Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 10, 2007

Feeding the Inmates By Conveyor Belts

Gaza_crossingLooking at the map on the left one can tell that Gaza has borders with Israel on the North and East and with Egypt on the South. To the West lies the Mediterranean Sea controlled by Israel.

But as the NYT would have you believe, the borders of Gaza are actually contolled by Abbas' Fatah.

The Karni crossing, build to allow truck traffic between Israel and Gaza has been closed for a while and parts are said to be destroyed.

Israel currently allows only 70% of food that is at minimum needed to feed the 1.5 million people in Gaza to pass the boarder. This has been even down to 20% on some days. In Gaza milk powder, baby milk and vegetable oil are in short supply.

The Rafah crossing with Egypt is closed too. The European monitoring staff that is supposed to monitor the crossing has been retracted. (The staff was forced to live in Israel and never could move without Israeli approval anyway.) There are some 6,000 Palestinians sitting in the desert on the Egyptian side of that crossing who are now waiting for over a week to get back into Gaza. Israel wants them to pass through Kerem Shalom under Israeli control.

From all the above, which misses some details, one would think that there is problem between  Israel and the people in Gaza. One would think that Israel is in control of the border crossings. But somehow this NYT article does not really tell you that. The problem is not between the Palestinian Hamas government in Gaza and Israel, but between Hamas and the Fatah "emergency government" in the West Bank.

Consider the very first paragraph:

In the month since Hamas took over Gaza, the 1.5 million Palestinians there have become more cut off than ever, supplies and jobs slipping away as its rival, Fatah, backed by Israel and the West, presses Hamas.

You see, it is Fatah pressing Hamas. Israel and the West are only backing up.

The anti-Hamas camp of Fatah, Israel and the West is grappling with a problem: While opening Karni and another crossing at Rafah could help revive the expiring economy of Gaza, it could also help strengthen Hamas, which Western governments consider a terrorist group, and its chances of success.

Again, it is Fatah taking the lead here ... Fatah is definitly responsible for this closure.

“We need to differentiate between punishing the people of Gaza and weakening Hamas,” said Nimr Hamad, an adviser to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah. “We don’t want the people to suffer.”

But when it comes to practical solutions for reopening Karni, Mr. Hamad refers the problem back to Israel.

Now isn't that guy an asshole. How can he refer this back to Israel when it is Fatah that is responsible? Sounds like he is just shifting the blame here.

Some Israeli officials and Western diplomats say they believe Fatah is keeping Karni shut to squeeze Hamas — just as Egypt has agreed with Israel to keep closed the Rafah crossing, used for people, to limit movement of individuals and money.

Haven't we recently learned through the pages of the New York Times that Fatah lost all power in Gaza? How then can Fatah hinder the opening of the Karni crossing?

The whole article is an Orwellian up-is-down experience. According to it, this is just an internal fight between Hamas and Fatah. Fatah has closed the borders to Gaza. Everybody else, especially Israel, are reluctant bystanders.

Nowhere does the piece mention Israels legal and moral obligation as occupier to care for the occupied it imprisons in Gaza. Oh sorry, Israel does care. It still allows some water and electricity into Gaza. And there is even a hole in the prison wall through which some bread is fed to the inmates.

A huge conveyor belt has been adapted at Karni to send wheat into Gaza, without the need for elaborate security measures because it passes straight through a hole in a wall from the Israeli side into Gaza.

Ain't that nice?

Posted by b on July 10, 2007 at 6:07 UTC | Permalink


Are they just going to set up a giant feeding trough at the receiving end?

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 10 2007 16:22 utc | 1

b, here's the nyt link. your leads back home.

someone should make a cartoon of the conveyor belt. gross.

Posted by: annie | Jul 10 2007 16:26 utc | 2

off topic but raw story has a header and links claiming the dc madam's phone records are online. the servers crashed, it seems, from overload, but this bit torrent site has a download-

I hope Lieberman's name is on there. LOL.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jul 10 2007 16:59 utc | 3

oops. bit torrent

Posted by: fauxreal | Jul 10 2007 17:00 utc | 4

Rafah crossing: afaik, the Egyptians had to be present as well when it was open. A detail. as B said.... The situation was impossible.

Jobs in Israel for people in Gaza - I guess: None.

Fatah was ready to co-opt Hamas, integrate them and adopt a wait and see policy. The US more or less forbade that.


More detail. I haven’t seen a Palestinian fruit or vegetable in my local supermarket for about 2 years now. Not that I saw many previously, because they are immediately sold out. Israel has all kinds of fancy tricks to sell its produce - new brand names, new packaging, etc. but Swiss supermarkets are obliged to add the provenance.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 12 2007 16:49 utc | 5

Jobs in Israel for people in Gaza - I guess: None.

