Tag Archives: Viva Palestina

Live Aid, Gaza and humanitarian disasters

A few days ago I happened to be watching, once again, the documentary about Live Aid first shown 5 years ago on the 20th anniversary of the event.

Like millions of people on the actual day, I was enjoying the performances until we got to the part where they showed the film of the starving Ethiopian children and experienced again the horror of millions of people dying from famine, whilst we in the first world get increasingly obese.

And then it struck me; here was a genuine disaster where the whole world was mobilised by the efforts of one inspired man. So if Gaza is such a humanitarian disaster, and if people are really starving as so many in the anti-Israel organisations and commentators and journalists would have us believe, where are the images? Why are there no Live Aid type concerts? Where is the international outrage? Not the outrage of those with a political agenda, but the outrage which comes of genuine humanitarian concern?

As ever, I do not deny that many in Gaza do not have the greatest standard of living or quality of life, but is it not telling that the world actually understands real disasters, such as Haiti and the Pakistan floods. The world realises that the difficulties in Gaza, though real, are not in the same league as Haiti or Pakistan, let alone Ethiopia.

The only people fixated on trying to tell us that there is a humanitarian issue worthy of international attention are the flotillaniks and aid organisations whose agenda is to break the blockade, embarrass Israel and keep Gaza on the UN agenda. They are doing a fine job, often aided by UNWRA, but it does seem to me that the message that there is a humanitarian disaster worthy of the name is growing a little weak. And the idea that it is only Israel that is responsible for the conditions in Gaza is also beginning to pale.

Let’s not forget that Egypt also has a land embargo and one third of Gaza’s border is with Egypt.

Israel delivers thousands of tonnes of food and other aid and equipment every week through crossing points. Israel delivers electricity through its grid. Israel provides medical aid to thousands of Gazans a year. Shops in Gaza are well-stocked with food and white goods.

Yet Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, declare that their goal is to destroy Israel but complain that Israel is a little wary of the free passage of marine traffic into the Gaza strip. What nation in history whose enemy declared that its goal was to destroy it has provided the means for that enemy’s people to survive, although not thrive? And these are the same people who voted Hamas into power in the first place.

We hear how Gaza is a prison camp, that there is a humanitarian disaster, that Israel must end the ‘siege’. Bear in mind, also, that Hamas holds Gilad Shalit captive without access to the Red Cross. Bear in mind that rockets are fired daily into Southern Israel. Still Israel sends in the trucks.

How many countries have organised food aid for Gaza? How many worldwide broadcast concerts have the pro-Palestinian groups in Europe arranged to raise money?

So, as I said, I was thinking, maybe the world is not fooled. Maybe they actually understand it’s more about politics and less about suffering. Aid convoys and flotillas may have a small effect on the conditions in Gaza but their real purpose is political, not humanitarian.

No, the Gazan people are pretty well provided for by UNWRA, the EU, the United States and Israel. If they could get rid of Hamas, they might actually begin to thrive.

Aiding or abetting?

Fascinating little piece recently from the Elder of Ziyon revealing where, allegedly, much of the aid destined for the people of Gaza ends up in the hands of Hamas.

The article refers to Viva Palestina and George Galloway:

In June, a Gazan reporter noted that the only new cars in Gaza at the time – those brought by the Viva Palestina convoy – were being driven by Hamas members only, as a perk. Yet Viva Palestina claimed they were going to be used for critical infrastructure and medical needs.

And in July, there were Arabic language reports that the Al Qassam Brigades went into Ismail Haniyeh’s office and took all the cash aid that Viva Palestina brought into Gaza!
(Elder’s emphasis)

Every day dozens of trucks filled with humanitarian aid enter Gaza from Israel. Do we know if this aid actually reaches its intended recipients? Or does it fall into the hands of the rulers of Gaza in the same way that it appears some or, much or even all the aid brought by so-called humanitarian aid groups does?

