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So Hamas and the Gaza flotilla folks would have you believe that Gaza is a squalid, ghetto like place where the people live in sheer and utter misery. That they are eeking out a living and barely scraping by to survive. That’s interesting…especially since it’s not true. Turns out Gaza has been improving considerably (even considering the two wars that Hamas fought with Israel in 2006 and in 2008 – 2009)…the problem is that the media doesn’t want to mention this – they only want to focus on the, yet again a new blood libel, that Israel is causing hardship and suffering on the people of Gaza (while casually ignoring the fact that Gaza shares a border with Egypt as well and the Egyptians, after Mubarak was ousted earlier this year, has “somewhat” opened their border with Gaza). The facts do not bear this out. A new website has appeared – The Flotilla Cruise Line – that shows evidence that Gaza is not the “one big squalid refugee camp” that the Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and the Western liberal media would like you to believe. It shows pictures of Gaza’s 5-star hotel – The Grand Palace, Gaza’s first shopping mall (although it does not include a mention of the newest, 3-story, shopping mall in Gaza) and Gazan upscale restaurants.   Even the New York Times cannot deny that the situation is not so desperate the way the flotilla organizers would like to portray it:

 In assessing the condition of the 1.6 million people who live in Gaza, there are issues of where to draw the baseline and — often — what motivates the discussion. It has never been among the world’s poorest places. There is near universal literacy and relatively low infant mortality, and health conditions remain better than across much of the developing world.

“We have 100 percent vaccination; no polio, measles, diphtheria or AIDS,” said Mahmoud Daher, a World Health Organization official here. “We’ve never had a cholera outbreak.”

So what is the truth?  The truth is that the flotilla organizers as well as Palestinian sympathizers would have the world believe that Gaza is a squalid refugee camp where life hangs precariously by thin threads and that Israel is responsible.  The truth is that Hamas is the true source of the Gazans situation.  Hamas refuses to accept Israel’s right to exist; Hamas refuses to stop the rockets and the shelling coming from Gaza; and Hamas refuses to provide any information regarding the status of Gilad Shalit and refuses to allow the International Red Cross to meet with him to assess his condition – a clear violation of International law!

Israel has no obligation in throwing open it’s borders to an organization that is dead set on destroying it.  If the Arabs are so concerned about allowing free movement for the Palestinians in Gaza let them pressure Egypt to fully open the Rafah crossing.  It is beyond ludicrous that the bleeding liberal left of the world expect Israel to expose itself to more risk of attack.  Israel has a right to exist!  The Jews have a right to their ancestral homeland!  The Arabs in Israel enjoy a higher standard of living and rights that are denied to many of their brethren in their own countries – the right of free speech and the right to vote among them.

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Now that the Goldstone Commission has released their report on alleged war crimes by Israel (note: the U.N. Human Rights Council‘s original mandate on this was to investigate Israel’s conduct of the war and not Hamas’ or the Palestinians…wonder why?) during the recent Gaza offensive, Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak has finally responded with an excellentopinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Where has common sense gone to in this day and age? Israel suffers for 8 years the ceaseless rocket attacks (aimed specifically at civilian targets) by terrorist organizations (one of whom then takes control of the Gaza strip) and, when Israel responds to the attacks, it is chastised and demonized. This from a group (the UNHRC) which seems to be fixated and obsessed with condemning and demonizing Israel while ignoring and only expressing “deep concern” for human rights abuses in places like Somalia and Burma.

The media, N.G.O.s and the U.N. went to great pains to paint Israel and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as the new Nazis who are perpetrate a holocaust on the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza. During the recent fighting in Gaza the media gave credence to everything the UN, Hamas, or the Palestinian Authority said about Israel’s operation. They abjectly ignored the truth and chose to spin a story where Israel is made to look like a bloodthirsty rogue state that commits war crimes at every turn.

