The Gaza you’ll never see in the Guardian

H/T IDF, who was responsible for much of the information in this post

The tired narrative advanced by uninformed observers, the mainstream media (and, certainly, more ideologically extreme sites like the Guardian) about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict often includes the flippant cliché that Gaza is a “concentration camp” or an “open air prison” — and that Israel is to blame.

Such lazy characterizations of the situation in Gaza are simply fictitious. 

First, Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a terrorist group sworn to Israel’s destructionand rockets fired from the strip routinely strike southern Israel. So, is it really difficult to comprehend why the IDF can’t allow imports into Gaza without first inspecting the contents to ensure that there aren’t weapons?

Further, not only is there no “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza but, in certain areas of the territory, the economy is booming. Every day, the IDF transfers thousands of tons of goods and gas into Gaza – products delivered to Palestinian merchants and international organizations such as UNRWA.

But some things can’t go in, right?

Wrong.  All items can go in, even dual-use items — those that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, like certain fertilizers that can be used to build rockets.  (Such dual-use items merely require permits, and are typically sent to Gaza via international aid agencies to ensure that they don’t fall into the hands of Hamas terrorists.)

While no single photograph can capture the entire reality of life in Gaza, the common refrains, that Gaza is a “big concentration camp” or a big “prison camp”, are simply lies.

As a 2010 report in the Washington Post described:

“[Gaza] grocery stores are stocked wall-to-wall with everything from fresh Israeli yogurt and hummus to Cocoa Puffs smuggled in from Egypt. Pharmacies look as well-supplied as a typical Rite Aid in the United States.”

Take a look at Gaza as you rarely see it in the media:

The central public library in Gaza. Photo by Laura Goldman

Palestinians shop at the new al-Andulusia mall in Gaza City, August 2011. Photo by Hatem Moussa, AP

Here’s a brief video about the new al-Andulusia mall in Gaza.

More photos from Gaza:

A wedding in Gaza

A street vendor at the Friday market in Gaza City

A cake shop in Gaza City 

The gold market in Gaza City

The Kazem ice cream shop in Gaza

A small boat takes Palestinian leisure-seekers into the Mediterranean Sea for a fare.

Check out these additional photos from Gaza as well as these examples of staged photography.

104 replies »

  1. Well, if you squint really hard, tilt your head to a 45 deg. angle, run around in circles, and/or heavily sedate yourself, it would look just like the Warsaw Ghetto, doncha know? 😀

    • Is Mister Levick telling us Palestinians in Gaza should not get married, they should not have access to a libreay and they should not eat?

      Nothing is more entertaining than dumbness.

      • The Israeli blockade on Gaza is illegal as it inflicts collective punishment on 1.6 million human beings because of the sins of a few.

        There is not other case in today’s world when an entire population is taken hostage by another government. No amount of PR can change this.

        Israel has the latest state-of-the art security technology, which enables Tsahal to screen anyone or anything entering or leaving Gaza. There is no justification whatsoever to restrict the free flow of people and goods since it is possible to ensure Israel’s security at the same time.

        • The blockade was found to be legal by the UN. Where you asleep?
          Furthermore, the Egyptian border with Gaza is fully open.

          • The UN never found the Gaza blockade to be legal. The UN’s Palmer report found that Israel had the right to organize a NAVAL blockade around Gaza in order to check that any ship sailing to the coastal enclave did not carry weapons.

            However the UN’s Palmer report confirmed that Israel’s land blockade on Gaza is ILLEGAL.

        • Humm… The Palmer report ring any bells?
          “There is not a case…”(Blah-blah-blah)… How about Cuba, which the US has been(truly illegally) besieging since 1962?(The PRC, from 1953-1972?)
          “There’s no justification…”(yada-yada-yada); that’s not for you to decide, but the Israeli military establishment, and its security apparatus.
          I certainly wouldn’t like to endure more suicide bombings, just so you would feel your compunction fully rectified.

      • I don’t think anyone is saying that. Unfortunately, a lot of people are telling the world that Gazans CANNOT and DO NOT have these things, and they are lying.

        Gaza is not in a good situation, for a variety of reasons, but one of the key selling points for Western activists complaining about the blockade of Gaza is that people are starving in the streets, and have no access to any of the things pictured. This is not true. It’s good to know that, as we try to figure out some way to sort this mess out.

      • Er… no….

        Where did you get that idea from? Are you reading a different article from the rest of us?

    • Mister Levick forgot to mention that Israel currently occupied 85% of Gaza’s fishing grounds.