As the Elder says, where are the protests from the ‘aid’ organisations about the fate of their humanitarian supplies? Or does this just expose the truth about such convoys and flotillas that they care more for the propaganda of ‘breaking the blockade’ and ingratiating themselves with terrorists than they do about Gazans.

A tale of two flotillas: Dunkirk and Gaza

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the retreat of British forces from the beaches of Dunkirk. A heroic flotilla of small ships left English ports to rescue as many troops as they could whilst under fire and bombardment by Nazi forces.

On this day 70 years later a smaller flotilla of just eight or is it nine boats is heading for Gaza with the expressed aim of breaking the blockade and bringing much needed relief to one and a half million starving Gazans. Unlike the bravehearts of Dunkirk, this flotilla will succeed whatever the outcome.

But it’s a big lie, a huge con trick whose underlying intent is not to help Gaza but to demonise Israel and provoke it to take action which will will further damage its reputation. To that extent, it’s little different than a missile fired at Sderot.

Yesterday IDF Colonel Moshe Levi declared “No Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip”

We do not know of a shortage in any field, and we enable the entrance of various different goods, and also the export of agricultural products from the Gaza Strip. Anything that would help Hamas to increase its military power is obviously not permitted to enter,” said Col. Levi. In addition to that he demonstrated the data collected by the Gaza DCO that shows that 6,000 Palestinians exited the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment in Israel and Jordan..

Some blockade but it gets better: take a look at the IDF blog for 25th May 2010. I’m sorry, but it’s worth quoting in almost its entirety, it’s just too good to miss:

Food Products and Clothing:

  1. Most types of food are allowed into the Strip, and are transferred by the private sector or by international organizations.
  2. During 2009, 30,920 trucks containing 800,000 tons of supplies were transferred into Gaza. This included fruits and vegetables, meat products, poultry and fish, dairy products, sugar, rice and legumes, flour and yeast, oil, and more. Furthermore, 10,871 heads of cattle were transferred for the Muslim holidays of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha.
  3. In the first quarter of 2010 (January-March), 94,500 tons of supplies were transferred in 3,676 trucks to the Strip: 48,000 tons of food products; 40,000 tons of wheat; 2,760 tons of rice; 1,987 tons of clothes and footwear; 553 tons of milk powder and baby food.
  4. In 2009, 572 trucks containing approximately 5,000 tons of medical supplies entered the Strip.
  5. In the first quarter of 2010 (January-March) 1,068 tons of medicine and medical equipment were transferred in 152 trucks.
  6. In 2009 two elevators were transferred to hospitals in Gaza, as was a CT imaging system (to the Red Cross hospital), and equipment for a mammography machine (which checks for breast cancer).
  7. During the first quarter of 2010 four trucks with special supplies for a project of the “Al Quds” hospital were transferred to the Gaza Strip, and an additional 13 trucks are scheduled to cross.
  8. Due to fears of a swine flu outbreak, three Israeli hospitals were assigned to treat cases in the Gaza Strip and 44,500 immunizations were transferred to the Strip.

Equipment for Essential Civilian Infrastructure:

  1. In 2009 Israel transferred 41 trucks of equipment for the maintenance of the electricity grid, and the state continues to provide approximately 60% of Gaza’s electricity.
  2. In 2009 over 105 million liters of fuel were transferred to Gaza’s power plant and over 3.2 million liters of gas were transferred for UNWRA operations.
  3. In 2009 127 trucks containing more than 3,000 tons of hypochlorite entered the Gaza Strip for water purification purposes. Moreover, 48 trucks of equipment for improving the sanitation infrastructure led to a substantial reduction in the Beit Lahya facility’s waste levels.
  4. As part of the preparations made for winter, 3,607 tons of glass was transferred to the Gaza Strip. According to UN reports, windows in all education and health institutions were repaired.
  5. In the first quarter of 2010 Israel transferred:
    • 250 trucks with equipment for the UNWRA summer camp, including: arts and crafts equipment, swimming pools, inflatable toys, ice cream machines, musical instruments, clothing, sports equipment, etc.
    • Seven trucks with equipment for upgrading the sewage pumping station, which was carried out by UNWRA.
    • 74 empty containers for UNWRA for use in classrooms and bathrooms
  6. Certain types of materials, such as cement and iron, are more restricted. These products are openly used by Hamas for developing its arsenal, building bunkers and launching sites, and making rockets and mortars.
  7. Despite the risk, the transfer of these items is also permitted under supervision, once it has been cleared that these materials are for civilian purposes only. Already in the first quarter of 2010, 23 tons of iron and 25 tons of cement were transferred to the Gaza Strip.