You guess correctly. Do you realize that Gaza has been turned into one giant prison, with no possible exit? Gazans are not allowed to cross into Israel any more. Almost under any circumstances. So even if there were jobs, Gazans would not be allowed to access them.

Posted by: Bea | Jul 13 2007 3:30 utc | 6

World Bank: Gaza May Face Irreversible Collapse

The World Bank said on Thursday the prolonged closure of Israel's border crossings with Hamas-controlled Gaza could lead to the coastal strip's "irreversible" economic collapse....

Almost all Gaza businesses depend on imported raw materials and other supplies that must pass through the strip's shuttered crossings with Israel.

"The pillars of Gaza's economy have weakened over the years. Now, with a sustained closure on this current scale, they would be at risk of virtually irreversible collapse," Faris Hadad-Zervos, the World Bank's acting country director for the West Bank and Gaza, told the aid groups....

According to statistics compiled by the Palestine Trade Center and the Palestinian Federation of Industries, more than 3,190 Gaza businesses have temporarily shut down in the last month. Some 65,800 workers have also been temporarily laid off....

Hadad-Zervos said a loss of a third of those jobs would translate into unemployment levels of over 37 percent, up from 30 percent at the beginning of the year. He said unemployment could reach the unprecedented level of 44 percent....

Israel controls the land crossings between Gaza and Israel, as well as Gaza's air space and territorial waters. Israel does not allow the crossing of people or goods by sea or air.

Posted by: Bea | Jul 13 2007 3:35 utc | 7

Very interesting comment on the blog tabula gaza about the current situation in Gaza. The blog includes a link to an informative (and utterly depressing) report on the collapse of Gaza's economy from Gisha, the Israeli NGO that fights for freedom of movement. Deleting Gaza's Economy from the Map. (Click on the title in the right-hand column to download the report.)

Posted by: Bea | Jul 13 2007 15:24 utc | 8

How the West Bank may soon be locked up like Gaza: A new "crossing point" is planned near Hebron.

Palestinian economists and businessmen from the Hebron district of the southern West Bank believe that the opening of the Tarqumiya crossing, located on the western edge of the West Bank, would represent "the last nail in the coffin for the Palestinian economy."

They depicted the enlarged Tarqumiya crossing as being a "Karni 2," referring to the main crossing point for exports and imports between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Posted by: Bea | Jul 13 2007 15:41 utc | 9

Plans to permanently close the Rafah crossing and reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing.

What would this mean for Gaza? (Hint: Take a careful look at the map above and you will figure it out.)

Israel, with the support of Fatah's emergency government, is pushing for the Israeli-Egyptian controlled Kerem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom in Hebrew) crossing to be used instead of Rafah, which is under nominal Palestinian-Egyptian control....

Israel appeared determined to press ahead with its plans to funnel traffic exclusively through the Kerem Abu Salem border crossing despite opposition from Hamas until explosions, apparently caused by 11 mortar shells fired by Palestinians, rocked the crossing on 10 July. Otherwise, the Kerem Abu Salem terminal, unlike Rafah, has functioned, albeit sporadically, throughout the closure, with goods moving from Egypt into Gaza, though only to a limited degree and with Israeli permission....

Palestinians stranded in Rafah and Arish are becoming increasingly frustrated with the seemingly endless nature of their plight. "On the one hand, we know that if we accept Israel's conditions and re-enter via Kerem Abu Salem, then we will effectively be ceding our right to the little sovereignty we claim," said Bushra Abu Subeih, a teacher at an UNRWA school in Gaza who has been stranded in Rafah for 39 days. "But if we refuse, then who knows when we will return home. That's Israeli policy for you. The whole world wants us to kneel to the Jews. We have refused so far, but you can see for yourself how hard they try."

Posted by: Bea | Jul 13 2007 15:57 utc | 10

And see this paragraph from the end of the article I posted in #10:

As long as Israeli anger over Hamas's control of Gaza grows it is unlikely that there will be any de-escalation of the current crisis. And with the likelihood of Israeli incursions into Gaza growing, Egyptian authorities are bracing themselves for an increase in the number of refugees. The government has already earmarked land in Arish as the site for a possible camp should a new influx of Palestinians arrive, one highly-placed humanitarian source told the Weekly on condition of anonymity.

Those besieged in Gaza are deeply aware of the indignity of the situation into which they have been forced. "In 1948, we were forced to live in tents," says Mohamed Dahman, a veteran Palestinian journalist living in Gaza. "In 1967, it was the same. Mark my words, a new refugee crisis is in the offing."

