Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.
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Gaza City, November 18 - United Nations and Hamas officials confirmed today that both organizations want this coming winter to be especially cold and wet, so that the consequent suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is intense enough to be used effectively in international publicity and fundraising.
A spokesman for the UN agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, told reporters the organization was looking forward to what forecasters predict will be another harsh rainy season. "We anticipate that if this coming winter is as rainy, possibly snowy, and frigid as the last few have been, we ought to come out of it with some dynamite images and stories of heartbreaking misery," said Chris Gunness. "Donors love that. They just eat it up. So if we want to keep this operation well funded, and not have to find an actual peaceful solution for Palestinian refugees the way the UN does for every single other kind of refugee, we're counting on some good flooding, hypothermia, homelessness, and possibly even a cholera outbreak or something, to give the story that post-calamity feel and really tug at the heartstrings."
"Wait, is that hypothermia or hyperthermia? I always get mixed up."
A Hamas official expressed similar sentiments. "We rely on, and engineer, continued Palestinian misery to use a political and propaganda weapon," explained Mahmoud al-Zahar. "Our continued diversion of materials from reconstruction of people's destroyed homes to build up our tunnel and bunker network is more than just a way for our forces to get their hands on those precious supplies; it also serves the purpose of keeping thousands of people rendered homeless in the last war out of permanent housing, people whose suffering is pure gold when it comes to generating international sympathy for us and making Israel look bad regardless of Israeli behavior one way or the other."
Analysts note that the increasing reliance on nature to produce Palestinian misery in Gaza helps save Hamas resources in its war against Israel. "Conserving military resources is even more important now that Egypt has destroyed or shut down so many of the smuggling tunnels under the border at Rafah," said Jordanian commentator Malik Kiwals. "If the weather cooperates and just slams Gaza this winter, Hamas won't have to fire volleys of precious rockets at Israeli civilians to provoke retaliation resulting in death and destruction. They can just let Mother Nature do the job, and use the rockets later."
Gunness said that last year at this time his agency had considered taking active steps to increase suffering in Gaza but that was rendered unnecessary when sudden flooding occurred and international media immediately and uncritically parroted local sources accusing Israel of opening dams to cause the deluge. "Apparently there are no Israeli dams in the area," he chuckled. "Who knew?"
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