Movement of Residents in and out of the Gaza Strip

  1. Despite the inherent dangers involved, Israel permits Gazans and visitors to travel between Gaza and Israel, from Gaza to Judea and Samaria, and abroad for medical treatment, religious pilgrimages, and business trips. Whenever possible Israel allows for diplomatic activities as well as trade and commerce with the Gaza Strip.
  2. Here are a number of examples from 2009:
  • Delegations from abroad: 21,200 activists from international organizations from over 400 diplomatic delegations were permitted entry into Gaza, and 2,200 Palestinians employed by international organizations were given exit permits from the Gaza Strip.
  • Education, Vacations and Pilgrimages to Holy sites: 147 permits were given to Palestinian students for academic studies around the world. During the Christmas holiday approximately 400 permits were given to visit Bethlehem from Gaza as well 100 permits to travel abroad.
  • Business: 257 permits were given to businessmen from Gaza to facilitate business operations.
  • Sports: Special permission was given to Gazan footballers to train in Judea and Samaria and compete in international matches abroad.

Trade and Commerce

Israel has taken measures to support  trade and commerce, the banking system, and the existing financial market in the Gaza Strip:

  • In 2009 1.1 billion NIS was transferred to the Gaza Strip for the ongoing activity of international organizations and to pay the salaries of Palestinian Authority workers.
  • 40 million damaged bank notes were traded for new bills, and at the request of the Palestinian Monetary Fund, 282.5 million shekels were transferred from Gazan to Israeli Banks.
  • In February 2010 an agreement was reached with the Palestinian Authority’s National Insurance Department to ensure that pensions reached those formerly employed in Israel. The funds were deposited in banks in Judea and Samaria, while the Palestinian Authority was given the responsibility of distributing the funds to the pensioners in Gaza.
  • So, you see, there is no blockade of real essentials. And add to this little lot the stuff still coming through the Rafah tunnels. If you want to see real poverty and starvation take a look at Sudan or Zimbabwe.

    And if you want more proof then take a look at the Roots club website and the video therein.  Someone is doing well in Gaza.

    As I’ve said before, there is still hardship and suffering, I do not deny or belittle it, but it’s no worse than many other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, and it would be a whole lot better if Hamas were not in charge. But they were democratically elected, of course, just like a certain Austrian who was responsible for Dunkirk.

    But according to the Viva Palestina website:

    [Israel] has turned Gaza into a prisoner [sic] camp and has been carrying out a genocide. This camp and genocidal acts very much resemble Hitler’s actions in history.

    So there you go. You can have a slap up meal in a top-class restaurant in Gaza City just like the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto.

    Surely they can hardly believe their own blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric.  Israel is committing genocide just like the genocide the Palestinians deny ever happened. Sure takes some warped thinking and an egregious view of history to come to that conclusion. More like quadruple-think than double-think.

    Hamas have killed more Gazans than Israel ever did and the only genocide in the region under contemplation is the one that Hamas and Hizbollah want to commit against the Jews of Israel and beyond, and the first step in this plan is to destroy Israel by all and any means military, propaganda and legal.

    The flotilla knows it is in a win-win situation: if Israel blocks it they have their propaganda coup and if they get through they have a victory against Israel.  No doubt this flotilla will be followed by several more. It’s lucky for the Palestinians that Israel isn’t North Korea or they might have their boats torpedoed; all Israel will do is impound them or let them through.

