Reuters almost got it right about Gaza this time
From the title and through the reporting, this is the closest I have seen a major news outlet actually put together a balanced article even tangentially related to Israel in a long time.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 3, 2018
The title makes it clear the anger is directed toward the PA and not Israel (for a change). In fact, at the head of the article we learn that:
The Palestinian Authority cut salaries for its staff in Gaza by 20 percent on Thursday and failed to make up for skipping the previous month’s pay, leaving civil servants in the impoverished territory fuming they were pawns in a factional power struggle.
If readers read no further, as often happens, they at least know that the workers in Gaza feel the Palestinian Authority (PA) is playing with their salaries and using them as political pawns. They will also think that Gaza is impoverished. That is an oft-repeated misconception, as this video shows:
So we have one true point in the opening and one false point. Balanced? More than usual.
A bit farther down, we have:
PA salaries in the other Palestinian territory, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, were paid in full.
While showing how the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza are being discriminated against by their own administration in “the other” PA-governed-part of what is trying to become a new country, Reuters refers to the West Bank (Judea & Samaria) as being “Israeli-occupied”. Usually the word, illegally, prefaces this term. Congratulations to Reuters for avoiding that mis-characterization. It is debatable whether or not it can be called an occupation when the current facts on the ground were agreed upon by the leaders of both sides, but perhaps the argument that Israel has legal rights in these areas is gaining momentum.
Then, there was a bit of history:
Islamist group Hamas seized control of Gaza from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, prompting Israel and Egypt to clamp down on the territory, where 2 million people live under a de facto blockade with the world’s highest unemployment rate.
Yes, Hamas seized control of Gaza from Abbas and the PLO (partly by throwing PLO members off roofs). This, however, was not what prompted “Israel and Egypt to clamp down on the territory”. The missiles lobbed into Israel, and the terrorists crossing into Israel to harm Israelis, is what caused Israel to clamp down on the territory. The smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai and terrorism against Egyptians is what caused Egypt to clamp down. The fact that Israel allows hundreds of tons of goods to enter Gaza, provides electricity and water, and treats Gaza citizens in her hospitals, etc. means that even with the clamping down, there is no blockade. So here again, we have some truth and some fiction.
The workers claim that they are being used by Abbas to hurt Hamas:
Economists said the PA cuts would shrink the tax revenue collected in Gaza by Hamas – which it uses to pay 40,000 employees it has hired in the enclave since 2007.
That exacerbates Hamas budgetary shortfalls caused by Egypt’s closure of smuggling tunnels from its Sinai peninsula to Gaza. The Islamist faction had collected tax on goods brought in through the tunnels.
From the wording here, we would not be out of line if we wondered if Reuters sympathizes with poor Hamas for having had their budget screwed up when Egypt destroyed their smuggling tunnels.
Some problems in Gaza
More than half of Gazans depend on international aid, and 43.6 percent of workers are unemployed, the highest rate in the world.
Perhaps the time has come to debate whether or not all the aid provided to Gaza is helping or hurting the development of their infrastructure and of a thriving economy. Such debate has begun to emerge in aid-dependent countries, such as Nepal. After all, with almost half of all employable individuals not having jobs something has not been working.
Basic utilities such as water purification and power have deteriorated.
They did not blame Israel for this. Perhaps they read the same paper I read, in which even Gaza scientists did not blame Israel for this.
But they could not just write a whole article without jabbing at Israel, could they? You did not really expect that to happen, did you?
Israel, which has fought three wars in Gaza in the decade since Hamas took over, bars a range of goods that it says could have military uses from entering the territory, making reconstruction difficult and costly.
Oh, barring goods that could have military uses? Goods like these, for example?
Here is a list of the weapons and ammo we found in the Iranian arms shipment to the terrorist organizations in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/u1cgfFiyzt
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) March 9, 2014
In fact, does this look like Israel is barring goods?
— Jonathan Conricus (@LTCJonathan) May 4, 2018
I suppose the 50,000 tons of building materials are being used to build five-star hotels and terror tunnels rather than bomb shelters for their citizens. I mean, if you are making a hobby of launching missiles into Israel, you really should provide the means for your innocent civilians to avoid being killed when Israel fires back at launch sites, no? Unless. . .
A Plea to Abbas
Without their salaries, the common workers cannot afford the to prepare meals that accompany the month-long Ramadan holiday that begins next week. The article ends with a plea to Abbas:
We tell President Abbas: please show mercy towards us.
Mercy? President Abbas and mercy? Israel shows more mercy toward the innocent Gazan people than Abbas and Hamas put together.
* * * * *
Some websites identifying misrepresentations of Israel in the media and offering corrections: