Wednesday, January 8, 2014

So, did you see the malls in Gaza?

Daniella Peled
A clothing store in Gaza.
It must be comforting for right-wing agitprop trolls to picture Gaza as a seaside holiday camp bursting with glitzy malls.
"So did you see the malls?" That was one of the first questions an Israeli asked me, half-an-hour or so after leaving Gaza, as I sat having coffee in the service station near Yad Mordechai last week.
Ah, the Gaza malls. That phenomenon beloved of right-wing bloggers and the hasbara machine, who like to report glitzy openings in the beleaguered Gaza Strip, beach volleyball matches and shops bursting with fine foods. According to this trope, Gaza is more akin to a seaside holiday camp than a vast open-air prison.
I was sorry to disappoint my questioner. Obviously, I didn't see the most famous - or rather notorious mall – the one the Israel Defense Forces used as to illustrate a blog post (which was then quickly edited) from last August which sneered at the supposed humanitarian crisis in Gaza. That one was actually in Kuala Lumpur.

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