Hvorfor går ikke Gaza-hjelpen til syrere?

Av Khaled Abu Toameh

Om noen uker åpner det største kjøpe­sen­ter på pale­stinsk side i Gaza. Det er på høyde med vest­lige: med kinoer, kaffe­ba­rer, og butik­ker som fører merke­va­rer som Armani, Ralph Lau­ren, Polo, Tommy Hil­fi­ger og Nautica.

Hvor­dan skal Gaza-konvoien for­klare at dette er en befolk­ning som tren­ger nød­hjelp som slår seg inn med makt? Burde ikke akti­vis­tene hel­ler kon­sen­trert seg om å hjelpe folk som vir­ke­lig er i nød, slik som syrerne i tyr­kiske flykt­ning­leire, eller alle som sit­ter stran­det etter bor­ger­kri­gen i Libya, spør Kha­led Abu Toameh.

It was a very hot week­end for Pale­sti­ni­ans in the Gaza Strip. That is why thou­sands of them pre­ferred to enjoy their time on the clean beaches, swim­ming, sun­bat­hing, riding hor­ses, sai­ling, smo­king water pipes and barbequing.

These pho­tos were pro­vi­ded not by a Jewish pho­to­grap­her or some naïve Western repor­ter who hap­pe­ned to be in the Gaza Strip last week.

The pho­tos were actually pub­lis­hed by a Hamas-affiliated web­site in an attempt to show that the situa­tion in the Gaza Strip under Hamas’s rule is not as bad as many people think.

No one is say­ing that the situa­tion in the Gaza Strip is very good. It was never good – not when Egypt was there, not when Israel cap­tu­red it in 1967, not when the PLO assu­med con­trol over the area in 1994 and not under Hamas today.

There has always been poverty in the Gaza Strip, where more than 80 per­cent of the people rely on han­douts from UNRWA and dozens of inter­na­tio­nal aid organizations.

But the irony is that, in compa­ri­son with the past, the situa­tion in the Gaza Strip these days is much bet­ter. The rate of crime has drop­ped to its low­est in deca­des, and many Pale­sti­ni­ans there are say­ing that they don’t miss the anar­chy, cor­rup­tion and law­lessness that pre­vai­led under the Fatah-dominated Pale­sti­nian Authority.

In a few weeks, the lar­gest Pale­sti­nian shop­ping mall is sche­du­led to open its gates in the Gaza Strip, offe­ring Pale­sti­ni­ans a wide range of ser­vices, inclu­ding cine­mas, modern coffee shops and bou­ti­ques car­ry­ing inter­na­tio­nal brands such as Armani, Ralph Lau­ren, Polo, Tommy Hil­fi­ger and Nautica.

Accor­ding to Pale­sti­ni­ans living in the Gaza Strip, there is no shor­tage of basic foods. Perio­dic shor­tage of medi­cal sup­plies is often attri­buted to the ongo­ing power struggle between Hamas and Fatah, whose repre­sen­ta­ti­ves in the West Bank are some­ti­mes accu­sed of withhol­ding medi­cine as a way of punish­ing the Hamas government.

Hamas Prime Minis­ter Ismail Hani­yeh last week boa­sted that, unlike the Western-funded govern­ment of Salam Fayyad, his govern­ment was not in debt and does not have any pro­blem pay­ing sala­ries to tens of thou­sands of people who are on its payroll.

In light of all the good news from that area, one won­ders about the pur­pose of the new flo­tilla of ships to the Gaza Strip. Is it about hel­ping Pale­sti­ni­ans in the Gaza Strip or is it sim­ply inten­ded to chal­lenge Israel?

It is always nice to send huma­ni­ta­rian aid to people who need it. And there is no doubt that there are many Pale­sti­ni­ans in the Gaza Strip who are in need of such aid.

But are there not other ways of hel­ping the Pale­sti­ni­ans in the Gaza Strip wit­hout chal­len­ging and pro­vo­king Israel? Why not, for example, try to send huma­ni­ta­rian aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah bor­der crossing with Egypt? Why aren’t the flo­tilla orga­nizers pro­tes­ting against Egypt’s con­ti­nued rest­ric­tions on the move­ment of Pale­sti­ni­ans? Why are the new rulers of Egypt pre­ven­ting goods and huma­ni­ta­rian aid from ente­ring the Gaza Strip through their territories?

Finally, wouldn’t it have been bet­ter if the flo­tilla orga­nizers had plan­ned a jour­ney to the bor­der between Tur­key and Syria to help the thou­sands of Syrian refugees who have fled from their coun­try in recent weeks? Those refugees can­not go to the beach or shop­ping malls and many of them are com­pla­i­ning about lack of basic foods and medi­cine. Or how about a flo­tilla to help thou­sands of Libyan fami­lies who have fled to neigh­bo­ring countries in the last few mon­ths? Or a flo­tilla to Saudi Ara­bia to express soli­darity with women who are being arrested for dri­ving cars?

Life for Pale­sti­ni­ans in Gaza Strip Improved, So Why Send Flo­tilla There?

Kha­led Abu Toameh er jour­na­list i Jeru­sa­lem Post og pale­stinsk bor­ger av Israel.

Docu­ment tak­ker for til­la­telse til å bruke hans artikler.




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