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Saturday, October 11, 2014

New York Times Editorial, "Having to Rebuild Gaza, Again": The US State Department Again Has Its Facts Wrong

Remarkably, in an editorial entitled "Having to Rebuild Gaza, Again," The New York Times avoids remonstrating against Israel. Questioning the wisdom of providing billions of dollars to rebuild Gaza "just so it can be destroyed in the next war," the Times observes with regard to a donor conference to be held in Cairo on Sunday:

"Israel has a right to insist that Gaza not be used as a launchpad for attacks against Israelis.

. . . .

The only long-term answer to a destructive militant group like Hamas is to empower moderates and give Palestinians hope of a constructive future that could, in time, include a comprehensive peace settlement leading to an independent state."

However, the editorial also mistakenly states:

"Since 2007, when Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, Israel and Egypt have enforced a draconian blockade that restricts the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza. While the goal is to squeeze Hamas, innocent people have paid a much bigger price."

A "draconian blockade"? In fact, prior to Sisi becoming president of Egypt in 2014, anything and everything, including new cars and long-range missiles, flowed through the hundreds of tunnels leading into southern Gaza. Shipments of cement and steel into Gaza from Israel were of course diverted into the construction of an attack tunnel system intended to be used to infiltrate Israeli border communities.

Who will be representing the United States at the Cairo donor conference? None other than Secretary of State John Kerry, who demanded that Israel accept Turkish and Qatari mediation during the recent Gaza conflict. (Kerry is obviously not concerned if Kurdish-held Kobani falls to the Islamic State during the course of his trip.) In a Voice of America article entitled "Kerry to Cairo for Talks With Abbas on Gaza Reconstruction," Scott Stearns writes:

"Senior State Department officials traveling with Secretary Kerry say the priority here is to address the immediate needs of the people of Gaza, where fighting destroyed the only power plant."

However, as reported by Middle East Monitor in a September 14 article entitled "Gaza's only power plant ready to work pending fuel supply":

"The only power plant in Gaza is now ready to work pending the delivery of fuel supply needed to operate it, CEO of Gaza Electricity Company Walid Sayel said in a press conference Saturday."

Kerry's State Department again has its facts wrong? What a surprise! I have asked the Voice of America for a correction. Let's see if they bother answering.

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