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December 19, 2005

Blaming Israel for Gaza Woes, Margaret Coker Ignores Palestinian Opinon

In a Dec. 18 story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reporter Margaret Coker discussed the situation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip following Israel's pullout. But, judging by a poll released one day earlier, Coker's article misses the pulse of the Gaza public.

Her article, entitled "Palestinians see little to give hope," strongly suggests the supposed lack of hope is due to Israeli measures:

In August, the Israeli government evacuated Jewish settlers and soldiers from Gaza, a move greeted with fanfare both by Palestinians and the international community for the potential to change daily life in the territory.

But Jarjoun says that despite hopes to the contrary, the forecast for Gaza hasn't brightened.

"Gaza isn't different. We still struggle each day," said Jarjoun, an agricultural worker who lives in his family's house near the rubble of what until August was the Morag settlement. "We don't see Israelis, but they control our future just like always." ...

Israel controls Gaza's outlets to the world, except for the Rafah pedestrian border crossing with Egypt, which Israel allowed open two weeks ago ...

Gaza's economic success still relies on the Israelis. ...

In the past, the Israelis have closed [the Karni crossing into Israel] for days without notice because of security concerns. A Palestinian suicide bomber once smuggled himself out of Gaza through the crossing.

Closures mean that truckloads of produce rot or spoil long before reaching market. ...

"Usually, businessmen can work out a deal amongst themselves, but this case of exports is political. There is nothing we can say to force the other side's compliance," said Yousef Abu Sultan, the senior finance and investment analyst for the Palestinian Economic Development Corp. "If the Israelis don't let it through, then we'll have no choice but to dump the harvest into the sea and say goodbye to millions of dollars."

Ironically, Coker's article, which argues that Gaza Palestinians lack hope and blame their situation on Israel, comes one day after publication of a Palestinian poll showing otherwise. Most Gaza residents are hopeful, the poll shows, and most of them blame the Palestinian Authority—not Israel—for the chaos and lawlessness that surely harms the Palestinian economy.

According to the poll, 73 percent of Gaza residents feel "optimistic" or "very optimistic" toward the future. And 57 percent blame the Palestinian Authority's "poor performance" for chaos and lawlessness, vs. only 7 percent who blame Israel.

Posted by GI at December 19, 2005 01:51 PM


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