Ethan Bronner of The New York Times has a classic piece on the opening of a luxury mall in Gaza.
How does one balance the endless propaganda that Gaza is a concentration camp and that Israelis are committing genocide, with the reality that Gaza exceeds most of its Arab neighbors (and even Turkey) in key health measurements?
How does one balance the endless propaganda of mass starvation in Gaza with the reality that there is plenty of food available, and there was plenty of food available long before Israel eased the restriction on civilian imports?
Most of all, how does The New York Times show balance on a subject which almost never is treated with balance by the mainstream media, much less the Islamist-Leftist Anti-Israel Coalition and its blogospheric sympathizers?
Bronner achieves balance through an ingenious slight of argument: The luxury Gaza mall is mostly an act of defiance!
As reported by Bronner (emphasis mine):
Gaza, famous for its misery, has a shopping mall. It opened a month ago to considerable fanfare, with Palestinian television cameras trailing Hamas government officials meandering proudly around the bright new stores filled with imported goods.
For Hamas, and for the Hamas-linked group of local investors behind the enterprise, the two-story mall, with its central air-conditioning and underground parking, has deep symbolic value. It is proof, they say, that despite the Israeli and Egyptian effort to isolate this Palestinian coastal strip, it can develop and thrive. Let the message go out: We will not be defeated….
But the broader point many of these advocates are making — that the poverty of Gaza is often misconstrued, willfully or inadvertently — is correct. The despair here is not that of Haiti or Somalia. It is a misery of dependence, immobility and hopelessness, not of grinding want. The flotilla movement is not about material aid; it is about Palestinian freedom and defiance of Israeli power.
Why not just admit that for years the media has painted a false picture of Gaza?
Compared to Europe, the United States, and Israel, the living standards in Gaza are not high. Gaza suffers for many of the same reasons that neighboring Arab countries suffer: Political corruption, tyranny, Islamist rule, and a host of other factors which have nothing to do with Israel.
The Gaza mall does proves a point, but it is not that Israel is to blame for whatever misery exists outside the walls of the mall.
Rather, the Gaza mall proves what would be possible if the Palestinian political leadership, be it Hamas or Fatah, focused more on improving the living standards of its people rather than the endless war against the Jews.
There is a profound cognitive dissonance in the media when it comes to Gaza. Reality does not jive with the narrative, but the narrative lives on anyway.