The rabidly reactionary and yet remarkably well read blogger Guido Fawkes (aka Paul Staines) dipped below even his usual standards today when he published a blog entitled, “Why Not Holiday In Gaza This Year.”
The blog opened saying:
‘The IDF are good at lot of things, not least social media. This week they are releasing new images of ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and just how bad the conditions are in the “open prison camp”.’
It then showed this collage of photos:
The blog, whilst rightly criticising some of Hamas’ discriminatory (and frankly horrific) policies makes appalling light of a truly horrific situation.
Take the term ‘open prison camp’ for example. It has been used to describe the on-going crippling blockade of Gaza. These restrictions have contributed towards 80% of those living in Gaza being reliant on humanitarian aid.
“Because of the blockade on Gaza, people are sealed in to a small strip of land and unable to flee. Our partners working in Gaza have stressed that it is not safe to move around in Gaza right now”
This blockade, according to the International Red Cross is punishing the population of Gaza for the actions of the few which constitutes one of many violations of International Humanitarian Law committed by Israel. They state:
“The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.”
I tried to pick Paul up on some of this tweeting:
When Paul responded saying:
It was clear that he was either ignorant of the nature and severity of the blockade or, and perhaps more likely, trolling.
As such, my suggestion to Paul would be this: fly to Tel Aviv (for you can’t fly to anywhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territories), tell immigration you are planning a beach holiday in Gaza, then let us know what your experience of the following 12 hours is.
This might serve as the basis for a follow up blog, on your “Why not holiday in Gaza?” article.
If that doesn’t help, you could always read the UN’s July 2013 up-date on the restrictions in Gaza.
UPDATE: It looks like some of the photos used are not even of Gaza. Awkward.