Fancy Restaurants And Olympic-Size Pools

Fancy restaurants and Olympic-size pools: What the media won’t report about Gaza
Special to the National Post  May 25, 2010
By Tom Gross

In recent days, the international media, particularly in Europe and
the Mideast, has been full of stories about “activist boats sailing to
Gaza carrying desperately-needed humanitarian aid and building
materials.”

The BBC World Service even led its world news broadcasts with this
story at one point over the weekend. (The BBC yesterday boasted that
its global news audience has now risen to 220 million persons a week,
making it by far the biggest news broadcaster in the world.)

Indeed the BBC and other prominent Western media regularly lead their
viewers and readers astray with accounts of a non-existent “mass
humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.

What they won’t tell you about are the fancy new restaurants and
swimming pools of Gaza, or about the wind surfing competitions on Gaza
beaches, or the Strip’s crowded shops and markets. Many Palestinians
in the West Bank and Gaza live a middle class (and in some cases an
upper class) lifestyle that western journalists refuse to report on
because it doesn’t fit with the simplistic story they were sent to
write.

Here, courtesy of the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, is a report on
Gaza’s new Olympic-sized swimming pool . (Most Israeli towns don’t
have Olympic-size swimming pools. One wonders how an area that claims
to be starved of water and building materials and depends on
humanitarian aid builds an Olympic size swimming pool and creates a
luxury lifestyle for some while others are forced to live in abject
poverty as political pawn refugees?)

If you pop into the Roots Club in Gaza, according to the Lonely Planet
guidebook, you can “dine on steak au poivre and chicken cordon bleu”.

The restaurant’s website in Arabic gives a window into middle class
dining and the lifestyle of Hamas officials in Gaza. And here it is in
English, for all the journalists, UN types and NGO staff who regularly
frequent this and other nice Gaza restaurants (but don’t tell their
readers about them).

And here is a promotional video of the club restaurant. In case anyone
doubts the authenticity of this video, I just called the club in Gaza
City and had a nice chat with the manager who proudly confirmed
business is booming and many Palestinians and international guests are
dining there.

In a piece for The Wall Street Journal last year, I documented the
“after effects” of a previous “emergency Gaza boat flotilla,” when the
arrivals were seen afterwards purchasing souvenirs in well-stocked
shops. (You can also scroll down here for more pictures of Gaza’s
“impoverished” shops.)

But the mainstream liberal international media won’t report on any of
this. Playing the manipulative game of the BBC is easy: if we had
their vast taxpayer funded resources, we too could produce reports
about parts of London, Manchester and Glasgow and make it look as
though there is a humanitarian catastrophe throughout the UK. We could
produce the same effect by selectively filming seedy parts of Paris
and Rome and New York and Los Angeles too.

Of course there is poverty in Gaza. There is poverty in parts of
Israel too. (When was the last time a foreign journalist based in
Israel left the pampered lounge bars and restaurants of the King David
and American Colony hotels in Jerusalem and went to check out the
slum-like areas of southern Tel Aviv? Or the hard-hit Negev towns of
Netivot or Rahat?)

But the way that many prominent Western news media are deliberately
misleading global audiences and systematically creating the false
impression that people are somehow starving in Gaza, and that it is
all Israel’s fault, can only serve to increase hatred for the Jewish
state ­ which one suspects was the goal of many of the editors and
reporters involved in the first place.

Tom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday
Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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One Response to “Fancy Restaurants And Olympic-Size Pools”

  1. lilo97423 Says:

    Maybe, if they they spent their money feeding their children instead of buying weapons, they wouldn’t have the problem.

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