Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gaza And West Bank: Human Rights Activism For Poets

Palestine is the best-kept secret in the aid industry
Emily Williams, an American project manager at a medical NGO

And now doubt it will continue to stay a secret.

This Week In Palestine gives us a description of life in the West Bank and Gaza, where we are constantly told life is unbearable--"and has all the comforts that internationals want":
While the vast majority of ex-pats living here genuinely believe in the cause of liberation, it is far from the only reason for our mass invasion. Since the International Solidarity Movement was established in 2001, over 200 NGOs have sprung up in the West Bank and Gaza.
Over 200 NGOs have been established in the West Bank and Gaza. Those numbers are no doubt an indication of the harsh life that Arabs experience on a day-to-day basis in the territories.

Right?

Not exactly.

Their presence is proof of how favourable Palestinian conditions have become.

“Palestine is the best-kept secret in the aid industry,” I am told by Emily Williams, an American project manager at a medical NGO. “People need field experience and Palestine sounds cool and dangerous because it can be described as a war zone, but in reality it’s quite safe and has all the comforts that internationals want. Quality of life here is so much higher than somewhere like Afghanistan, but we don’t tell anyone so that we are not replaced or reassigned.” [emphasis added]
Sort of Human Rights For Poets--That's right: why tough it out in Sudan or Ethiopia when you bring home a kaffiah from Gaza and impress your friends with what a great humanitarian you are!
That quality of life is becoming rapidly more apparent in the “A” areas. In cities like Ramallah and Nablus, expensive restaurants and high-powered financial institutions are common now. Nightlife and entertainment is expanding to cater for international tastes.
This admission comes on the heels of another admission last month--by Mathilde De Riedmatten, deputy head of the ICRC's sub-delegation in Gaza who clearly stated that "There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza":
If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach. The problem is mainly in maintenance of infrastructure and in access to goods, concrete for example
In De Riedmatten's case however, she was told to back down:
Gaza: no end in sight to hardship and despair

Mathilde De Riedmatten, deputy head of the ICRC's sub-delegation in Gaza, talks about the situation in the coastal enclave and about how ordinary Gazans manage to carry on with their daily lives.

How would you describe the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip today?

The ICRC is concerned about the fact that the 1.5 million people in the Strip are unable to live a normal and dignified life. Almost no one can leave the Gaza Strip, not even to go to the West Bank, where many Gazans have family or previously had work.
Because those in the know what to make sure that Palestine remains "the best-kept secret in the industry".

Hat tip: AH

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