Free Markets, Free People

Gaza Strip

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 25 Nov 12

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss Israel and Obamacare.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

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More Israeli blockade challenges planned

It appears every pro-Palestinian activist group of more than two people is planning on staging a run at the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip. The ostensible reason is to get much needed supplies and humanitarian aid to the Palestinians living in Gaza.

A group of German and European Jews is probably the most unique of the groups planning such a mission.

“We want to break the Gaza occupation and end the occupation of the West Bank as well,” Kate Katzenstein-Leiterer, a member of the executive committee of the European Jews for a Just Peace, which is organizing the mission, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “We as Jews want to bring the Palestinians something other than bombs.”

It is always interesting to see such groups elide past the reason for the blockade and lay all the violence on the Israeli side. Certainly not surprising. In fact, it is necessary to develop the false premise that this is all Israel’s fault.

The ship, whose current location in the Mediterranean is being kept secret, will be carrying school supplies, musical instruments, children’s clothing and “stuff for children that Israel has forbidden, such as sweets and chocolates.”

Here’s the irony. In fact there’s a lot of irony here. One, there is rampant unemployment in Gaza. But, when there are certain items embargoed, Gazan Palestinians have started businesses to make up for that. When embargoed items are smuggled in, they put those businesses out of business. This isn’t an argument for continuing to embargo sweets, it is an acknowledgment of the impact of doing so.

Irony two. They could land all of that intact in Egypt and have it shipped through the Egyptian border with Gaza without a single confrontation with the Israelis. So this isn’t about “humanitarian aid” or bringing the Palestinians “something other than bombs”. That way is clear.

This is obviously about confrontation, publicity and attempting to embarrass Israel.

The final irony is that Egypt might not be as open to their shipment as one might imagine. After all, it is a boat load of Jews we’re talking about here.

~McQ

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Yglesias – Israel engaged in "collective punishment" of Gaza (and "the children")

A member of the juice-box mafia is at it again. This one, well, it just amazes me (but it shouldn’t). Matt Yglesias:

As I’ve noted before, in the eyes of its defenders the blockade of the Gaza Strip is a security measure aimed at denying rockets to Hamas, while in fact it’s a comprehensive effort to collectively punish Gaza residents—a majority of whom are children—in hopes that this will somehow lead to Hamas being replaced by a more moderate regime. Yousef Munayyer’s rundown of the consequences of the blockade makes the point clearly. For example, “In 2006, Israel carried out an attack on Gaza’s only power plant and never permitted the rebuilding to its pre-attack capacity (down to producing 80 megawatts maximum from 140 megawatts).”

On the surface, it’s pure conjecture. And, as you’ll see, it is pure conjecture based on a false premise. But not unusual for those whose sole intent is to demonize Israel.

As has been pointed out many times, Israel absorbs about 4,000 rocket attacks a year from Gaza. Random attacks aimed at Israeli civilians. I wonder what Yglesais would say if Israel responded in kind? Would that be “collective punishment” for Gaza, but not Israel (which, though he hasn’t apparently noticed, has women and children endangered by those attacks – in fact, they’re the targets).

Anyway, since he uses this Munayyer joker as his source, why don’t we then see what Israel says about it:

According to the UN report of May 2010, 120 megawatts (over 70%) of the Strip’s electricity supply comes from the Israeli electric grid, while 17 MWs come from Egypt and 30 MWs are produced by the Gaza city power station. Since January 2010, there has been deterioration in the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip since the Hamas regime is unwilling to purchase the fuel to run the Gaza City power station.

Throughout 2009 Israel transferred 41 trucks of equipment for the maintenance of Gaza’s electricity grid.

Israel facilitates the transfer of fuel through the border, and maintains that the diversion of fuel from domestic power generators to other uses is wholly a Hamas decision. Over 133 million liters of fuel entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months.

Wow – Google truly is your friend.

If the assumption is that 140 MW is what Gaza needs (since Yglesais implies the Gaza electrical station could produce that at full capacity) then it appears they’re fine. They receive 167 MW from various sources, mostly Israel. And, it appears, at least according the data the Israelis have produced, that “41 trucks of equipment for the maintenance of Gaza’s electric grid” points to something quite different than “never permitted the rebuilding” (and yes I realize that doesn’t necessarily mean the main power plant exclusively, but it doesn’t exclude it either).

As does the fact that Hamas has been diverting fuel from the domestic power generators to other uses.

I suppose one could try to construct a defense of what the policy actually is, but instead most people seem to prefer to defend something else. Of course Israelis don’t want to be hit by rockets, but why shouldn’t Gaza’s civilians have electricity?

I suppose one could come up with pure unsubstantiated BS and conjecture and try to pass it off as truth too – oh, wait …

And what does it leave us with? Uh, yeah, those rockets. Still real and still hitting Israel.

~McQ

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Our Ironic Foreign Policy

A billion dollars of your tax dollars is on its way to Palestine, 300 million of it earmarked for the Gaza Strip where Hamas still rules:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday will pledge about $300 million in U.S. humanitarian aid for the war-torn Gaza Strip, plus about $600 million in assistance to the Palestinian Authority, a U.S. official said Sunday.

State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood told reporters traveling with Clinton Sunday that she would announce the donations at an international pledging conference at this Red Sea resort. The conference is seeking money for Gaza and the Palestinian economy.

So thanks to your generosity, Hamas doesn’t have to ante up $300 million to support its own people. Yes, your subsidy will allow them to instead purchase some new munitions and rockets with which to attack Israel.

This is the same Secretary of State who recently was peddling our debt bonds to the Chinese, ostensibly so we could borrow more money to, what, fund Hama’s war on Israel?

Isn’t life ironic?

~McQ