Celebrating Left-Wing Videos of 'Forsaken' Victims of Israel's Anti-Terror Gaza Blockade
Ethan Bronner's "Gaza Journal" for Wednesday, "Putting Long Lens on Lives In Suspended Animation," used video footage gathered by a left-wing Israeli "human-rights" group to paint a glowing picture of the Palestinians "forsaken" by Israel's blockade targeting of "the Hamas government."
Hamas is the anti-Israel terrorist group Hamas that runs Gaza, having violently disposed of the more moderate rule of Fatah (Bronner does not identify Hamas as a terrorist group).
In the year since Israeli fighter jets and troops invaded this coastal Palestinian strip to stop rocket fire, time seems to have stood still. A blockade imposed by both Israel and Egypt to isolate the Hamas government bars the vast majority of goods and people from moving in or out. That means there is no reconstruction of destroyed buildings. Thousands remain homeless. Winter has arrived.
With humanitarian aid staving off hunger and disease, perhaps the hardest part for people here is the feeling of having been forsaken. The economy is closed down and the exits have been shuttered; a pall of listlessness hovers.
But there are thousands of stories in the wake of the war and in the face of the blockade. The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem decided to do something about getting them out, especially to an Israeli audience. Months ago it distributed video cameras to 18 young people in Gaza and set them up with an instructor and Web guidance. The assignment: tell us about your lives.
"The idea was to help people there communicate their struggles to Israelis, to combat the fear and stereotypes," said Sarit Michaeli, spokeswoman for B'Tselem. "They are an hour's drive from Tel Aviv but so much farther for most Israelis."
The result is a series of short subtitled videos on a variety of topics: working in the smuggling tunnels from the Egyptian Sinai, how the wounded are doing, a profile of a girls' soccer team.
Bronner, who has a history of one-sided reporting from Gaza, ended with this purportedly heartwarming anecdote:
One of the most interesting videos brings viewers inside the smuggler tunnels through which most consumer goods are brought into Gaza. Young men are asked why they work there, and they explain that there is no other source of work. They add that they always pray before going down into the tunnels because there are so many accidents and deaths inside them.
The maker of that video, Rifaat Hamdia, 30, said he wanted to show the world that the tunnels many think of as dedicated to Hamas arms smuggling are actually the source of basic goods like cooking oil and detergent.
Mr. Hamdia went into the tunnels while filming and knows them well. He also has another reason to feel special attachment to the tunnel network: his bride from Jordan was recently smuggled through one.
But couldn't the tunnels be both a source of cooking oil and weaponry? That's what a less naive reporter at Reuters found:
Weapons and a wide range of commercial products are smuggled into the territory through a network of tunnels crossing the border with Egypt.