Gaza's luxury water park torched

Monday, September 20, 2010 |  Ryan Jones

A mob of masked Palestinian gunmen stormed Gaza City’s “Crazy Water Park” during the predawn hours on Sunday and caused widespread damage to the popular attraction.

The owner of the park told the German news agency DPA that about 40 unidentified gunman entered the park, tied up and beat the two security guards, destroyed various items and set fire to at least three buildings.

The 10-dunam (2.5 acre) park includes three large swimming pools, water slides, numerous cafes, two mosques and wedding halls. It has quickly become one of the area’s most popular summer attractions.

Despite its popularity, the owner said that at the beginning of September, the Hamas government in Gaza ordered him to close the park for three weeks.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights revealed that when the owner went to inquire about the closure, he was made to sign an oath to prevent mixed male-female bathing and to not serve water pipes (nargila) to women.

It is entirely possible that with the continuing Islamization of Gaza, Hamas shuttered the park and then discretely dispatched its own gunmen to destroy the place before authorization was given to open it back up. Hamas and other Islamic groups in Gaza have made it clear they view such displays of public entertainment as corruptive foreign influences.

Or, could it be that the presence of such luxury attractions was becoming too detrimental to efforts to convince the world that Gaza is suffocating under a brutal Israeli “siege”?

That is unlikely the reason for the water park attack. The first reason makes more sense in this case. But, it is still instructive to note that Gaza City had a very nice water park that was larger, or at least rivaled, the one in Tel Aviv. It is just further evidence that Gaza is not being strangled slowly to death by a bloodthirsty Jewish state. (Yesterday we reported on the impressive economic growth in Gaza.)

Yes, there are poor areas in Gaza, but there are poor areas everywhere. The difference, as investigative journalist Tom Gross pointed out, is that the international media chooses to focus on the poor parts of Gaza to paint a certain picture. If they likewise only took pictures of the slums of Paris, it too would look like a place of total deprivation.

But the lie can only go on so long, and many mainstream media outlets are being forced to admit the truth that the people of Gaza are not starving or living in widespread squalor.

Take this line from a recent New York Times column (again, hat tip to Tom Gross): “The poverty of Gaza is often misconstrued, willfully or inadvertently. The flotilla movement is not about material aid; it is about Palestinian freedom.”

So, Israel is not actually starving the people of Gaza. There is no cruel intention to murder a population of 1.5 million people. Israel is just keeping them all prisoner. For fun, right? Wrong.

The restrictions that are currently on Gaza are there for a reason: because a vast network of terrorist organizations operating freely in Gaza (one of the groups actually rules the territory now) was raining down rockets on the heads of Israeli civilians with frightening frequency.

When you commit a violent crime, you forfeit your freedom. Were I to go outside, find someone who was for whatever reason disagreeable to me and attack him, I would forfeit my freedom and go to jail. And please, no talk of collective punishment. While Israel does its best to minimize the affects of the embargo on average Palestinians, it must be remembered that the Gaza public overwhelmingly voted Hamas into power. They wanted the terrorists to not only go on doing what they were doing, but to run their lives as well.

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