    The glory of Galloway

    Well, Viva Palestina finally made it into Gaza and George Galloway and Hamas had their little love-in.

    Not before a number of Egyptians showed him and the convoy what they thought of them.

    Apparently, in El Arish, the convoy came under attack. It was stoned and anti-Hamas slogans daubed on vehicles.

    Several people were injured. 

    I will not gloat over the suffering of the Viva Palestina people. They came in peace to bring aid to those in need in Gaza. Galloway and Ridley also came as a propaganda exercise which has hardly been reported in the mainstream media.

    Galloway made a speech in which he praised the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyah  as the “the only and legitimate elected leader of the Palestinian people”. 

    Galloway’s true motive was that of all demagogues – self-publicity. There he was, in the centre of Gaza City, praising terrorists and would-be perpetrators of genocide against Israel and the Jews. He wore dark sun glasses as he spoke, a true metaphor for the limit of his vision and his blindness to the real truths about Hamas. As long as he has his moment in the limelight. He hasn’t had such a good time since he last praised Saddam Hussein, or was it the Iraqi people? It gets so confusing.

    But why did brother Muslims in Egypt attack a convoy sending aid to relieve their fellow Arabs and co-religionists in Gaza?

    The answer is simple. Many Egyptians hate Hamas and all they represent. They see Hamas flags flying on the convoy and their gut reaction is violence. But Gorgeous George doesn’t see it that way. He looks foward to the day when the Hamas flag flies over Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Not a two-state Palestine with Israel, but a one-state Palestine. A day when the Israelis will simply disappear. Disappear like the Jews did in Nazi Europe, because that is their avowed intention, an intention that Galloway and his ilk do not wish to confront.

     Why did the Egyptians stop them for so long at the border and only allow most of the trucks through after lengthy negotiation? Why did Galloway and Ridley have to make the unspeakable compromise of having some vehicles pass through Israeli checkpoints (which they did without incident – no stone-throwing from the Israelis, please note)?  I don’t really know. Maybe the understanding with Israel about what gets into the Strip meant they had to be very wary and consult with their Israeli counterparts. 

    So the next time you hear anyone blaming the ‘siege’ on Israel, just point out that Gaza has a border with Egypt and that they are as keen as Israel to contain and curtail the activities of Hamas.

    And finally, when did the Nazis allow food, medical equipment and ambulances into the Warsaw Ghetto? (Just in case someone tries to make that comparison too.)

    Viva Palestina prevented from entering Gaza – by Egypt

    As I predicted, it is not Israel who has stopped the Viva Palestina aid convoy, as Tony Benn originally tried to imply would be the case, but Egypt.

    The convoy has been stopped at Al Arish about 25 miles from Rafah.

    One wonders why the world insists that is Israel and Israel alone who is penning in the Gazans when there is a border with Egypt which is rarely mentioned because it does not conform to their preconceptions and prejudices.

    It is puzzling why Muslims would prevent aid reaching fellow-Muslims in Gaza. In fact, all along the way as they have passed through North Africa they have been stopped more than once.

    But listen to this folks – the Viva Palestina Facebook page is now saying that the Egyptians want the convoy to pass through an Israeli crossing. Wouldn’t that be a great propaganda disaster for George Galloway; having the Israelis allowing in an aid convoy! Unthinkable.

    The page reports:

    During the day new obstacles have been placed in the path of the convoy passing into Gaza via the Rafar(sic)  crossing – to the amazement and disbelief of everyone involved.

    ‘Amazement and disbelief’ – so an enlightening time for them into the realpolitik of the region.

    Viva Palestina and Hamas’ Three Stooges

    As the Viva Palestina convoy makes its inexorable way towards Gaza no-one who feels the distress and sufferings of Gazans can object to any aid being sent by any organisation. 

    But this convoy is political propaganda dressed up as humanitarian aid. No doubt most of those who have contributed are genuine in their concerns and cannot be criticised.
     
