The first community is in Gaza. It is made up of Palestinians who, since 2005 when the Israelis withdrew, have seen civil war, a take over by Hamas, and economic and living conditions that have experienced no significant change or sign of improvement. Instead of rebuilding and improving their infrastructure, they have repeatedly seen their building materials and limited funds used to smuggle arms and buy rockets which are then fired into Israel. As a result, the Israeli armed forces put a blockade and strangle hold on all of Gaza, afraid to allow even the import of basic construction materials for fear they will just be used to kill Israeli citizens. The only area of real success for this community has been in the area of public relations and influencing world opinion. They have successfully gotten their image in front of the world audience who has seen them as victims of Israeli aggression and suppression. Huge amounts of money has found its way into the Gaza, only to be swallowed up by entitlements and by more arms purchases and smuggling efforts.
Now let’s talk about the second community. It is called Halutza and it is located on a barren strip of dessert along the Israeli / Egyptian border. It is composed of about 180 families that were settlers in Gaza and were also uprooted by the Israeli withdrawal in 2005. They used the money, given to them by the Israeli government for the land and businesses they lost, to buy the remote piece of dessert to make a new start. They piped in desalinated water from the Mediterranean Sea, shipped in fertilizer to mix with the sand and soil of their new land and with a lot of hard work they now have an income of $50 million dollars annually exporting organic potatoes, carrots and other produce.
Two communities, living in near proximity, who both started with nearly nothing 5 years ago amidst economic chaos. One had money from the homes they lost; the other had had money from a sympathetic world. One has prospered, the other has languished.
Why is there such a dramatic difference in the outcomes of these two communities? One obvious answer lays in the Israeli blockade. The first group suffered severe restrictions that stifled their improvements while the second group were free to build and work without impediment (except, of course for the missiles fired into the community from the Gaza). This important difference certainly goes a long way in explaining the obvious disparity –but then, does it really? I find myself asking: What would have happened in 2005 and during the ensuing years if the first group had not used their time and money to buy arms, smuggle weapons or fire rockets at the Israelis? What would conditions be like in Gaza if Hamas had not been “voted” into power and the Israelis had not felt the need for the blockade (and the closing of the southern border by Egypt)?
I do not know, but it certainly makes me stop and wonder and wish people would just follow ‘ole Rodney King’s advice for us all to see of we just can’t get along here for a while…. It just might make life a lot better for everyone.
Today is "Flag Day" in the United StatesFlag Day, is a day for all Americans to celebrate and show respect for our flag, its designers and makers. Our flag is representative of our independence and our unity as a nation....."one nation, under God, indivisible". Our flag has a proud history. It has been at the lead of every battle fought by Americans. Many good people have died protecting it. ---It even stands proudly on the surface of the moon.
As Americans, we have every right to be proud of our culture, our nation, and our flag. So raise the flag today and every day with pride!
On a Lighter Note:
And Then another one for Margaret: