Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One More Post on Gaza

Ralph Kostant has a few further observations on Gaza:

The Palestinians have told the world how much they suffered during the Israeli occupation of Gaza. It is unquestionable that the Gazan economy suffered during the post-Oslo Intifada, when so many Gazan Arabs were cut off from their former jobs in Israel. But, beyond that, Israel has not infrequently even been accused of conducting physical and cultural genocide against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Since Israel left Gaza only a few weeks ago, surely those terrible living conditions, the virtual holocaust, that the Palestinians supposedly have endured must still be very much in evidence. Indeed, some Palestinian leaders have argued that Israel continues to occupy Gaza, because, citing security, Israel has not yet allowed reopening of the Gaza airport and free shipping into Gaza ports.

One would naturally think that any young Arab woman with a choice between living in the virtually occupied, Israeli-ravaged Gaza, or the proud, long independent and sovereign Arab nation of Egypt, would never choose Gaza. Imagine my surprise, then, to read in today’s Jerusalem Post that over 100 Arab women have smuggled themselves into Gaza from Egypt, since Egypt took over policing of the border. The reason--they are looking for a better life. Here are some excerpts:

  • Some of the men [who married the Egyptian brides] were already married and had decided to take a second or third wife after discovering that Egyptian families were eager to send their daughters to a relatively better life in the Gaza Strip, the source added.

  • One of the brides, who identified herself as Samira, said she agreed to marry the man she met only hours earlier "because this was an opportunity that should not be missed." Samira, 28, lived with her family in Al-Arish."In Egypt, it's very difficult for a woman my age to get married because I'm considered too old," she said. "Moreover, the economic situation in Egypt is not as good as in the Gaza Strip."
My word, could it possibly be that the terrible suffering of Gazan Arabs was overstated for propaganda purposes? It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Palestinian self-rule in Gaza to bring Gaza down to the economic level of Egypt.

Ralph B. Kostant

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