Thursday, November 24, 2011

The irony of a "Palestine" tourism video

Here's how the United Nations Development Programme describes its aims in the Palestinian Arab territories:
UNDP’s assistance to the Palestinian people in all sectors, in both the West Bank and Gaza and in times of emergency and of peace, is aimed towards reducing poverty and rebuilding livelihoods. Since 1978, our Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People has been implementing projects in the occupied Palestinian territory worth over US$600 million, focusing on the areas vital to the Palestinian well-being and socio-economic development, such as water, health and education facilities, social services, infrastructure and rural and agricultural development.

All of these are worthy activities for people who are in desperate need.

Which makes the following video most interesting. Very professionally done, it was released by the PA Ministry of Tourism and it shows a place where you can get anything you want:

There is a bit of a disconnect between how "Palestine" is described in UNDP and other UN literature and how it is presented in this video. From reading the UNDP quote above, for example, you would believe that Palestinian Arabs are poor and in need of a lot of assistance from the outside.

Watching the video, one gets the opposite impression. "Palestine" is a place where businessmen and wealthy tourists do not have to compromise on their standards, where luxury is the norm:

The irony is that the video was funded by - the UNDP!

The UN has a vested interest in making the PalArab territories appear impoverished and oppressed, but it is funding a video that makes those same areas appear luxurious and trendy.

It is a bit hypocritical to claim poverty and a demand UN handouts in order to make a video that shows such apparent riches.

The UNDP does lots of impressive things - helping provide clean water, sustainable food supplies, medical infrastructure, microloans to help women in developing countries, and so on. Somehow I don't think that helping tourism is one of their core goals. (They do discuss eco-tourism on their site to help out impoverished countries and protect their natural resources, but this is nothing like that.)

The sad fact is that giving money to Palestinian Arabs is no longer even vaguely related to their need. It is trendy, not necessary. Their money train is now running on inertia.

No more proof is needed than the Hoping Foundation benefit "for Palestinian refugee children" held in England this week, where dozens of airhead celebrities dressed up and hung out - raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Look at their pictures. You can just feel how much they care about "Palestine."