|Riots in Gaza|
The Palestinians, though divided between Hamas-ruled Gaza and Fatah-ruled Ramallah, are holding protests in both places against both their governments Tuesday, March 15.
DEBKAfile's military sources report that Israel's military and police are on the highest state of preparedness lest the demonstrators storm out of Palestinian towns on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and rampage against nearby Israeli communities and towns.
Our sources report intelligence that some of the organizers of the Palestinian Day of Range are planning to use the opportunity to cross into Israeli territory en masse and provoke Israeli forces into opening fire and so flash images to the world media of Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians taking part in the Arab Revolt.
The demonstration called to take place in the main square of Ramallah is provisionally expected to draw tens of thousands with the potential for igniting disturbances in the Palestinian towns and villages abutting Israeli locales.
As in Tunisia, Egypt and the early stages of the uprising in Libya, there is no information about who exactly is pulling the wires behind the calls for Palestinian demonstrations appearing on Internet channels. They are widely attributed to students at the universities and colleges of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Hamas government in Gaza City claim that they have initiated the protests. This claim is dismissed by our Palestinian sources as false since the rallies are primarily directed against both their regimes which have no control over these events.
The dominant slogans will condemn the rift between Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and the fundamentalist Hamas, with calls for the Palestinians to reunite. Banners will also denounce corruption in the West Bank regime headed by Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the Gazan government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
Hamas staged its first pro-unity demonstration in Gaza City Monday to steal a march on Fatah.
The 767-word article reported that second-hand clothes are auctioned after being shipped in from Israel. “The cheap second-hand clothes are a boon for the poorest residents in Gaza, where the flow of imports is restricted by Israeli regulations,” according to AFP.
The news agency told readers that “although Gaza is now receiving more goods from Israel, the market for cheap, second-hand clothing hasn't disappeared,” implying some kind of connection with the non-embargo second hand stores, which appear all over the world, many of them run by charitable organizations.
“There are no restrictions whatsoever on clothes or other non dual-use items," Coordination and Liaison spokeswoman Nili Aharon told Israel National NewsMonday. Israel also supervises the daily shipment into Gaza of tons of and general merchandise.
The AFP feature tried to shift the focus of the problem from the non-existent embargo to poverty, which is a function of unemployment, stating that besides the supposed “restrictions by Israeli regulations.” United Nations figures show that unemployment stands at 45.5 percent. The fact is that Gaza is booming, as can be seen by photos of hotels, restaurants, markets and beach resorts, but the unequal distribution of wealth leaves many in poverty, especially those who are Fatah and not Hamas supporters.
“Before the embargo, I sold second-hand clothes to customers who were looking for certain brand names, but the number of customers has gone up enormously since the blockade because more people are unemployed or poor,” one vendor was quoted as saying.
The feature article made no mention of the unprecedented economic in growth in Gaza during the Israeli “occupation,” when tens of thousands Gaza residents worked for Gush Katif farmers and for Israeli construction firms. Before 1967, Gaza was poverty stricken under the rule of Egypt, which systemically ignored Gaza's society and .
Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Cairo has rejected any suggestion it shoulder responsibility for the crowded Gaza region, a major drug and weapons trafficking center.
After the outbreak of the Oslo War, also known as the Second Intifada, in 2000, massive terrorist attacks against Israelis put an end to employment of most Gaza Arabs. Following the Hamas militia's coup four years ago, when it overwhelmed the rival Fatah faction headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the economy plunged further into a deep recession.
Israel then imposed a blockade to prevent the continuing smuggling of hundreds of tons of explosives for suicide bombs and the flow of advance weapons, including long-range missiles, many of them smuggled from Iran and Syria.
Although shopping at second-hand clothes is common, if not sometimes fashionable, in Israel and around the world, among the poor but even among middle-income families, AFP featured the Gaza second-hand market as it were out of the ordinary.
As for the used clothes coming from Israel, buyers pointed out that new clothes shipped into Gaza also are made in Israel.
These are screenshots from an Al Jazeera English report on the "Gaza siege."