    However, the three main political supporters of this convoy are none other than Yvonne Ridley, George Galloway and Tony Benn.
    Let’s look at their views on the Israel/Palestine issue and what they have said about this convoy:
     

    Yvonne Ridley

     

    A Muslim convert, she currently works for Press TV and Iranian English language news channel and is a leading member of Free Gaza. She was given a passport by Ismael Haniyah and described as an ambassador for Palestine. In 2006 she expressed views which she described as “pretty much in line with that of Hamas” and described Israel as “that disgusting little watchdog of America that is festering in the Middle East”. She has also described the Respect Party, of which she is a prominent member, as a Zionist-free zone.
     
    She has made such outrageous comments about the police that even George Galloway has distanced himself from them. She is openly supportive of terrorists around the globe such as the now dead Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Chechen terrorists. 
     
    In 2006 at the Al Quds rally she said it was “great to see the flags of Hizbollah flying outside this (US) embassy” in London. She endorses boycotts against Marks and Spencer in the belief that this somehow pays for Israeli bullets used against Palestinian innocents. She has similar views on Starbucks, thus revealing her anti-Jewish rather than anti-Zionist credentials. Presumably any company owned or run by Jews who may disagree with her own views should be boycotted.
     
    Ridley clearly believes that any action against Israel is justified whilst any action taken by Israel in defence against such actions is not.
     

    George Galloway

     

    Trotskyite, alleged fan of Saddam Hussein and his regime (which he strenuously denied), Respect Party MP, Celebrity Big Brother contestant, demagogue – he would be entertaining if he wasn’t so dangerous. He is a strong supporter of Hizbollah and Sheik Nasrallah who he denies being terrorists, on the contrary, he considers Israel to be a terrorist state.  Thus he supports an openly anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying organisation of the vilest kind whilst at the same time being on record as stating that the Holocaust was the greatest crime in history. Meanwhile he throws the word Zionist around as if it is cognate with terrorist. Galloway is viewed by many as being a clever manipulator of facts but like so many anti-Zionists, ignorant of history.
     
    Galloway is combative and bullying in interviews. His technique is to belittle or patronise the interviewer and cover his tracks with bluster and demagoguery. His skills as a debater cannot be doubted. Pity he doesn’t use them for more worthy causes.
     

    Tony Benn

     

    Hardly needs an introduction as the doyen of the extreme left. Called in to give his blessing to the convoy he made his customary nasty views abundantly clear: He congratulated George Galloway and Yvonne Ridley as if they were the saviours of Gaza. He described Israel’s actions in Gaza as a “War of Aggression” carefully avoiding the fact that Israel sat on its hands for 3 years whilst 6000 rockets rained down on its territory and he casually accused Israel of war crimes without mentioning that Hamas is the war criminal for deliberately targeting civilians for the past 7 years – a clear and undeniable war crime whereas no incontrovertible evidence of war crimes has yet been proven against Israel.
     
    He concluded with the ludicrous statement that if Israel tried to interfere with the convoy the British Navy, Air Force and Army should guarantee its passage! What is he on? Or has he finally gone completely ga-ga? He is now, as head of the Stop the War Coalition, proposing that Britain use military force against Israel if they deign to stop an aid convoy which is, in any case, going through Egypt.
     
    This is the rhetoric of the demagogue at its most absurd and obscene.
     
    It would be ironic in the extreme if the convoy tries to enter Gaza via Rafah and the Egyptians refuse entry. Maybe Hamas can smuggle it all in via their tunnels and sell it to their fellow citizens via Hamas-owned shops or come for it later and take it at gunpoint.
    I hope the convoy arrives safely and that Gazans receive the aid. It will be a small welcome supplement to the aid that Israel pours in to the territory every day and which no-one ever reports. If you don’t believe it, look here : www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2009/Increased_humanitarian_aid_Gaza_after_IDF_operation_Jan_2009