Gaza Hoaxes: Hamas Staged Power Outage Photos; Reuters Willingly Participates. And Where is All That Money Coming From?
Palestinian journalists reported that on at least two occasions last week, Hamas staged scenes of government ministers and legislators working by candlelight. As reported by Khaled Abu Toameh in the Jerusalem Post:
In the first case, journalists who were invited to cover the Hamas government meeting were surprised to see Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his ministers sitting around a table with burning candles.
In the second case on Tuesday, journalists noticed that Hamas legislators who were meeting in Gaza City also sat in front of burning candles.
But some of the journalists noticed that there was actually no need for the candles because both meetings were being held in daylight.
To create the dramatic effect of darkness requiring candlelight, Hamas had closed the curtains in the rooms. Unlike the Palestinian journalists who reported this story, Reuters (surprise) willingly played along with the Hamas hoax and published photos of the Palestinian government ministers and legislators working by candlelight. Here is one of the photos that Reuters published:
The caption for the photo read:
Palestinian lawmakers attend a parliament session in candlelight during a power cut in Gaza January 22, 2008. Israel agreed to allow some fuel, medicine and food into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Tuesday, at least temporarily easing a blockade that has plunged much of the territory into darkness and sparked international protests. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA)
Other Reuters hoax photos can be seen here at the Reuters website and here at StandWithUs. Reuters, of course, is the same news service that was compelled by alert bloggers to confess that it had published "Photoshopped" bogus photographs during the Summer 2006 Lebanon War, as recounted here. It seems that Reuters continues to enthusiastically offer itself as a tool of Arab Islamofacist propaganda.
And while we are on the subject of Gazan hoaxes widely carried by the news media, remember all those stories about how the Israel blockage was impoverishing Gazans. This article by the Associated Press, carried online in the International Tribune in August 2007, was typical. "Gaza faces economic disaster if blockade continues, U.N. official warns," read the headline, and the article went on to say that the Israeli blockage was "exacerbating poverty among the 1.4 million residents of the already impoverished territory."
So if things were so bad and everyone was so impoverished, how does one explain the shopping spree in El Arish, Egypt by an estimated 350,000-500,000 Gazans (one-fifth to one-third of the total population of Gaza) this past week, all of whom were paying for their goods in cash? Typical was this Los Angeles Times story from January 25, recounting how "Palestinians by the tens of thousands continued to flow across in a mass, joyous shopping binge given urgency by months of isolation." The following day, the L.A. Times recounted the touching story of a 25-year old Gazan merchant who had paid $5000 for five Chinese-made motorcycles, which he intended to resell in Gaza at a 10% markup. Keep in mind that these people were paying cash for their purchases, at premium prices and despite exploitative currency exchange rates. Neither the L.A. Times, nor Time Magazine, in its similar report, thought to ask from where all these Gazans, allegedly so imporverished by the Israeli economic blockage, were getting their cash hoards.