Posted by: Bea | Jul 13 2007 16:00 utc | 11

I guess the Arbeit macht Frei slogan is no longer pertinent. People are just trash.

Lesson, only partly applied by the Israelis - see walls or fences, that is partly for show - lock up the territory with Int’al agreement, blame all strife on insuperable internal quarrels, justify deathly enmity (suicide bombers, etc.) and decimate under the radar in any way possible..
So besides hand-wringing who is doing something? Me and the avocados I refuse to buy? Nope.

Israel is active in informatics, intel chips for ex., security, arms, military tech, some other things no one ever mentions, boycotts of goods will not help - Who will stop drinking Coke if C.C. is a pro-Israel Corp? - except as actions that coalesce symbols, which is why the Israelis are so afraid of them, as spin is uppermost.

Who calls their rep or whatever they can do to say, free Palestine? Whatever that means.

Very very few, as they know they will be treated as nuts at best, dangerous terrorists at worst.

So, an open air concentration camp. Sonic boom - even the air is exploited...
Still the image war is slowly being lost. Multiple signs.

And ppl still argue about the good Germans - indecent and cowardly.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 13 2007 16:30 utc | 12

The real story can be found right here, in this paragraph of a presentation made in 2001 by Israeli demographer Sergio DellaPergola:

Looking now at the grand territorial total [projected demographic trends in] Israel [Proper] plus the Palestinian territories [ie, West Bank and Gaza], in 2000 a scant Jewish majority prevailed of 53% to 55% according to the mere or enlarged definition of the Jewish population. According the medium projections such majority will already be gone before 2010 or very soon after according to Jewish population definitions). By 2020 Jews would constitute 44-47% of the total population of Palestine, and by 2050 their share might further diminish to 35-37%. The latter percentages closely resemble the Jewish-Arab population split of the early 1930s during the British Mandate.

Demography in Israel/Palestine: Trends, Prospects, Policy Implications
Sergio DellaPergola
The A. Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

You can find the whole paper by googling it. It is quite fascinating. However these are the projections against which the State of Israel is fighting tooth and nail.

Posted by: Bea | Jul 13 2007 17:08 utc | 13

People are just trash.

Yes. See, for example: Mowing the Grass in Nablus

Posted by: Bea | Jul 13 2007 17:15 utc | 14

Consolidating control - in preparation for...?

Israeli army takes over Gaza International airport in Rafah as a military base.

The Yasser Arafat Gaza International Airport occupies a strategic position, south east of the volatile Palestinian city of Rafah and adjacent to both the Rafah crossing and the Karem Shalom crossing points between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

The airport, which was built in 1999, was shut down by Israel in 2000. Israel subsequently destroyed the runway, rendering it completely inoperational, in 2002. Now, taking it over represents a serious escalation, given that Israel had supposedly "withdrawn" from Gaza.

Posted by: Bea | Jul 14 2007 15:21 utc | 15

Here is an important post from the blog tabula gaza about a move of great significance that has received virtually no media attention. I'm replicating it in full here.

Gaza: Foreign Entity

A Knesset session held July 11th caught little media attention. On Wednesday Ariel Sharon's disengagement strategy came to completion. By being legally determined a "foreign entity," the Gaza Strip is no longer Israel's responsibility.

The passed bill reads as follows,

"Today, when Israeli communities cease to exist in the Gaza area, any Israeli activity in this area is a defensive activity in every sense of the word. In that case, there is no room for damage lawsuits from people who are residents of an entity which is not the State of Israel, all the more so from residents of an entity which sponsors actions against the State of Israel."

The issue being raised at this Knesset session was whether Israel would be liable by law to compensate Palestinians for damages that occur during IDF incursions into Gaza. Yet, what is really at stake is whether Israel is historically responsible for the Gaza Strip as a territory it occupies. Immediately after Israel's disengagement from Gaza in October of 2005 an attempt was made to divest itself of its legal role over a territory it occupies. In December 2006 the Israeli high Court overruled a Knesset law that would prevent the state from bearing any responsibility for Palestinian damages accrued during Israeli attacks. Today this overruling was overruled.

In 1948 Israel forced over 200,000 Palestinian refugees to flee to the Gaza Strip. Since that day it has tried to strip itself of any responsibility for these refugees and their descendants. This week that dream seems to have come true and Hamas' military takeover has served as perfect justification. One wonders what Israel has stood to gain from recent events in Gaza. What exactly did Fatah warlord Mohamed Dahlan mean when he spoke of Hamas falling "into a trap?" Who set the trap?

Posted by: Bea | Jul 15 2007 23:03 utc | 16

Posted by: Bea | Jul 18 2007 2:40 utc | 17

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