You know how UNRWA pretends to be non-political and even-handed?
“Everything stops,” says Daulat. She doesn’t just mean the refrigerator, the washing machine and other devices; this Palestine refugee mother means daily life in her neighbourhood of Shajaiya. “Electricity outages paralyze our entire life,” she explains. Since the Gaza Power Plant stopped operating, on 1 November, she’s had to change her entire routine: “I sleep when the electricity is off, and I wake up when it’s on.”
Power outages are something that Gaza has dealt with for years. Israel’s restrictions on the amount of fuel Gaza could import, together with supply from Egypt not always being reliable, meant regular cuts for homes and businesses, hospitals, schools and even basic infrastructure.
But after several years, the shortages have finally grown so severe that the plant can no longer operate at all. Blackouts now last for an average of 16 hours a day. With the essentials of daily life compressed into only a few hours, it is no wonder that Gaza and its residents – young and old, women, men and children alike – are tense and anxious.
UNRWA knows very well that Israel has nothing to do with the Gaza fuel shortage. That is why a close reading shows that the article doesn’t blame Israel directly – it cleverly uses past tense when it refers to Israeli restrictions on fuel (in 2009, for example, the old Nahal Oz terminal/pipeline was sometimes closed because of terror attacks.)
But by mentioning Israel as the only named party that has ever restricted fuel to Gaza, and purposefully omitting any reason for current fuel shortages, the article gives readers the impression that Israel is restricting fuel today, and that Egyptian fuel supplies are merely unreliable. This is a clearly deliberate deception.
UNRWA purposefully doesn’t mention the Egyptian blockade on Gaza and closure of the tunnels that provided fuel, the Hamas disagreement with the PA over payments for fuel, and Hamas using Gazans as hostages to get a better price for fuel, or even Hamas’ conscious decision years ago to rely on smuggled Egyptian fuel rather than get it from Israel. No, according to UNRWA, the only possible guilty party is Israel – as always.
So UNRWA manages to give the reader the impression that the Gaza fuel problems are primarily Israel’s fault – without technically lying. That takes skill, an overarching desire to blame Israel for everything, as well as a deep desire to hide the truth of Hamas’ complicity in Gaza misery from the world.
This is hardly non-political. This is pure, planned deception. Israel should lodge an official protest against UNRWA’s deceit.
UNRWA did not respond to my request for comment.