      That boat cannot go furhter than three nautical miles, and it’s a dangerous trip anyway: the Israeli Navu has shot and killed or injured many fishermen over the past years.

      Even though Gaza once had a thriving fishing industry, it now has to import frowen fish from Israel because of Israel’s blockade.

      • Nope, the fishing grounds aren’t occupied, their entry and exits are supervised to prevent weapons from entering Gaza coastal area.

        • Israel still occupies Gaza as it never relinquished control of Gaza’s land borders, airspace and sea.

    • If I follow Levick’s logic, Israel should not complain about having problems with its neigbours. I mean, there are loads of ultra luxuriouts shopping malls in Israel selling gold and diamond jewelry, there are tons of street markets where people can gorge themselves on food, there are tons of beach where people can swim and there are even people celebrating weddings.

      So why complain?

      • Israel has yet to complain about poverty (even though it too has its poor, unemployed, sick, wounded, etc.). It complains about the terrorist attacks on its civilians and the complicit silence of the UN with countries trying to annihilate it.

      • It’s enough to say that you don’t follow Adam’s logic, nor, so far as I can make out, any logic whatsoever.

        There’s the not-so-little matter of shelling of southern Israel from Gaza which is conspcious by its absence of mention in your burbling.

        You probably don’t realise it, but take note: that, and the inflammatory rhetoric from Hamas maintains the difficult access to Israel from Gaza.

    • Shocking scoop on CIF Watch!!!! At last the truth is revealed: Palestinians living in Gaza are human beings too! They eat, they go out, they get married and… they even read books in libraries!!!!!!!

      • So you admit they’re not doing en masse, per “slouching genocide”, or “Warsaw Ghetto”-esque, analogies? :O
        “Ben”(aka, “Nat”), I don’t think that’s what your Baathist handlers have ordered you to screech. Better revise the lines, you wouldn’t want to slip up, eh :D?

      • You are absolutely right! But CiF Watch has never argued otherwise. Post any link where it has, idiot!

    • The Guardian is an information newspaper. Its job is to print accurate, impartial information, not to disseminate PR efforts, including those of the current Government of Israel.

      • The Guardian is an information newspaper. Its job is to print accurate, impartial information, not to disseminate PR efforts, including those of the current Government of Israel.

        WOW! Are you for real? Perhaps Paul Titterton in disguise.

        • Now there’s a thought. Paul Titterton, eh? That is the sort of rubbish Berchmans would write….

      • Whaaaat??? The Guardian is “an information newspaper???”

        It wouldn’t now accurate and impartial if they punched it on the nose and almost the whole of CiF/Guardian is an anti-Israel propaganda machine.

        That really proves how deluded you are!

        • The Government of Israel forbade entry of chocolate, jam, cardamom… into Gaza for several years.

          The prohibition was not “swiftly repealed”. It was repealed following efforts by international and Israeli human rights organizations, and following angry protest from the American administration whose officials were shocked to learn that Israel prohibited… spaghetti and pasta from being imported into Gaza.

          Can you please let us know who can spaghetti or chocolate be a threat to Israel’s security? I’m looking forward to reading your answer. Really

          • I repeat my question as you seem to avoid answering it.

            Can you please let us know who can spaghetti or chocolate be a threat to Israel’s security? I’m looking forward to reading your answer. Really

            • Unlike you, I don’t purport to know all the security based rationales regarding various decisions.(I am sure they were not arbitrary, and I don’t see how having or not having chocolate/spaghetti, suddenly changes everything for Gazans. Reminding you that, even without Spaghetti, Gaza’s economy grew at 11.4%(in ’09)). Furthermore, since you seem to be so immersed in the question of various Security technologies(scanners, “nude scanners”-whatever the hell that is), maybe you can tell us, WHO then, killed JFK?

  2. The Guardian is full of hypocrisy, lies and abuse. The writers are biased, the editorials are biased and they are all obsessed with ‘Islamophobia’. They are apologists for Muslim extremists and echo their sentiments regarding Israel and the West. They should get off their knees and stop kissing the arises of extremists and tell the true story. Ha ha, not in a million years or a million Muslim bombs. Scum.

  3. I actually agree with the common characterization of Gaza being an open air prison. The people there are confined to a small geographical area, and they are not allowed to leave. That pretty well defines an open air prison for me. It is of course, a prison of their own making and design. You can’t actually expect to call for a genocide of your neighboring country, and expect that country to give you full rights of travel.
    The concentration camp claim is so offensive and bogus, there is no reason to even respond to it.


    • Thanks for your comment.

      First, Egypt’s Rafah crossing is often open to Gazans.

