Greg Myre of the New York Times writes of Gaza today ("Israelis Are Gone, but Gaza Rebuilding Is Slow"). Of particular note are greenhouses which cost $14 million, purchased as a gift to the Palestinians by Americans (many of them Jewish), in hopes they would become part of a viable economy.
The settlements also came with greenhouses that offered the prospect of thousands of agricultural jobs. Yet the greenhouses sit idle.
The Palestinians invested millions of dollars to repair the greenhouses shortly after the Israelis left, and had an excellent crop in the winter of 2005 and 2006. But they were unable to export their produce to Europe, the main market, because Israel kept Gaza's main crossing for goods closed for weeks at a time, citing security concerns.
Short of money and fearing a similar fate this year, the Palestinians did not plant a winter crop in the greenhouses. But the goods crossing has been mostly open in recent weeks, when the crops would have been ready for export.
The Palestinian Agriculture Ministry says it will soon start renting the greenhouses to private farmers and will encourage them to grow for the local market, since there are no guarantees that fruits, vegetables and flowers can be exported in a timely manner.
Another point: It is also odd how the NYT, which favors abortion and population control efforts, not only fails to see problems from Palestinians having 8 or 9 or more children per family. On the contrary, it seems to see such large families as a reason to castigate the Israelis for bringing so much heartbreak to so many family members.