Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gazans have plenty of food but bored

The real problem of the people of Gaza is so transparent that even the NY Times prints it. And they can't blame Israel any more than Egypt and not at all for the biggest problems.

The people of Gaza have plenty of food and medical supplies. There is no need for ships to break Israel's blockade (which is against weapons) for the basics of life. One big problem in Gaza is no work - boredom. The Palestinians and other Arabs have kept the people of Gaza in limbo for 60 years. In every other situation refugees are moved and settled with homes and jobs, then forgotten. But the Palestinian leaders don't want the wound to heal; they want it open and festering. So they don't allow ending the refugee camps (also on the West Bank.)

NY Times

... There are plenty of things to buy in Gaza; goods are brought over the border or smuggled through the tunnels with Egypt. That is not the problem.
Here it is:
... She has eight children, and her unemployed husband spends his days on sedatives.

“Our husbands don’t work, my kids are not in school, I get nervous, I yell at them, I cry, I fight with my husband,” she blurted. “My husband starts fighting with us and then he cries: ‘What am I going to do? What can I do?’ ”

The others [mothers] knew exactly what she meant.

The Palestinians of Gaza, most of them descended from refugees of the 1948 war that created Israel, have lived through decades of conflict and confrontation. Their scars have accumulated like layers of sedimentary rock, each marking a different crisis — homelessness, occupation, war, dependency.

Today, however, two developments have conspired to turn a difficult life into a new torment: a three-year blockade by Israel and Egypt that has locked them in the small enclave and crushed what there was of a formal local economy; and the bitter rivalry between Palestinian factions, which has undermined identity and purpose, divided families and caused a severe shortage of electricity in the middle of summer.

... In fact, talk about food and people here get angry because it implies that their struggle is over subsistence rather than quality of life. The issue is not hunger. It is idleness, uncertainty and despair.

Any discussion of Gaza’s travails is part of a charged political debate. No humanitarian crisis? That is an Israeli talking point, people here will say, aimed at making the world forget Israel’s misdeeds. Palestinians trapped with no future? They are worse off in Lebanon, others respond, where their “Arab brothers” bar them from buying property and working in most professions.

But the situation is certainly dire. Scores of interviews and hours spent in people’s homes over a dozen consecutive days here produced a portrait of a fractured and despondent society unable to imagine a decent future for itself as it plunges into listless desperation and radicalization.

It seems most unlikely that either a Palestinian state or any kind of Middle East peace can emerge without substantial change here. Gaza, on almost every level, is stuck.


A main road was blocked off and a stage set up for a rally protesting the electricity shortage. Speakers shook nearby windows with the anthems of Hamas, the Islamist party that has held power here for the past three years. Boys in military camouflage goose-stepped. Young men carried posters of a man with vampire teeth biting into a bloodied baby.

The vampire was not Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. It was Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
This is an interesting situation: The Palestinians are severely divided.

And remember that Israel and Egypt are blockading to block shipments of weapons.

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