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June 18, 2010
WaPo Falsifies Extent of Israel's Humanitarian Aid To Gaza, Lets Hamas Off The Hook
No sooner does Israel announce that it's easing its land blockade of Gaza than Washington Post correspondent Janine Zacharia complains that it isn't nearly enough, while she turns a blind eye to the fact that Hamas is the real culprit for any deprivations in Gaza because it has turned the territory into a forward base for its war against the Jewish state. ("Israel will allow more goods into Gaza Strip" June 18, page A18).
Zacharia's anti-Israel, pro-Hamas bias is encapsulated in her third paragraph, when she writes about how the flotilla incident "drew the world's attention to the extent of Israel's prohibitions on Gaza-bound goods -- which had covered items from vinegar to school supplies -- and highlighted how dominant Israel remains in the territory, controlling even Palestinians' smallest affairs there five years after withdrawing 8,000 settlers."
So it's Israel -- not Hamas, the rulers of Gaza -- controlling the lives of Gazans! But what about Hamas's control of the lives of Israelis in Sderot and other Jewish communities near the Gaza border which have been the targets of thousands of rockets over the last decade and the existing threat posed by Hamas's arsenal of 5,000 missiles? Scores of Qassam rockets still have rained on Israeli territory since the start of this year. That somehow escapes Zacharia's interest and attention.
Also, in judging the sufficiency of Israeli humanitarian assistance to Gaza, I don't remember that the Allies arranged for huge land convoys into Germany during World War II to deliver much-needed food and other supplies to starving Germans. Or that the lack of such humanitarian aid was criticized by the Washington Post.
Or, more recently, I cannot find an instance where Zacharia or the Post found fault with the U.S.-led coalition in the first Gulf War for failing to send CARE packages to Iraq, while Saddam Hussein was occupying Kuwait.
In fact, in the annals of war, one would be hard-pressed to find any nation being as solicitous of the welfare of people in enemy-held territory as Israel has been vis a vis Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Which brings me to Zacharia's plaints, which she conveniently gets from the usual suspects, about Israel still inflicting "collective punishment" on the Gaza population and depriving Gaza factories of necessary supplies to keep operating.
Here again, Zacharia distorts the picture so as to malign Israel by failing to inform Post readers of the vast range of humanitarian supplies that actually get transferred from Israel into Gaza on a daily basis.
I don't know about vinegar on Israel's list of prohibited goods, but Zacharia's assertion that Israel has banned school supplies from entering Gaza is patently false. Israel regularly has facilitated the transfer of notebooks, school bags, textbooks and other school supplies. And 200,000 laptops are on the way to Gaza students. Also, in the first quarter of this year, Israel sent into Gaza 250 truckoads of summer-camp supplies, including swimming pools.
None of this appears in Zacharia's dispatch. Nor does she report that in 2009, Israel moved 738,000 tons of food and supplies into Gaza, a 180 percent increase over the 2008 total. Those supplies included medicines and medical equipment, meat, chickens, fish, grains, legumes, oil, flour, salt, sugar, fresh vegetables, dairy products, animal feed, hygiene products and clothing.
Also missing from her distorted, biased picture is the transfer in 2009 of more than 10,000 Gaza patients and their companions into Israel for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.
This isn't merely a case of Zacharia presenting a glass-half-empty picture. Her distorted glass barely has a few drops in it.
As for dual-use supplies, like iron and cement, while Israel has started to allow some construction and fabrication items into Gaza under international supervision, Zacharia fails to point out that Israel's security doesn't permit a totally unrestricted flow because Hamas would tap such supplies to rebuild its military infrastructure.
Further examples of what she fails to report: Life expectancy in Gaza is 73.68 years -- longer than in Estonia, Malaysia, Jamaica or Bulgaria. Gaza's infant mortality rate is 17.71 per 1,000 children -- better than China's, Jordan's, or Thailand's.
Zacharia, however, is only interested in smacking Israel. So she gets an incendiary quote from a Boston University professor, Augustus Richard Norton, accusing Israel of preventing exports of agricultural goods from Gaza. False, again. Last year, Gaza exported great quantities of cut flowers and citrus goods to Israel, Egypt and the West Bank, plus 54 tons of strawberries.
But when you're on an anti-Israel binge, truth-in-reporting gets shoved aside.