How to Market Gaza as a Complete Success Story

If you want to cut through the morass of misinformation being disseminated about the siege of Gaza, you should read Gaza Gateway – a website created by Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.

GG presents essential information on Gaza Strip border crossings by carefully monitoring the amount of traffic that Israel allows to pass through.  They also provide critical background information, such as the amount of goods allowed through relative to the needs of the population of Gaza.

I particularly recommend GG’s latest post – an ironic piece they call “How to Market Gaza as an Israeli Success Story: The Complete Guide.” It was apparently inspired by a recent report by the Government of Israel that summarized Israel’s “humanitarian activities” for the Gaza Strip in 2009/2010.

Here’s a taste:

Take things out of context. When you say that, “41 truckloads of equipment for the maintenance of the electricity networks were transferred”, you do not need to mention that those spare parts were waiting for many months for clearance, and that, at the end of 2009, the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company reported that 240 kinds of spare parts were completely out of stock or had dipped below the required minimum stock. Likewise, “There was a significant increase in the number of international organization staff entering the Gaza Strip” does not require explanation that, were the productive sector in Gaza not almost completely paralyzed, so many aid workers would not be needed and the number of aid recipients would not be so high. You also don’t need to explain that the high number of staff you quote might be misleading, since it’s likely you are counting individual entrances and not unique visitors (the same international aid workers enter and exit multiple times per month).

Demonstrate impartiality. Present the transfer of 44,500 doses of swine flu vaccine as having nothing to do with you. There is always a chance people will forget it is a border-transcending epidemic and that the head of the Gaza District Coordination Office himself said an outbreak in Gaza would endanger Israel.

Make it look like you are paying the bill. Use vague language such as “In 2009, Israel continued to supply electricity to the Gaza Strip”. Count on the fact that most people don’t know that Israel charges full payment for the electricity by deducting the amount from the VAT and taxes it collects for the Palestinian Authority via import into its territory.

And here’s a PS on my last post:

The Associated Students of UC Berkeley met Wednesday evening to debate and vote on whether or not to override their Presidents veto of the divestment resolution. After a marathon nine hour session, the vote came up short. As the evening ended, they voted to table a final vote on the bill. So it’s stay tuned…

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