Red Cross: No humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Friday, April 22, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

The International Red Cross on Wednesday acknowledged what anyone not taken in by anti-Israel propaganda has known for some time: that there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

In an interview with the Israeli army spokesman, Mathilde Redmatn, deputy director of the Red Cross in Gaza, clearly declared for all those willing to listen that there "is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza."

"If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach," noted Redmatn.

But Redmatn did go on to criticize Israel for maintaining a partial embargo on certain goods, such as cement, which can and has been used by terrorist forces to build bunkers.

"Israel has the legitimate right to protect the civilian population, [but] this right should be balanced with the right of 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip," said Redmatn. "...difficulties in importing building materials [has] hampered sustainable economic recovery and dashed any hope of leading a normal and dignified life."

Israelis would argue that a territory that elects terrorists as its leaders and then facilitates the launching of thousands of missiles at a neighboring territory has forfeited the right to a "normal and dignified life."

Redmatn also slammed Hamas and its terrorist allies for continuing to fire missiles and mortar shells at Israeli civilians in southern Israel.

But, despite the reality, painting Gaza as a squalor-filled prison is just too good a propaganda tool for most to give up.

A few brave journalists over the past few years have bucked the media trend of portraying Gaza as the most destitute place on earth, and have provided written and photographic evidence that Gaza is not nearly as bad off as most reports make it out to be.

Last year, National Post reporter Tom Gross lambasted his colleagues in the international media for focusing solely on those parts of Gaza that are impoverished in a deliberate attempt to suggest that the entire region lives that way, because of Israeli security measures.

"We could produce the same effect by selectively filming seedy parts of Paris and Rome and New York and Los Angeles, too," Gross wrote at the time.

Even Hamas has admitted that there is no Israeli-created starvation in Gaza.

"There is no starvation in Gaza. No one has died of hunger," Khalil Hamada, a senior official at Gaza's Ministry of Justice, told London's Daily Telegraph last year.

The claim, reiterated by Redmatn, that Israel is not allowing enough building materials into Gaza is also dubious.

In November, Gaza Housing Minister Yousef Alamanti confirmed to United Press International that construction had been started on a massive high-rise apartment project. The project includes three apartment buildings with a total of 25,000 apartments, a mosque, playground, shopping center and schools.

It is difficult to understand how such an expansive project could be built if Israel is not letting Gazans get their hands on even basic building materials.

The truth revealed by all of these acknowledgements and reports is that Gaza is not under siege. Yes, Israel is closely monitoring and restricting the entry of certain goods in order to limit the terrorists' capabilities. But the influx of goods into a territory that is actively engaged in terrorist warfare against the civilians of its neighboring territory is unprecedented in Gaza.

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