Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sara Roy and Eyad al-Sarraj ask: Why is this acceptable?--updated II

Harvard U.-based Roy is the leading expert in the U.S. on social and economic conditions in Gaza, and al-Sarraj is a Palestinian psychiatrist who heads the renowned Mental Health Program in Gaza. Al-Sarraj, a consistent voice of civility in Gaza, has been jailed both by Israel and the PA.
This article is noteworthy not only for clear moral compass that guides it, but also for the sharing of findings that are largely absent from western, and especially mainstream U.S. media coverage of the situation in Gaza.
Critics of the authors have latched on to a howler of a typo where the word "tons" was substituted for "pounds." As typos go that is a champion; however, the underlying fact is that flour shipments to Gaza have been reduced by about 73 percent. Since bread is the key component in the daily diet of most Gazans the reduction in flour shipments is important as a measure of the collective punishment that has been inflicted on the strip.

I suggest you read the complete piece at:
Ending the stranglehold on Gaza - The Boston Globe

Only excerpts are offered here:

"The siege on Gaza and the West Bank began after Hamas's 2006 electoral victory with an international diplomatic and financial boycott of the new Hamas-led government. Development assistance was severely reduced with the improbable aim of bringing about a popular uprising against the very government just elected to power. Instead, this collective punishment resulted in a steady deterioration of Palestinian life, in growing lawlessness, and a violent confrontation between Fatah and Hamas, which escalated into a Hamas military takeover of Gaza in June 2007.

"Since then, the siege has been tightened to an unprecedented level. Over 80 percent of the population of 1.5 million (compared to 63 percent in 2006) is dependent on international food assistance, which itself has been dramatically reduced.

"In 2007, 87 percent of Gazans lived below the poverty line, more than a tripling of the percentage in 2000. In a November 2007 report, the Red Cross stated about the food allowed into Gaza that people are getting "enough to survive, not enough to live.""


"Since June, Israel has limited its exports to Gaza to nine basic materials. Out of 9,000 commodities (including foodstuffs) that were entering Gaza before the siege began two years ago, only 20 commodities have been permitted entry since. Although Gaza daily requires 680,000 tons of flour [SHOULD READ POUNDS, SEE COMMENTS] to feed its population, Israel had cut this to 90 tons per day by November 2007, a reduction of 99 percent [SHOULD READ MORE THAN 70%]. Not surprisingly, there has been a sharp increase in the prices of foodstuffs.

"Gaza also suffers from the ongoing destruction of its agriculture and physical infrastructure. Between June and November 2006, $74.7 million in damage was inflicted by the Israeli military on top of the nearly $2 billion already incurred by Palestinians between 2002 and 2005. Over half the damage was to agricultural land flattened by bulldozers, with the remainder to homes, public buildings, roads, water and sewage pipes, electricity infrastructure, and phone lines."

The psychological damage of living in a war zone may surpass the physical. According to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, between Sept. 1, 2005, and July 25, 2007, 668 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli security forces. Over half were noncombatants and 126 were children. During the same period, Qassam rockets and mortar shells killed eight Israelis, half of them civilians.

Gaza is no longer approaching economic collapse. It has collapsed. Given the intensity of repression Gaza is facing, can the collapse of its society - family, neighborhood, and community structure - be far behind? If that happens, we shall all suffer the consequences for generations to come.

The Globe corrected the tons for pounds gaff on January 30, 2008:
Correction: A column on Saturday by Eyad al-Sarraj and Sara Roy incorrectly said that Gaza requires 680,000 tons of flour daily to feed its population. It is 680,000 pounds, which means a reduction of 73 percent, not 99 percent, of flour allowed into Gaza.


misledrkstar said...

this article is propaganda details here

arn said...

No question that there was a typo. My guess is that the noun should be "pounds" not "tons", which means 340 tons has been cut to 90. In turn, that reflects a more than 70% reduction in flour, which is hardly a trivial number.
Barring the typo, the article remains authoritative.
Perhaps Misled would like to challenge other numbers in the piece?

Anonymous said...

Im not asking you to guess. Im going by what the article states. Nowhere do i see anything about rockets being fired into Israel. Nowhere do i see that Hamas staged meetings during the day with curtains pulled so they could light candles. Nowhere do i see anything stating that the whole thing was a publicity stunt by the terrorist group Hamas. It this an anti-semite webpage?

arn said...

The article is about the deteriorating conditions in Gaza. You seem to want to imply that rockets fired by Palestinian militants into Israel should justify the impoverishment of Gaza? Is that your point?

steve said...

Yep. As long as the Palestinians support "militants" they deserve what they get. Did Ghandi fire rockets at the British? Did MLK fire rockets at white southerners? No they did not. I dont see Hamas doing anything to curb rocket attacks. No country in the world would stand for daily firing of rockets into its territory, why should Israel? On top of all that the article is propaganda, the #'s are wrong. You can "guess" all you want, it does not change the Boston Globe printed it as fact, and 90% is showing up everywhere because of this "article." Let me know when you see a retraction/correction. You never answered my question, is this an anti-semite webpage? Or anti "Zionist"?