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Sunday, June 13 2010

Tunnel Operators Fire Rockets and Gaza's Humanitarian Crisis

Gaza_tunnels Wanting to see Gaza's humanitarian situation first-hand, John Lyons of The Australian makes a startling discovery:

The tunnel operators have a vested interest in maintaining the blockade; they stand to lose tens of millions of dollars should it end. A European official who knows Gaza as well as anyone tells me what he says is one of the great unwritten stories about Gaza: that it is the tunnel operators firing the rockets . . . .

There's a strong logic to the argument of the European that the tunnel operators, many of whom have their licences only because they have paid Hamas, would be the biggest losers should the embargo be lifted.

And a pattern of behaviour certainly fits with the theory; almost every time Israel begins talking about a period of calm with Gaza or every time Israel comes under pressure to lift the blockade, rockets are fired.

Meanwhile, the LA Times also checks out Gaza. And guess what? Aid workers on the ground are hedging on the nature of Gaza's "crisis."

Although it's true that there is no hunger and there are no epidemics, the situation in Gaza defies usual categorization, aid officials say.

"Look, it's not like sub-Saharan Africa," said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which assists Palestinian refugees. "We are not talking about a natural disaster or famine caused by failed rains. But Gaza is a political crisis with grave human consequences." . . . .

"It's not the kind of disaster that you might see in other places," said Mahmud Daher, head of WHO's Gaza office. "But it's always on the edge of a crisis. And without the help of the international community, it would be a crisis." . . .

The stores are stocked with food, electronics, furniture and clothin, much of it smuggled from Egypt through illegal tunnels. Cafes offer espresso and croissants. A shipment of 2010 Hyundai sedans recently arrived. Now that school is out for the summer, families are flocking to the beach to eat ice cream and barbecue.

Gaza's situation is difficult, and I certainly wouldn't want to live there. But with Big Media repeatedly using the words Gaza crisis, it's time to question whether "crisis" is being abused for the sake of sensationalized headlines.

Recently, Israel's Government Press Office recommended Roots, a posh Gaza restaurant, for reporters heading to Gaza. Although the GPO apologized, Lyons and Sanders smelled a real story and followed up.

Tunnel operators firing rockets is a real scoop. I wonder what else the MSM might find out about Gaza with a little digging.



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A picture of a party at Roots:

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