all of these things. it doesn't say a word as to why there is a blockade, whether it is legal, what Israel does to help Gazans nor whether Egypt shares any responsibility for the blockade. It is meant to anger, not inform.

Written by Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Fund and the Palestine Center, it starts off talking about Gaza's electricity woes. What he doesn't mention is that Israel does not limit fuel shipments to Gaza for its power plant - that limitation is mostly from the Palestinian Arab ability to pay the fuel bills. He doesn't mention that Israel has shipped plenty of equipment to maintain the electrical grid - hardly a "blockade." He doesn't mention that 70% of Gaza's Elecricity is supplied directly by Israel.

In other words, he chooses some facts and lets the reader draw the wrong conclusion.

Next, he says "Israel has not permitted supplies into the Gaza Strip to rebuild the sewage system." This is, simply, a lie. Israel's MFA site says
During the first quarter of 2010, the UN coordinated with Israel the transfer of equipment for UNWRA to upgrade the sewage pumping station.... Moreover, 48 trucks of equipment for improving the sanitation infrastructure led to a substantial reduction in the Beit Lahya facility's waste levels.

Munayyer mentions that the health sector was damaged by Cast Lead, but doesn't mention that nearly 5000 tons of medical equipment and medicine has somehow been allowed through Israel's blockade. Israel shipped wheelchairs, crutches, first aid kits, heart-monitors, baby feeding tubes, dental equipment, medical books, ambulance emergency equipment, artificial limbs and infant sleeping bags. Much more has arrived this year.

He says that "1103 individuals applied for permits to exit the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing for medical treatment in 2009" of which 20% were delayed or denied. This is a nicely deceptive statistic, since the number of Gazans went to Israel for medical purposes was over 10,000.

He doesn't mention how many patients didn't make it to Egypt.

In other words, this is a pure propaganda piece disguised as a fact-based backgrounder. To see real numbers, all you have to do is go to Israel's MFA site.