'Impoverished' Gaza feels Pinch of fewer Mercedes-Benz Sales
Hamas-ruled Gaza is feeling the ripple effects of the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the decimation of the Muslim Brotherhood. The new military ruling regime accuses Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, of fomenting anti-Egypt attacks in Sinai. In turn, Cairo has put a noose around the only land crossing from Gaza into Egyptian Sinai and blocked most tunnels that Gaza used as a lifeline to the outside world.
William Booth, the Jerusalem correspondent of the Washington Post, has a lengthy article about this development in the Sunday, Aug. 25 edition: "Morsi's ouster deals a blow to Hamas in Gaza -- Egypt closes tunnels that aided the militant Islamist organization," page A14.
One could point out to Booth and Post editors that the "militant Islamist" label hardly does justice to Hamas. Instead of euphemistically "militant," Hamas actually is a terrorist organization that has killed numerous Israelis in pursuit of a genocidal agenda to erase the Jewish state. But let's leave that for another day.
Of more irresistible interest is how Booth describes Gaza to Post readers. "Under Morsi," he writes, "hundreds of tunnels were allowed to flourish. Now there are a few dozen. So, fuel prices in Gaza are soaring. Orders for steel and cement go unfilled. Projects to repave roads, build public housing and repair crumbling infrastructure in the impoverished Palestinian enclave have stopped."
In Booth's view, "Gaza" and "impoverished Palestinian enclave" are synonymous. For more years that I can remember, Western correspondents reflexively have equated Gaza with poverty. Booth is but the latest.
But does the label fit the reality? Far from it, whether pre-Morsi, or post-Morsi. Booth himself seems unpersuaded. Just two paragraphs after the "impoverished" Gaza moniker, he writes that "only a few Mercedes-Benz sedans are moving through the underground corridor these days."
Poor, deprived, "impoverished" Gazans, having to cope with a diminishing supply of Mercedes-Benz automobiles and presumably other such basic essentials.
Question to Booth and Post editors: How do you reconcile Paragraph 5 (impoverished) with Paragraph 7 (Mercedes-Benz)? Is Mercedes-Benz selling a stripped model to an "impoverished" niche clientele?
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers