A skeptical Israeli reader expressed doubt about my claim in yesterday’s post that Israel had shut down Gaza’s power station. He pointed to an Israeli foreign ministry statement, which I find one of those head-scratchers that make you wonder if anyone there knows what they’re talking about or cares a whit whether anyone in the world believes them:
“The supply of electricity to Gaza from the Israel and the Egyptian power grids (124 Megawatts and 17 Megawatts respectively) has continued uninterrupted. These 141 Megawatts of power represents about three quarters of Gaza’s electricity needs. While the fuel supply from Israel into Gaza has indeed been reduced, due to the Hamas rocket attacks, the diversion of this fuel from domestic power generators to other uses is wholly a Hamas decision – apparently taken due to media and propaganda considerations.”
…Noteworthy is the fact that while the Gaza population remains in the dark, the fuel generating power to the Hamas rocket manufacturing industry continues to flow unabated.
Israel, with a totally straight face is claiming that Hamas has deliberately diverted fuel from the power station as part of a propaganda campaign against Israel. That means that over a million people sit in the dark without water because Hamas has determined that their suffering has more propaganda value than their comfort. In addition, Hamas, if you choose to believe the foreign ministry, places a higher priority on firing rockets at Israel than keeping the lights on in Gaza homes. The sheer effrontery of such a statement boggles the mind. The underlying intent is to divert blame from Israel and claim that Hamas somehow has rigged this humanitarian crisis to milk a few tears from world opinion.
I’m aware of how cynical the IDF and some Israeli officials can be. But this goes beyond mere cynicism into a whole other realm. And not to recognize that this statement is, in itself, Israeli propaganda (and not very effective propaganda) would be a serious mistake.
I don’t know who you are or where you live, but I doubt if it is on this planet. I ran across your blog regarding the Israeli-Gaza situation where you unbelieveably treat Israel’s statements regarding the fuel supplies as propanganda. You are appalled that we should suggest Hamas created the “blackout” for media support and sympathy and that our “suggestion” that Hamas prefers to “use” its citizens rather than keep them warm is an affront to humanity. ??? In fact, this is exactly what happened, and it has now been admitted by Hamas that the blackout was staged to create sympathy. The fuel for the power station that Hamas shut down constitutes only 25% of the power needs in Gaza. The rest (75%) has stayed intact, 70% being supplied by Israel, and 5% supplied by Egypt. The military projects certainly did not suffer as Hamas is moving forward and upward in development of weapons..or haven’t you noticed???. Hamas and the PA are all VERY WILLING to allow their citizens to “suffer” for the cause of jihad. Wake up!!!!! You obviously do not live in Israel, and apparently have your head in the sand. It might be preferable for you to contain your blog comments to those things you know about….
Richard Silverstein says
One characteristic of the wingnutosphere is that they never acknowledge the humanity of their opponents as exemplified by Navah’s comment. I assure you that I am one of you & live among you here on earth though that must irk you no end.
Yes, because the definition of propaganda is a partisan statement made that lacks any support in fact which is what the foreign ministry statement was.
This is about the 400th time here that someone like you claims that Hamas stands for something that would be oh so convenient to yr partisan world view, but which in fact you provide no facts or evidence to support.
The fuel oil Israeli withheld supplies the turbines that run the power plant. Without the oil there is no power & w/o the power Gaza is dark.
Besides I’d like to ask this question. From yr well-lit warm home in Israel or elsewhere how do you have a clue what is happening to anyone in Gaza? You have the chutzpah to claim to know what happened there based on some suspect statistics passed out to you by the foreign ministry? That is rich.
Do us all a favor & go sit in a Gazan living room in the dark and take a dump in toilet that can’t be flushed & then come back & tell us how it feels.
It might be preferable for you to confine yr ramblings through the blogosphere only to those sites which confirm yr prejudices. Clearly, sites like mine give you an allergic reaction as humanity toward the Palestinians (while also offering it toward Israelis) seems to give you the worst itch.
While I share your skepticism towards government-issued explanations, I tend to believe that Hamas did exaggerate the immediate effect of the fuel shortage and expedited the population’s suffering in order to counter the Israeli measures. Hamas is clever and ruthless, and does not share your concern for human rights (remember Fatah personnel being thrown off buildings?).
Moreover, I’m not sure what you have against the statement that “Hamas places a higher priority on firing rockets at Israel than keeping the lights on in Gaza homes.” To me it’s quite clearly true. I assume that Hamas’s firing of rockets is to them a symbol that they will not surrender. If they conceded to Israel’s terms and stopped firing rockets, then Israel would have immediately resumed fuel shipments. Obviously, Hamas found that shutting the lights off for a couple of days is an even more effective measure (and it also lets them continue firing rockets, plus they get to seriously threaten the regime in Egypt).
Remember that Hamas’s stated goal is the destruction of the state of Israel. Hamas rockets on Sderot are a symbol that they remain true to this goal. In my meetings with citizens of Gaza (before the blockade, of course), I have learned that the people of Gaza do not even begin to comprehend the effect that this goal has on Israeli citizens. Israeli violence against the poor people of Gaza is rooted in this issue, but they don’t realize it.
Richard Silverstein says
I would mostly agree with this statement. But I would add that Fatah also is ruthless (remember Dahlan) but not very clever; and Israel is equally ruthless & mostly not very clever in dealing w. the Occupation.
You’re only the 400th person to claim that Hamas’ only goal is to destroy Israel. It rings hollow. Hamas is much more interested in pursuing its own objectives regarding Palestine than destroying Israel. In other words, if Hamas only was interested in destroying Israel & had no interest in keeping Gaza’s lights on they wouldn’t have run in the legislative elections they won. The problem with Israel is that it fixates on Hamas as a terrorist threat & does nothing to exploit Hamas’ interest in ruling Palestine as a political player.
I didn’t say only. Hamas has a few other goals, including the foundation of a religious Islamic state.
Again – I didn’t say only. It’s a matter of priorities, and being willing to sacrifice a pawn (i.e., a few days without electricity) to save your queen (i.e., not succumbing to Israel’s demands). I’m not sure why you’re so bitter about this.
I totally agree with you – as do some notable Israelis that were interviewed on the radio here a few weeks ago.