      Second, per COGAT: “during 2011, over 20,000 Palestinians made the crossing from Gaza to Israel for medical reasons. Another 15,000 entered Israel for reasons of business, sport, art or religion. That’s almost a hundred people a day and does not include Palestinians entering Israel from the PA controlled areas of Judea & Samaria.”

      • Mister Levick, Palestinians living in Gaza have the legal right to cross into the rest of the Palestinian territory – the West Bank and Gaza.

        This cannot be done through Rafah.

        Not only does the Government of Israel refuse to let Palestinians from Gaza enter the West Bank through one of the five crossings located between Israel and Gaza (and equipped with the latest security technology to screen goods and people), but it also refuses to let them transit through the Allenby crossing located between Jordan and the Palestinian territory.

        A violation of international law is a violation of international law.

        No amount of PR can change that.

        • Sudanese who want to cross into Egypt are shot on sight.
          Mexicans who want to cross into the US are barred by a wall. If they make it across, they are either shot or deported (sometimes both).
          Eastern European who want to make it across the English Channel are barred from entering GB and remain poor, homeless, jobless, and without rights in Calais.
          Africans who try to get to Europe through Gibraltar or Lampedusa are kept in camps until deportation.
          Every country has the right to control its borders.
          It isn’t a violation of international law, it is the essence of international law.
          Israel isn’t a special case. It has the right to control its borders to prevent hostile (and armed) people and illegal immigrants to come in: that’s all.

          Now for the bit of PR: 20,000 inhabitants of Gaza cross daily into Israel for their jobs or for medical treatment.

          • Israel has the right to bar Palestinians in Gaza from entering Israel.

            However Israel does not have the right to bar Palestinians in Gaza from entering their own Palestinian territory, meaning the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

            Myriam, can you please let us know when was the last times the USA barred Mexicans from entering Mexico? Never.

            • Give us some suggestions. How does Israel allow Gazans access to the West Bank without endangering Israelis? Serious thought now, not ‘oh, it would be fine’ nonsense.

              • Makabit, five out of the six land crossings into Gaza are located in Israel. ALL of them are equipped with the best security and screening technology available in the world today. These crossings enable Israel to let Palestinians, goods and aid to cross in and out of Gaza while ensuring its duty to protect Israeli citizens.

                If it’s possible at Ben Gurion airport it’s possible in Gaza crossings too, especially since gaza crossings are equipped with far more advances technology than Ben Gurion airport, including world famous “nude scanner”.

        • “Palestinians living in Gaza have the legal right”.
          Which right? What? Where? Please provide references.
          “…but it also refuses to let them transit through the Allenby crossing located between Jordan and the Palestinian territory.”-Proof?

          • Upon signing the Oslo Agreements, Israel officially recognized the Palestinian territory as one single entity, composed of the West bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

            A country cannoy prevent another country’s citizens from accessing their own country.

            • Where/When has it/is it preventing them that? Please PROVIDE sources.
              I don’t recall the Oslo accords forcing Israel that such a transit must take place through Israel.

          • Israel refuses to let Palestinians living in Gaza access the rest of the Palestinian territory (West Bank, East Jerusalem), even if the go through Jordan and the Allenby crossing.

            I’m sure you heard the story of Betty Azzam, that Christian student who was attending classes at the Christian university in bethleem. The Israeli army arrested her and deported her overnight to Gaza, stating that she was born in Gaza and could not reside in the West Bank.

            This created a big scandal in Europe and the USA, even the Pope complained to Netanyahu to protest the deportation of Christian students.

            • Betty Azzam, knowingly violated the permit granted to her, by overstaying in the West Bank, and NOT requesting its renewal per authorized protocol.
              She entered the West Bank, AFTER the Hamas takeover of Gaza, in 2009, and vitiated common procedures by not validating her papers on time.
              But fine, suppose we accept her case, and your premise; that’s ONE incident, in 2009(3 year ago).
              Anything else that actually legitimises your contention that this is somehow systematic?

              • Commentary 101, can you please explain why Betty Azzam, a Palestinian Christian, would need a permit from Israel to live in her own country, Palestine?

                • Because, since the agreements with Israel regarding free passage have been ratified, the Gaza strip has been subordinated(by force) to anti-Semitic, genocidal Hamas governance.
                  Would you have allowed a German, Christian, to travel to East Prussia, were you in a state a War(even though that person might not necessarily have been a Nazi)?
                  I recollect that Poland took particular offence to that; I wonder why…

                • I love the way countries can just be conjured into existence by people on the Internet.

                  If Palestinians want Palestine to be recognized as a nation, they need to declare nationhood. Why are they dragging their feet on this?

