In the beginning of the month we checked the accuracy of the claims that Israel is an "occupying force", and examined them closely through the rebuttal of a few prevalent myths about Judea and Samaria (the so called "West Bank"). Now, let's do the same with Gaza Strip. Let's repeat our associations exercise: what comes to mind when you hear "Gaza"? Chaos, death, destruction? All the imaginable horrors of occupation? Ruined houses, filthy, overpopulated slums, dusty clothes, muddy roads and farm animals instead of vehicles?
This is the photo of the mosque and the conference hall of the Islamic University of Gaza, located (as you can see) in the middle of the Gazan downtown. Not quite what you imagined, is it? By the way, there are 8 (eight!) universities and colleges in Gaza. Adding that to the 13 (thirteen!) academic establishments in the "West Bank" (all of the 21 were, for some reason, established after the "terrible Zionist occupation" of 1967) and you get the most educated Arab group in the entire region.
Myth #1: "Israel still occupies Gaza! ---> It's the biggest prison in the world!!" - BUSTED!
In 2005 the Israeli government executed the "Disengagement Plan" - the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Israel took out all of its military, demolished all 21 of its settlements and uprooted all 8,600 of its citizens in one of the most traumatic and controversial operations in its modern history. By doing so (relinquishing 100% of the Gazan territory), Israel gave full sovereignty of the strip to the Arabs, in hope that would promote the peace process, the two-state solution and the Palestinian democracy. Instead Hamas, that quickly took control of the strip disregarding the elections, declared war on Israel and started firing missiles at Israeli civilian population (getting a 100% rise of terror in return).
Anyone still thinks the conflict is about territory? Anyone still thinks that "land for peace" is a reasonable equation?
Myth #2: "Israel holds Gaza under siege! ---> It's the biggest prison in the world!!" - BUSTED!
Israel holds an arms blockade over Gaza to fight the terrorist trafficking of weapons. Tons upon tons of food, medicine, clothing, construction materials, agricultural supplies, etc. enter Gaza through the Israeli checkpoints daily. Thousands upon thousands of Gazans enter Israel daily to work, study, get medical treatment, visit holy sites, visit relatives in Judea and Samaria, etc. For very obvious reasons (see Myth #1) it's not an "open door" policy, just like any other border with a hostile entity in the world.
Myth #3: "They're deprived of every basic need! ---> It's the biggest prison in the world!!" - BUSTED!
Watch the "miserable" Gazans' invitation to visit them at a 5 star hotel in their "biggest open air prison in the world"!
Myth #4: "Gaza is the most densely populated city on Earth! ---> It's the biggest prison in the world!!" - BUSTED!
Gaza's population density moves around the 5,000 people for sq km. Sounds scary? Not in Jerusalem with their 6,400/km2, nor in Tel Aviv with their 7,500/km2. In Barcelona and Athens they laugh at Gaza with roughly 16,000/km2 each (some 3 times as much), and in Paris they don't even count Gaza with their 20,000/km2 (4 times as much). In fact, Gaza's population density is nowhere to be found in Wikipedia's list of the 50 most dense cities in the world!
The only density that comes to mind is that of the Antisemitic bigots, coming up with such easily refutable lies, only to slander and libel Israel.
Funny business, anyone?
On a brighter note, watch what happens when Gaza youth operate the cameras without the propaganda machine supervising:
For more information on Gaza's "terrible suffering under the Israeli boot" check the excellent entry in Shirlee Finn's awesome Jews Down Under blog!
In the meantime, don't forget to use those brains!