|Look ma! No concrete!|
02 March '15..
Last week's press release from Oxfam was typical:
Rebuilding the Gaza Strip after last summer's war with Israel will take at least a century at the current rate of progress, Oxfam warned on Thursday.
Israel restricts the flow of steel and concrete into the Palestinian territory because Hamas, the radical Islamist movement, has diverted material of this kind to build tunnels and bunkers.
Only 1,677 lorries carrying construction material were allowed to enter Gaza between November and January. The territory needs about 800,000 lorry-loads to repair the physical damage inflicted during the 50-day war between Hamas and Israel last year. At the current rate, this would take about 119 years.
Oxfam urged Israel to allow the unrestricted inflow of building material.
"Only an end to the blockade of Gaza will ensure that people can rebuild their lives. Families have been living in homes without roofs, walls or windows for the past six months,” said Catherine Essoyan, Oxfam's Regional Director. “Many have just six hours of electricity a day and are without running water.”
That last sentence shows that we need to be skeptical about the rest. The "blockade" is not limiting fuel or electricity to Gaza; it is the ability of Gazans to pay for fuel and the infrastructure. Since Oxfam lies about that, their "119 years" figure is probably just as inaccurate.
And indeed it is. In January alone, 15,000 tons of construction material entered Gaza, and assuming a high 8 tons per truck that's about 1900 trucks in one month, a number that is increasing steadily.
Oxfam claims that only 579 trucks of construction materials entered Gaza in all of January. Yet COGAT says that they sent in 140 trucks of construction material on January 27, 243 on January 28 and 173 on January 29 - about the same number in three days that Oxfam claims Israel allowed in an entire month.