                  • Because they’ll need to behavepeaceably towards Israel and cannot.

                    Because none of the major powers will support their statehood unless they do so.

              • Commentary 101, could you please explain why the Government of Israel did not want Christian girls like Betty Azzman, a 20-year-old studying at Bethleem’s Catholic University, to study in her own country, the Palestinian territory?

                Is there a law in Israel that says that Christian Palestinian girls should not attend university?

              • 101, could you please let us know how can a 20-year-old Christian girl studying at a Catholicu University in Christians’ holiest city be such a security threat to Israel that she has to be deported to Gaza by Israeli soldiers in the middle of the night?

                • 101, please answer the question.

                  Why did Israel forbid a 20-year-old Palestinian Christian girl from studying at the Catholic University in Bethlehem, in the Palestinian territory?

                  Looking forward to reading your answer.

                  • Artistic verisimilitude eh? Azzam WAS NOT deported in the “middle of night”. Not even she dared to claim something so farcical. (But you obviously know better than she does).
                    She had overstayed her permit, which you could’ve read, had you wanted to, above.
                    Furthermore, since Hamas’ takeover of Gaza(who doesn’t recognize the Oslo accords), all agreements vis-a-vis transportation regarding Gaza are null and void.
                    Maybe Azzam could convince Hamas to recognize Israel & the Oslo accords, thence I am sure, she may study wherever she pleases.

      • M. Levick, you are telling us that Israel allowed 35,000 Palestinians living in Gaza were to leave their tiny blockaded out of a population of… 1,6 million human beings????


        Can you please explain why the 800,000 palestinians in Gaza who are children under 18 are also deprived to their right to live free? I mean, they cannot have voted for Hamas so why punish them too?

        A violation of international law is a violation of international law. No amount of PR can change that.

    • Stan, half og Gaza’s inhabitants are children who cannot vote or do anything about their rulers.

      Why do you want to punish 800 000 children?

      • 1/3 of the inhabitants of Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, etc. are children, why is it OK for them to be punished (living under a permanent rain of bombs)? Why do you want to punish 1,300 000 children, both Jewish and Arabs?

      • Why do you want to punish 800 000 children?

        You keep on coming back with really small side issues Benyamin. Are Egyptian children responsible for the irresponsibility of electing and Islamist president in Egypt? Yet, they will suffer the consequences.

        Israel has serious security concerns and sometimes children, even children who have not been taught in Gaza schools to hate Israel, suffer.

        If Hamas would stop trying to destroy the Evil Zionist Entity, stop bombarding Southern Israeli cities with mortars and rockets, recognise all agreements signed by the PA with Israel, the situation can change.

        Try persuading them that to enable Gazan children to grow up in a less restricted way, they must do the above. Don’t even demand freedom in Gaza. You know that you will not get that. You could also mention to them that their democratic mandate finished long ago and that they should hold democratic and free elections.

        Make sure that the consul of your country knows that you are visiting Gaza though. You might need his assistance if you are to raise all the points that I have listed above with Hamas officials.

        • Why impose a blockade on 800 000 children who, obviously, could not have voted for Hamas?

          Looking forward to reading your answer.

      • But by your reckonging, half are not, and still cannot vote out “democratic” Hamas, can they? Why not?

        • Question: Why impose a blockade on 800 000 children who, obviously, could not have voted for Hamas?

          Looking forward to reading your answer.

  4. Gazan’s are perhaps the richest occupied people on the planet. If they negotiate peace with Israel, they’ll then have to fend for themselves and Gaza will quickly degenerate into a poverty stricken stan. It is the threat of violence against Jews and Israel and the successful campaign of victimhood that is keeping the gravy train of international aid flowing. Why would they ever opt for peace with Israel and forego all this? Same with Pakistan, why would they kill the goose of terrorism when it is laying so many golden eggs for them?

    • Bernard, the World Food Programme gives handouts in Gaza so that people can feed their children.

      This does not look like “the richest occupied people” on earth to me.

      And please: can you tell us which other country has been occupying another people for the past 40 years? There are not many with Israel in that club.

      • How about the Hashemite Saudi tribe occupying the rightful land of the Palestinian Arabs since GB helped stole the country? It’s been 66 years now. How about the GB in North Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. It’s been close to 1000 years now. How about France, the US, Russia, China, etc.?

      • why is that needed, given the largesse we can see?

        is zakat failing, or does corrupt Hamas take too much of a cut, or allow food only to those who support it?

        Do tell!

