For the last two weeks, we know that you have been diligently following the Gaza Crisis–which seems to re-ignite every two year with a confluence of triggers–accelerated into a series of surgical strikes resulting in 77 percent “unintentional” targeting of civilian death, according to a UN report. Note that these surgical strikes are justified by military strategists for its “precision”. As a result, there are economic, social, and human costs associated with the Gaza strikes, and now ground invasion by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which started Thursday, July 17th. But you don’t have to take our word for it; below include assessments by others who have clearly stated all this before we blogged about it. Omar Baddar writes for Salon on the human costs that continue to grow with disproportionate use of violence by state military campaigns.
Source: Deutsche-Welle, Germany
The conflict has so far cost Israel’s defense budget more than a billion shekels, some 200 million euros. Eitan Avriel of the business magazine “The Marker” suspects that the army will reclaim this money from the government.
There is also the additional expenditure on emergency programs in support of people living in the southern parts of the country. For instance, parents receive compensation for the loss of earnings resulting from their staying at home to care for minor children, as almost all summer camps in areas located in the vicinity of the Gaza strip have remained closed due to rocket attacks.
With just 15 seconds of warning time before a rocket strikes, it would be almost impossible to bring large groups of children into safety in time.
Less consumption, less tourism
“The government has already allocated 400 million shekels to support the communities living along the border with the Gaza Strip,” says Eitan. However, the greatest loss is the decline in the gross national product, he stressed, pointing out that consumption has virtually halved.
In the nation’s south, it completely collapsed, Eitan noted. “While in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Sderot sales have fallen by 60 to 70 percent, the area around Tel Aviv saw consumption drop by a third. At the same time, public transport has seen a loss of 20 percent,” said the journalist on Israeli television.
The tourism industry was particularly badly hit, says Yossi Fatael of the country’s tour operators association. Around 40 percent of the sector’s revenue is generated in the summer season.
“But we are incurring huge losses as new tourist bookings have totally stopped and there have been many cancellations,” he explained. That’s why we have approached the government and requested it to provide assistance to the industry, said Fatael.
Curtailing consumer protection
Employees who are not currently working should not be dismissed from their jobs, but rather undergo training and other skills development programs. But in order to implement such programs, employers are looking for government support.
Yossi Fatael argues that easing of consumer protection laws would also help. “For instance, a new law stipulates that we pay compensation in case of flight delays or cancellations,” says Fatael, demanding a suspension of the law.
The tourism industry also calls on the government to provide an alternative airport as the international Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv has become a target for Hamas and came under its rocket attacks. In case of such attacks, flights are diverted to either Jordan or Cyprus, said Fatael, demanding that the government should instead divert them to the rarely used Uvda airport in the Negev, 60 km north of Eilat. [Click Deutsche-Welle, Germany to continue.]
Social & Political Costs
The social and political costs associated with the crisis ultimately go back to credibility: how much political capital are attacking forces spending in the name of military force? Watch this to see how media coverage represents how a country puts its credibility on the line. Video link if not working below, forward to Minute 5…
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Human Cost Outlined by PITAPAL, Omar Baddar
The civilian death toll in Gaza is immoral and unacceptable — and it’s time to talk honestly about all of it.
How commonly is the alleged moral superiority of the Israeli military invoked? So commonly that if you type “the most moral army in the world” into Google, you’ll immediately get a bunch of articles discussing the Israeli “Defense” Forces. Just last week, Slate’s William Saletan argued that while Hamas fires rockets at civilians, Israel takes “pains” in its “exemplary” efforts to avoid harming Palestinian civilians. The New York Times’ Steven Erlanger didn’t “argue” that Israel takes major precautions to avoid harming civilians, he seemed to be taking it as a given when he wrote Gazans were anxious about airstrikes “no matter how carefully Israel tries to target them.”
Despite the fact that the Palestinians are an occupied, besieged and oppressed population that lacks the capability to defend itself against systemic and daily Israeli violence, Hamas’s insistence that Israeli civilians are legitimate targets is morally indefensible, and should be condemned by all people of conscience. But according to what evidence is Israel’s conduct better? And how can it possibly be better when Israel has advanced surveillance capability and laser-guided weaponry, but has still managed to kill more than 150 Palestinian civilians (including 40+ children) in Gaza, compared to just one Israeli death in this latest round of violence? Instead of taking Israel at its word, let’s look at the take of credible observers. [Click here to continue.]