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**Interesting economic news today: Israel has been the only “Western” country that has reduced its debt as a proportion of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the past five years. At the end of 2012, Israel owed $194 billion dollars to financial institutions and investors–which was 73.5% of a GDP of 267.5 billion dollars. This ratio is down from 80% in 2008. Not surprisingly, Israel is also the only Western country whose credit rating has increased since 2008.
**There are varying reports from Turkey today that Hassan Nasrallah, the terrorist head of Hezbollah, has been moved to Tehran for treatment of cancer. Other unconfirmed reports from Jordan suggest that either Nasrallah or his chief aide was badly injured in an attack by the “Free Syrian Army.
Your humble servant never ceases to be amazed at the amount of propaganda distributed by the world’s media concerning the situation in Gaza. It is not merely that incorrect information is deliberately given, but also information is deliberately omitted in order to cast Israel in a negative light. And whatever journalistic technique is used, the overriding attempt is to portray Palestinians in Gaza as childlike victims at the mercy of an Israeli oppressor.
A case in point is the following article that appeared today in the online edition of the Financial Times. Authored by John Reed in Gaza, the article supposedly describes the hardships faced by Gazan farmers. Your humble servant has reprinted part of the article below with my own comments in [brackets].
Gaza Exporters Face Tough Restrictions
By John Reed in Gaza City
(Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013)
“In a hothouse in the southern Gaza Strip, farmworkers are harvesting fragrant red peppers destined for Europe, packing them into boxes with a logo of a green leaf and the words: ‘Palestine Crops – from Palestine Land to Global Market.’”
[Note how the author immediately suggests that Gazan farmworkers are working in difficult conditions–“in a hothouse”, and how the author underscores that the peppers come from “Palestine Land”].
“The co-operative also grows chili peppers, cherry tomatoes, herbs and flowers and has a small foothold in export markets, selling some of its produce to supermarkets in the Netherlands and the UK.”
[The poor Palestinians have only been able to attain “a small foothold”.]
“But the company, like Gaza’s other exporters, has a tenuous hold on its foreign markets. Its crops leave for Europe via the border at Kerem Shalom, the only one of six crossings through which Israel permits commercial goods to enter its territory from Gaza.”
[Enter the evil Israelis–who are responsible for the poor Palestinians’ “tenuous hold” because of only permitting Gazan commercial goods through one crossing].
“During last November’s military escalation between Israel and Hamas, the crossing was closed for about a month. The farm’s crop of basil – a product with no market in Gaza – had to be uprooted, and today lies in desiccated black clumps outside one of the hothouses.”
[The evil Israelis strike again–causing the uprooting and dessication of black clumps of basil. Of course there is no suggestion that the Palestinians were responsible for this closing themselves by firing over 1800 missiles into southern Israel in an attempt to kill Israeli children, women, and men during the month of November alone.]
“Israel on Tuesday again shut the Kerem Shalom crossing after militants fired a rocket across the border, again closing the sole route by which Gaza’s exports reach the outside world.”
[Note that the Gazans themselves have no responsibility for the Tuesday closure: “militants”–blithely–“fired a rocket across the border.” Again, no mention is made of the impact of such rocket fire on Israelis –nothing about increased miscarriages, nothing about children and adults with PTSD.]
“’If we know that the terminal is open, we can guarantee the market’s need, but nobody has that guarantee,” says Jamal Abu Al Naja, the co-operative’s president. “It’s a risky business that we have now, but we need to keep our position on markets.”’
[Note that at no point in this article is there any mention that Israel remarkably runs export seminars for Gazan farmers, and Israel provides seeds to Gazan farmers, and Israel facilitates export of Gazan products. Instead, the poor Palestinians must undertake “a risky business” to survive.]
“Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, Israel has imposed a strict blockade on imports into Gaza, fueling a black market in goods smuggled in via tunnels from Egypt.”
[Again the evil Israelis are at work. There is no mention of the fact that Hamas prefers to smuggle products in through the tunnels so that they can make a bigger profit when it sells those products to people in Gaza–the same people in Gaza that voted for a Hamas government in the first place].
“Less remarked upon are the strict curbs imposed on Gaza’s small coterie of export companies, which sell products such as strawberries, flowers and furniture. Palestinians say the restrictions are suppressing honest livelihoods in a territory where about 80 per cent of the population subsists on humanitarian aid.”
[Israel is “suppressing honest livelihoods” and is forcing 80% of the population to subsist “on humanitarian aid.” Where is there any discussion of the fact that Israel withdrew from every square inch of Gaza almost a decade ago and that the Rafah crossing to Egypt is open?]
“The catastrophe in Gaza is not an earthquake or a flood, it’s man-made,” says Hamdi Shaqqura, of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza City. “Gazans are not lazy people; they are very active and skillful, and need opportunities and an immediate lift of the closure so they can produce and export.”
[If only it were not for the evil Israelis, Gazan activity and skill would flourish–like it did (jokingly) prior to 1967.]
“Under terms of last November’s ceasefire, fishermen can now cast their nets up to six (rather than three) nautical miles out to sea. Farmers can graze or grow crops up to 300 meters from the Israeli border fence.”
[“Cast their nets”, “Palestinian villages”, “shepherding their flocks”–the pastoral cliches used to describe Palestinians are hilarious].
“However, human rights campaigners have documented cases of farmers and fishermen being injured or killed by Israeli Defence Force soldiers patrolling the border since the end of the conflict.”
[Let’s see. Hamas sends out mobs to the Border Fence each day to try to breach the fence. Some Hamas infiltrators have been captured in Israeli communities with knives and other weapons. But never mind, the IDF should not patrol the border.]
“Gazan exporters, meanwhile, face a circuitous, costly and difficult path to foreign markets for their goods, all of which transit at the Kerem Shalom crossing.”
[“Circuitous”, “costly”–the poor Palestinians, again.]
“At the border, the farmers’ co-operative is required to load its boxes of produce on to one metre square pallets that are then fed through a security scanner. They are then reloaded on to a convoy to take them to the other side.”
[“Is required” by the evil Israelis . . . “boxes” . . . one metre square . . .]
“The procedure takes time and puts the farm at a cost disadvantage, because the pallets hold just 50 boxes, compared to the 250 Israeli farmers fit on to their standard-size pallets.”
[The poor Palestinians again are put “at a cost disadvantage”. Oh and why are Gazans subjected to such atrocities? Could it be that there are security issues involved?]
“’For sure, the Israeli farmers have a benefit,” says Mr Al Naja. Once screened, the co-operative’s goods are sent to an Israeli company that exports them on to Europe.”
[Well, after all, Israeli farmers are Israelis. Are we supposed to believe that Israel should not benefit Israeli farmers?]
And so goes the article . . . it is too long to present in its entirety here. Suffice it to say that it is just one of hundreds of such articles that flood the international media everyday in an attempt to delegitimize Israel.
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