The Palestinian Arabs have gone to great lengths to portray themselves as oppressed and impoverished refugees living under a brutal and strangulating "Israeli occupation."
And so it was somewhat odd when Palestinian and a select few Israeli media outlets recently reported on the wild success of a new luxury shopping mall in the northern "West Bank" town of Jenin, a location previously made famous by its abundance of suicide bomber recruits.
The five-story mall opened with a fireworks display last month, and throngs of Palestinians from the surrounding areas have made it their daily destination of choice ever since.
Stores at the mall range from those carrying typical local fare to outlets stocking expensive foreign imports like plasma TVs and high-end espresso machines, both of which are major status symbols in the region.
Ziad Turabi, the developer of the Jenin mall, said he is so confident the local Palestinian population has the money to support such shopping centers that he is currently building another one in Ramallah, and may later build in Shechem, Hebron and Tulkarm.
Fortunately for the Palestinians, the secret that they are not really being forced into poverty by Israel is not likely to be unmasked by the opening of the new shopping malls, as the international media has completely ignored the story.