* Below: New photos of Gaza from the Palestinian press and from the UN, of the kind the Western media are very reluctant to publish.
GAZA AS SEEN IN THE PALESTINIAN PRESS LAST WEEK
[Note by Tom Gross]
The first set of photos below appeared last weekend in the Palestinian-run and owned Gaza publication Palestine Times. The link to these and further photos in The Palestine Times is at the end of this dispatch, followed by some other photos of Gaza just posted by the UN on the official UNRWA website.
This is not the image of Gaza you will have heard about again today, in report after report on BBC World Service radio, or in the lengthy article that dominated most of page 2 of today’s International Herald Tribune (the self-billed “Global edition of The New York Times”.)
(That IHT/NYT “news report” had the audacity repeatedly to liken the well-off American and European political activists on the forthcoming Gaza flotilla with the Auschwitz survivors on the Exodus. Two readers wrote to say it was one of the most sickening comparisons they had ever seen in a supposedly respectable newspaper.)
Below is the real Gaza, the territory that the British Prime Minister (misled, it is now acknowledged, by BBC reports) called a “prison camp”. (The Palestinian media may have considerable faults, but on the issue of covering everyday Palestinian life, they are more honest than many Western journalists, whose prejudices against Israel get in the way of their objectivity.)
Meanwhile, the media continue all but to ignore places where there really is a humanitarian catastrophe, such as North Korea, where a new report has revealed that 650,000 people are on the verge of dying through starvation, and emaciated women and children lie sprawled on streets throughout the Communist state.
-- Tom Gross
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PHOTOS FROM LAST WEEKEND, A TYPICAL SUMMER WEEKEND IN GAZA
Tom Gross adds: Previous dispatches have shown the shops and markets and swimming pools, restaurants, toy shops and candy stores of Gaza – all illustrated by photos taken from the Palestinian media itself.
Another shopping mall is to open soon in Gaza. It will include cinemas, Western-style coffee shops and boutiques carrying international brands such as Armani, Ralph Lauren, Polo and Tommy Hilfiger.
These photos from last weekend continue to show Palestinians enjoying their time on clean beaches, horse-riding, sailing, smoking water pipes and barbequing.
You can see these and more photos here, at The Palestine Times.
(Of course, life in Gaza could be better still if the government there engaged in a little more good governance rather than concentrating their efforts on procuring thousands of weapons to use against Israel.)
NEW UNRWA PHOTOS OF GAZA
(Photos below, courtesy of UNRWA’s press department.)
GAZA’S CHILDREN PARACHUTE INTO RECORD BOOKS FOR THIRD YEAR IN A ROW
In a press release, the UN agency UNRWA reports (on June 30, 2011) that “Gaza’s children stormed into the Guinness Book of World Records for the third year straight today, as they broke the record for the world’s biggest parachute game.”
“3,520 children playing with 176 parachutes, more than doubled the record set by pupils at Plymstock School in Plymouth, England on 4 April 2006, when 1,547 children played with 58 parachutes. International witnesses were on hand to count, including two judges in charge of signing the official statement on behalf of Guinness.”
Record-breaker Haitham El Ghoul, 12, said: “We have been training every day for more than 10 days. I’m so happy with what we have achieved today. And I am most happy because the children of Palestine get another mention in the Guinness book of records. I was confident that we would succeed, and feel so proud of our achievement.”
“When we were raising the parachute up it felt like we were raising the name of Gaza and Palestine up to the sky,” Yumna Jarbou, 14, said. “This is the first time I ever took part in breaking a world record – and it felt so good.”
In 2009, children in Gaza broke the record for the most number of kites flown simultaneously, while last year they not only broke their own kite record, but set a new record for the number of basketballs bounced simultaneously.
Their next attempt at a world record will be on July 14, when more than 2,000 children will compete for the record for the highest number of footballs dribbled simultaneously.
-- Tom Gross