Aid to Gaza and to Haiti

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Shoshana Bryen

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The suggestion by Gaza Palestinians that they were most attuned to Haitian suffering because-after all-they had suffered an Israeli “earthquake” was a disgusting attempt to equate self-inflicted ruin as a result of terrorism against Israel with the horrifying natural disaster that befell the Haitians. Nevertheless, it appears to have prompted a group of Democratic Congressmen to spearhead a letter to President Obama calling for the President to use “diplomatic pressure” on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza. They call for free movement of people, food, water, fuel and building supplies, and “prompt” passage of commercial goods out of the Gaza. 
 
They do not demand that Hamas end its war against the Israeli people, or the poisoning of Palestinian minds with hatred, or an end to the importation of arms into Gaza through the tunnels-prompting us to wonder why, if people are really starving, Hamas doesn’t use the tunnels to import food. The truth is that the economic privation of Palestinian people and their dependence on Israel and international charity serves Hamas’s interest.
 
But what about the “blockade”?  Isn’t Israel starving and strangling the poor people of Gaza? No. We are grateful to The Israel Project for culling the following statistics from official Israeli publications.

Israel’s Facilitation of Aid to Gaza

900: Percent increase in humanitarian aid delivered to Gaza in 2009, compared to 2008.

724,925: Tons of humanitarian aid delivered to Gaza, Jan. 19, 2009-Jan. 16, 2010.

29 million gallons: Heavy-duty diesel fuel for the Gaza power station delivered to Gaza since Jan. 19, 2009.

10,346: Gaza residents who entered Israel for medical and humanitarian reasons, Jan.19-Nov. 7, 2009.

11,508 tons: Monthly average of humanitarian aid entering Gaza, February-June 2008, a period of intense rocket fire prior to Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza.

34,253 tons: Monthly average of humanitarian aid entering Gaza during period of calm prior to Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza, July-December 2008.

18,500: Permits Israel issued to Gaza residents to enter Israel or travel overseas in 2009.

3,500 and 400: Blankets and food deliveries respectively provided by the UN for Palestinian civilians stolen by Hamas.

1.3 million, 28,400 and 41: Carnations, other flowers, and tons of strawberries respectively exported from Gaza via Israel to the EU in December 2009-Jan. 17, 2010.

$6.7 million: Money authorized for transfer on Jan. 24, 2010 to Gaza residents entitled to social security and pension payments from Israel.
This to people whose elected leadership is sworn to and actively engaged in preparing for the destruction of the State of Israel. The statistics make it clear-particularly the export of perishables and the number of exit permits and medical visas-that Israel is doing its best to help people engaged in productive or necessary activity, and that no one is starving in Gaza. 
 
The government of Canada recently announced that it would redirect its aid from UNRWA to specific projects for shoring up the Palestinian judicial sector by training Palestinian prosecutors, judges and police. It is a wise move that should be emulated by others-particularly the United States, which provides the bulk of UNRWA funding.
 
Aid to Haiti will necessarily move from emergency food and medical supplies to long-range planning in hopes of making the people productive. Aid to the Palestinians should have made that transition long ago. Instead, it has fostered a dependency that leaves the people focused on outside charity and the leaders free to spend their funds on arms and the training of a military aimed at the heart of Israel. 
 
The Congressmen, along with UNRWA and the other “charitable” organizations that have imprisoned Palestinians in a morass of international “aid” that more resembles a large prison than a potential state, do the Palestinian people no favors and do a huge disservice to the security of the people of Israel.

*
Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member

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  1. carol ann goldstein
    February 1, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    “The suggestion by Gaza Palestinians that they were most attuned to Haitian suffering because-after all-they had suffered an Israeli “earthquake” was a disgusting attempt to equate self-inflicted ruin as a result of terrorism against Israel with the horrifying natural disaster that befell the Haitians.”

    Gaza is not a self-inflicted ruin as a result of terrorism against Israel. We need to ask why do the people of Gaza fight for their rights as human beings when they are under a seige/blockade by Israel? Gazans fled to Gaza during the 1948 war. Gaza was given to Egypt where they had no rights and then Gaza retlurned to Israeli control.
    Israel needs to wake up and smell the roses- the Palestinians deserve an independent country and the return of all their land and property in the West Bank as well as Gaza.
    I hope the US will pressure Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza very soon.

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