Gaza: Prison or the new Hong Kong?

Disclaimer: The writer has never been to Gaza nor Hong Kong and relies on reports and information presented by others that are all available on the Internet for anyone to check out for themselves.

Credit: slideshare.net

Both countries have large population densities, places for rich and poor, and a tourist trade.

Israelis living in Gaza left in August 2005 in a “disengagement” plan by Prime Minister Sharon. This plan was to solve a demographic issue arising from a single state and it was also seen as putting on hold the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Although there was compensation some were forcibly evicted. The UN considers that the Gaza Strip is under military occupation by Israel but that is disputed. However the IDF controls 6 of the 7 land crossings, the air and maritime space, and Gaza is dependent on Israel for water, electricity, and other utilities. Rulers of Gaza maintain a hostile attitude, sometimes with each other (Hamas and Fatah) but mainly with Israel. Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip began in 2001 (hence the blockade after disengagement) and around 20,000 rockets have hit southern Israel by August 2014.

The West Bank wall stopped suicide bombing by Palestinian protestors entering Israel and it is likely that the Gazan border control works like that as well. The above is a very short summary as I see it.

All that seems to indicate that “prison conditions” exist for Gazan’s but more accurately it works both ways as people would be faced with the same barriers if they wished to visit Gaza or the West Bank. Israelis are not permitted to visit the West Bank, nor Gaza, although tourists can.

So what is life like in the “prison” of Gaza?

You can find slums and beggars in any city so let’s look at the prosperous areas. For tourists, you can find information on TripAdvisor. An example:

No prize for guessing why Boban found the ArcMed hotel “Empty and cold”. Other reviews posted reflect a variety of experiences and they might be better than you would expect from an “imprisoned” country. How about shopping?

Al jazeera created a video, for Arab consumption, and this has been posted with subtitles by MEMRI on Feb 2018. I fancy that it compares well with other big cities and it must have been filmed at a time when electricity was switched on. But does it reflect an “imprisoned” country?

Could it be that the iron control by Israelis is beginning to divert resources from non-productive terrorist activity (rockets and tunnels) to economy building? Is it too much to expect Gazan rulers to understand that they really could be the Hong Kong of the Mediterranean?

Probably.

 


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