Something missing in anti-Israel WaPo article

Leo Rennert
According to Janine Zacharia, the Washington Post's Jerusalem correspondent, economic and social problems in Gaza date back to 2005 when "Israel first imposed a closure on the territory" and "the blockade has intensified over the three years since Hamas seized power." Then things got worse, she adds, with shortages of construction materials to repair buildings "Israel bombed last year" ("In Gaza, a dysfunctional way of life" June 3, front page).

In other words, whatever problems Gazans experience are Israel's fault -- a tendentious misreading of recent history. Because there's a glaring omission in Zacharia's dispatch -- no mention whatsoever of some 10,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilian targets over the last decade by Hamas and other terrorist groups.


Gaza's problems and shortcomings, contrary to Zacharia's blame-Israel version, are due entirely to Hamas's decision to convert the territory into an aggressive launch pad for attacking Israel. When Ariel Sharon pulled out all Israeli settlements and military installations from Gaza in 2005, Palestinians had a choice. They could have built a peaceful, prosperous society by concentrating exclusively on developing a modern, thriving economy. This is what Sharon and Israel hoped for. Instead, Hamas and other terror groups, which already had been firing mortar shells and rockets at Israel since the start of the decade, intensified their aggressive moves once Hamas violently overthrew Palestinian Authority rule three years ago.


With hundreds of thousands of Israelis regularly terrorized by rocket barrages from Gaza, Israel in late 2008 responded by attacking Hamas targets and infrastructure. While the rate of rocket attacks dropped sharply, Qassam firings have not ceased. There have been dozens of rocket and mortar attacks since the start of the year.


By totally blanking out this history, Zacharia falsely puts the blame on Israel, ignoring the compelling self-defense reasons for Israel's blockade. As a result, her article leaves Hamas off the hook as the real culprit which has made life in Gaza less than blissful.


Zacharia's upside-down narrative also fails to give Post readers a full account of the extent of Israeli transfers of humanitarian aid to Gaza. While Zacharia briefly notes that during a typical week in May, Israel allowed in 637 truckloads ferrying 14,000 tons of food, medicine and other supplies, she fails to specify the wide range of goods ferried daily by such convoys. A detailed description of all the foodstuffs and other supplies might have let readers decide for themselves whether there really was any need for blockade-running ships to duplicate Israel's regular shipments.


Nor does Zacharia mention that during any typical week, Israel also transfers huge amounts of diesel and cooking fuel into Gaza and allows scores of Gazans requiring advanced medical care to come to Israel for excellent treatment in Israeli hospitals.


Zacharia may have found life in Gaza "dysfunctional," but so is her blame-Israel piece -- in spades.


LEO RENNERT



According to Janine Zacharia, the Washington Post's Jerusalem correspondent, economic and social problems in Gaza date back to 2005 when "Israel first imposed a closure on the territory" and "the blockade has intensified over the three years since Hamas seized power." Then things got worse, she adds, with shortages of construction materials to repair buildings "Israel bombed last year" ("In Gaza, a dysfunctional way of life" June 3, front page).

In other words, whatever problems Gazans experience are Israel's fault -- a tendentious misreading of recent history. Because there's a glaring omission in Zacharia's dispatch -- no mention whatsoever of some 10,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilian targets over the last decade by Hamas and other terrorist groups.


Gaza's problems and shortcomings, contrary to Zacharia's blame-Israel version, are due entirely to Hamas's decision to convert the territory into an aggressive launch pad for attacking Israel. When Ariel Sharon pulled out all Israeli settlements and military installations from Gaza in 2005, Palestinians had a choice. They could have built a peaceful, prosperous society by concentrating exclusively on developing a modern, thriving economy. This is what Sharon and Israel hoped for. Instead, Hamas and other terror groups, which already had been firing mortar shells and rockets at Israel since the start of the decade, intensified their aggressive moves once Hamas violently overthrew Palestinian Authority rule three years ago.


With hundreds of thousands of Israelis regularly terrorized by rocket barrages from Gaza, Israel in late 2008 responded by attacking Hamas targets and infrastructure. While the rate of rocket attacks dropped sharply, Qassam firings have not ceased. There have been dozens of rocket and mortar attacks since the start of the year.


By totally blanking out this history, Zacharia falsely puts the blame on Israel, ignoring the compelling self-defense reasons for Israel's blockade. As a result, her article leaves Hamas off the hook as the real culprit which has made life in Gaza less than blissful.


Zacharia's upside-down narrative also fails to give Post readers a full account of the extent of Israeli transfers of humanitarian aid to Gaza. While Zacharia briefly notes that during a typical week in May, Israel allowed in 637 truckloads ferrying 14,000 tons of food, medicine and other supplies, she fails to specify the wide range of goods ferried daily by such convoys. A detailed description of all the foodstuffs and other supplies might have let readers decide for themselves whether there really was any need for blockade-running ships to duplicate Israel's regular shipments.


Nor does Zacharia mention that during any typical week, Israel also transfers huge amounts of diesel and cooking fuel into Gaza and allows scores of Gazans requiring advanced medical care to come to Israel for excellent treatment in Israeli hospitals.


Zacharia may have found life in Gaza "dysfunctional," but so is her blame-Israel piece -- in spades.


LEO RENNERT