Sunday, November 16, 2008

You have been lied to by Hamas:Gaza Market Bustling with Wares

Gil Ronen Gaza Market Bustling with Wares

Hamas in Gaza put a network of about 1,000 tunnels that pass under the Egypt-Gaza border on display this weekend, and invited journalists to take pictures and interview the tunnels' owners. Blue Eye website

In what reporters called "a carefully planned PR campaign," Hamas has been touting the tunnels as a means to avoid "starvation" in Gaza and its leaders have begun referring to them as "Tunnels of Life" because of the food and medicine that is smuggled into Gaza through them.

Fuel at Half Price

"When Israel decided earlier this year to temporarily suspend fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket attacks on Israeli towns and cities, the smugglers installed underground pipes that continue to pump gasoline into the Gaza Strip," the Jerusalem Post reported. "As a result, motorists there pay nearly half the price they were paying several months ago to fill their cars."

Pictures posted on a Hebrew website specializing in Arab news showed a bustling market in Rafiah (Rafah) filled with goods of all kinds, from food to electronics, apparently belying the claims of dire shortages. Rafiah is located in southern Gaza, on the border with Egypt.

Meanwhile, news sites in the Islamic world and elsewhere showed Gazan children in the dark, holding candles, and quoted an Amnesty International (AI) press release which blasted Israel for a policy of "collective punishment."

Rafiah market

Rafiah market

"Even the trickle of humanitarian aid previously allowed into Gaza (on which 80% of the population depends) has now been stopped for nine days by the Israeli army," AI reported. It quoted residents of Gaza who said that "they could not even find candles in the market any more."

An AI official was quoted as saying: 'Israel's latest tightening of its blockade has made an already dire humanitarian situation markedly worse. This is nothing short of collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population and it must stop immediately.'

Ban Condemns

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, published a statement Saturday in which he said that he "reiterates his condemnation of rocket attacks," without specifying who was the attacker and who was the attacked. He also stated that food and other essential materials are not making it into the Gaza Strip and called for "ending all measures that increase the suffering of the residents in the impoverished Gaza Strip."

European Union External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner stated that she was concerned that fuel and humanitarian supplies were not reaching Gaza's residents. Waldner added that the crossings from Israel to Gaza should be opened in order to guarantee the entry of basic supplies, in addition to fuel and medicine.

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