    • Bernard, Gazans haven’t been occupied since 2005, unless it’s by the Red Cross and the various NGOs

      • Myriam, Israel is the occupying power of the Palestinian territory, inluding Gaza, to this day.

        Tsahal controls 100% of Gaza’s airspace.

        Tsahal controls 85% of Gaza’s fishing grounds.

        Tsahal controls 35% of Gaza’s arable land (the so-called access restricted area)

        Tsahal controls four out of the five crossings in and out Gaza, including 100% of crossings which can proceed goods and humanitarian aid

        • And in order for that NOT to be needed, Hamas would need to prevent rocket fire into Israel! Simples!

  5. If my family would have 0.001 % of this in the Jewish Ghetto than I would have aunties, uncles grandparents to love me and give me cuddles and kisses and lots of love.

    • But why do you want Palestinians in Gaza to be kept hostage in a tiny strip of land?

      Why do you want to deprive 1.6 million human beings, half of them CHILDREN, from the right to live free?

      • The answer is simple. Because for these human beings freedom means to kill Jews unpunished.

          • I don’t want to punish anybody, but the same time I don’t want to meet Allah before my natural time because a Jew hater asshole considers me a lawbreaker.
            But I could suggest a practical solution to the problem of free movement of Gazans to the West Bank.
            The applicants will be put on air conditioned buses and in order to ensure their unmolested travel they must be escorted by you personally (any of your family members will do too). If you are busy then there are plenty of international volunteer comrades and their family members who will happily join so in the probable case that any of the oppressed Gazans have the urge to explode him/herself you or your beloved ones will escort them to the world to come. Naturally this would require to build a highway between Gaza and the West-Bank and a properly staffed Israeli security team monitoring the movement of these buses and protecting the Israelis against any attempt to leave this road, not speaking about the expenses of repair works after every successful action of one of the passengers expressing his/her frustration in the usual way. I’m sure that the European Community, UNHRC, Oxfam, CoE, are ready to finance this adventure, according to my estimate it won’t cost more than some billions of Euros of starting investment and same millions more per year. As far`as I know they have plenty of money to give right now.

            If you or any of your comrades will lost his/her life during one of these humanitarian excursions I promise to consider you a victim of the Israeli occupation and mourn you accordingly.

            Disclaimer: You are required to sign a written consent that you won’t have any financial demands in case your becoming a holy martyr or an escort of one of them pursuing to meet his promised virgins and in the probable case that the Fatah security people on the West Bank won’t allow the buses to enter into their area. Any damage made to your butt as a consequence of kicking you out by them will be strictly your responsibility.

            Do you agree benyamin?

          • Benyamin, can you explain why you want Israel to allow Hamas, a terrorist organization committed to killing Jews where it can find them, access to Israeli civilians and children? Can you please explain why you want little Israeli children to die? Can you explain why you want Hamas to have free access to Israel?

            Can you, can you?

            Or, more importantly, can you explain why you cannot discuss the actual problems facing Israel re Gaza without resorting to these tears-in-your-eyes pleas to everyone to think of the lit-tul chil-dren, ignoring the actual facts on the ground?

            • Makabit, all crossings between Israel and gaza are equipped with the world’s best technology, including the fa mous “nude scanner”.

              Israel can let people and goods in and out of Gaza while screening them and ensuring the security of Israeli citizens.

      • You seem to cavalierly forget, as usual, that those “Children” are free to leave through Rafah, any time they please.
        Unless Egypt is on the dole of the Zionists :D? Gasp!

        • These children have been torn apart from their families living in the rest of the Palestinian territory (West Bank, including East jerusalem) for the past five years because of Israel’s blockade on Gaza.

        • Gaza is not in Egypt, it’s in the Palestinian territory.

          Palestinians in Gaza have the right to access the rest of the Palestinian territory freely.

          • They still can. IF they travel to Egypt. I don’t see why Israel has to provide them transit, through its territory.

        • 101, Israel forbids Palestinians from Gaza from entering the West bank through Allenby, the border crossing between Jordan and the Palestinian territory.

          Israel even deports Palestinians from Gaza living in the West bank back to Gaza, calling them “illegal”… even though they’re Palestinians living in the Palestinian territory!

      • Benyamin, talk to Hamas.

        The children suffer because Hamas wants them to, in order to tug at the heartstrings of its useful idiots like you!

        It could so easily stop this, but it won’t, and yet, as someone said above, the Gazans are the world’s richest oppressed people, oppressed, that is, more by their “democratically elected” government than any other entity.

  6. Does the following resemble prison, ghetto, genocide?

    Gaza Strip: Population explosion – English | Front …