Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gaza Power Strip-another misleading story


Once more a professional journal has veered off the track into Middle East politics. In the December 2009 cover story of IEEE Spectrum, a monthly publication of the world's largest professional technology association, freelance reporter Sharon Weinberger's cover story focuses on challenges facing Gaza's sole power plant. But the article is short on technological content and long on skewed characterization of events in Gaza.

Had the author written an honest account, conveying the difficulty of those Palestinians who want simply to provide for the needs of their community, the emphasis would have been on the self-destructive actions of the PA and Hamas leadership in subverting the best interests of their own people. Instead, the article scapegoats Israel.Gazans Guilt-Free

Repeatedly throughout the article, which is ostensibly about the hardships of completing and maintaining Gaza's power plant, Weinberger blurs and omits crucial facts about who has caused the problems. Thus Gaza is said to have "endured a devastating run of strife, death, and dysfunction," to have suffered "catastrophe" and to be "stuck in a kind of chaotic limbo" – with the barest hint that Gazans themselves chose strife and chaos by their own actions in terrorizing and killing Israelis.

Glaring Omissions

1) Weinberger raises the problem of diesel fuel supplies for the power plant and cites Israel's curtailing of those supplies and various ramification of fuel shortages and interruptions. She writes:

"Today one of the biggest problems is getting enough fuel. Its's one of the many problems you encounter running a power plant in a war zone."

Again, though, the account neglects the role of Palestinian violence in causing the "problems." There is no mention that crossing points such as Nahal Oz between Israel and Gaza where fuel is transferred, have been targeted. On April 9, 2008, for instance, Israeli truck drivers Oleg Lipson, 37 and Lev Cherniak, 53, were killed by terrorists at the Nahal Oz terminal near Karni, which supplies the Gaza Strip with most of its fuel.

On April 16, 2008, three IDF soldiers were killed in a confrontation with armed Palestinian gunmen approaching the Gaza security fence south of the Nahal Oz fuel terminal. Three other soldiers were wounded.

In many other instances, mortar and rocket fire on Nahal Oz have interrupted deliveries.

The IDF's commander of Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, Col. Nir Press, is quoted in an April 13, 2008 Jerusalem Post story saying he strongly disputed the claims of Rafiq Maliha who was alleging another fuel crisis. Press charged that Israel was continuously supplying fuel to Gaza, but for propaganda purposes it was not being distributed to gas stations and civilian use.

Weinberger omits all this.

2) Any fair story about fuel for the Gaza power plant would need to include Hamas's theatrical public relations gambits about lack of fuel for the plant. On January 2008, Hamas staged a parliamentary session by candle light — but, in fact, the meeting was being held in day light with curtains drawn for dramatic effect. Hamas also staged candle-lit vigils in downtown Gaza City. During this propaganda effort, Israel and Egypt continued supplying 75% of Gaza's electricity and Israel's Foreign Ministry observed:

While the fuel supply from Israel into Gaza has indeed been reduced, due to the Hamas rocket attacks, the diversion of this fuel from domestic power generators to other uses is wholly a Hamas decision - apparently taken due to media and propaganda considerations.

Weinberger omits any mention of repeated Hamas manipulations of the media and its own people.

For more information contact CAMERA-just another illusion of the truth.

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