Consider the following: on January 6th 2009 a story appeared in the Washington Post with the following headline: “Israel Hits U.N.-Run School in Gaza“. From the headline it appears that Israel deliberately targeted and attacked the school. Similarly, on the english version of Aljazeera’s website came the headline: “Israel kills dozens at Gaza school” and the New York Times published the story “Israeli Shells Kill 40 at Gaza U.N. School“. The outcry from the international community was immediate and visceral. On January 7th the daily TV and radio news program, Democracy Now!, declared

In the deadliest attack since Israel launched its assault on Gaza twelve days ago, up to forty-two Palestinians died on Tuesday after Israel fired mortars at a United Nations school that was sheltering Palestinians who had been forced to flee their homes. Fifty-five Palestinians were also wounded in the attack. Doctors said all of the victims were civilians, including many children.

(Goodman, Amy and Juan Gonzalez, “40+ Killed in Israeli Strike on Gaza School Sheltering Refugees“, Democracy Now!, January 7th 2009)

Time Magazine also ran a story immediately declaring

United Nations investigators say they have uncovered no evidence to support a claim by the Israeli military that Hamas fighters were holed up in a Gaza school, prompting a deadly attack by Israeli forces that killed 40 civilians, many of them children.

(McGirk, Tim, “UN: No Hamas Fighters in Bombed Gaza School“, Time, Inc., January 7, 2009)

Immediately the outcry from NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and from vehement anti-Israel activists such as Dr. Mads Gilbert was that Israel was committing flagrant war crimes and atrocities right in front of the world. However, the truth is somewhat more convoluted than these individuals would like to admit. With regards to the UN school, the UNRWA in early February finally retracted the claim that the school had been attacked. In the retraction the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that “‘The humanitarian coordinator would like to clarify that the shelling, and all of the fatalities, took place outside rather than inside the school” (“UN retracts claim over Gaza school attack“, RTE News, February 4 2009). This retraction came several weeks after the accusation was initially made by the UNRWA and after reports began to surface that the UN staff made efforts to stifle the truth. In the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz the article in the Canadian Globe and Mail noted that

a teacher in the UNRWA compound at the time of the strike “was adamant” that no people had been killed inside the compound.

The newspaper [Globe and Mail] quoted the teacher as saying that, “I could see some of the people had been injured… But when I got outside, it was crazy hell. There were bodies everywhere, people dead, injured, flesh everywhere.”

(Harel, Amos, “UN backtracks on claim that deadly IDF strike hit Gaza school“, Ha’aretz, February 3, 2009)

In the article “Account of Israeli attack doesn’t hold up to scrutiny” in the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, Patrick Martin writes of an interview in which a teacher gives his account of what happened

The teacher, who refused to give his name because he said UNRWA had told the staff not to talk to the news media, was adamant: “Inside [the compound] there were 12 injured, but there were no dead.”

“Three of my students were killed,” he said. “But they were all outside.”

(Martin, Patrick, “Account of Israeli attack doesn’t hold up to scrutinyGlobe and Mail, January 29, 2009)

Why did Israel fire mortars into the streets outside the school? It turns out that Hamas militants fired from the streets just outside the school.

The army said two Hamas militants — Imad Abu Askar and Hasan Abu Askar — were among the dead.

Two neighborhood residents confirmed the Israeli account, saying a group of militants fired mortars from a street near the school, then fled into a crowd of people in the streets. Israel then opened fire. (emphasis added)

The residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared for their safety, said the Abu Askar brothers were known low-level Hamas militants.

(Barzak, Ibrahim and Steve Weizman, “Israel shells near UN school, killing at least 30“, Associated Press reprinted in the Detroit Free Press, January 6, 2009)

The tragedy of this whole event is that a large number of innocent civilians lost their lives in this incident. The tragedy also is that Hamas cynically uses its own people as human shields and the world remains silent. What remains as an indisputed fact is that when the incident occured the world was immediately there to shout and vilify Israel for committing an alleged atrocity. However when the truth comes out it comes out as a whisper and the world says nothing.

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