At least twenty-two people, including at least seven children, were killed — burned to death — when a fire broke out and engulfed an apartment in Gaza. The third-floor apartment was situated in Jabalia, a Gazan refugee camp.
The family had gathered to celebrate the birthday of one of the children. And then tragedy struck. The fire broke out, and the apartment was quickly consumed by flames.
Israel did not set the fire. There was no helicopter raid or drone strike. There was no smart bomb launched from a sub in the Mediterranean Sea.
The cause of this fire, this senseless tragedy, was carelessness. Most probably, it was the result of gasoline or kerosene or gas that was being stored in their apartment. In Gaza, residents store fuel for their kerosene heaters. They store gas for their stoves. They store gasoline for their cars.
Fires that burn so quickly and rip through an apartment so thoroughly need accelerants.
Gaza is run by — is controlled by — the terror group Hamas. Israel and Egypt have both closed their borders to Gaza. They've been closed for years because Hamas repeatedly dispatched terrorists over those borders to attack Israeli and Egyptian civilians. To this very day Hamas still, regularly, attempts to cross the border by land and sea to perpetrate terror attacks.
As a result of the border closures, there is an energy shortage in Gaza.
Israel— the country Hamas regularly attacks by sea and by land — actually provides significant amounts of electricity for Gazans. Hamas does not pay for the electricity. The Palestinian Authority (PA) from the West Bank pays. And the PA has been defaulting on the payment, leaving Gaza with, on average, only 12 hours of electricity per day.
The situation is worsened by Hamas' attacks on Israel.
In several instances, Hamas rockets destined for Israel have fallen short. Instead of falling inside Israel, the rockets have blown up Israeli electrical stations located in Gaza. These stations are in Gaza to relay and provide significant amounts of electricity for Gaza.
First, they erroneously destroy the electricity stations with rockets that were targeting Israel. Then, Hamas leadership demands that Israel Electric Corporation workers risk their lives and come to Gaza to repair the electric stations.
Chutzpah, I would say.
And of course, Hamas will blame Israel for these deaths.
There are several very interesting points in this story that must be addressed.
Jabalia, the refugee camp, is similar to many other refugee camps. Jabalia is actually a city. Jabalia has many multistory buildings, especially residences like the one where the fire broke out, located on the third and top floor of the new building.
Palestinians call them refugee camps so that people the world over will conjure up an image of people living in tents, in camps, cooking over open fires. In reality, these Gazans live in modern apartments.
Referencing Jabalia as a refugee camp is a propaganda ploy.
Palestinians of Gaza are so convinced of their lie, their narrative is so strong and for them rings so true, that they continue to tell the lie even in their own coverage of the fire. Hamas media referred to the location of this tragedy as the refugee camp, Jabalia.
Interestingly, there has been very little coverage in the international media about this terrible tragedy. Twenty-two people, at least seven children, killed in Gaza should be, one would think, news.
The dead were all buried together. The 21 bodies were wrapped in a Palestinian flag. As if they died as martyrs. As if they died for the Palestinian cause.
The Israeli press in Hebrew, Arabic and English covered the story. The Israeli press is carefully monitored by foreign news desks in every major media outlet in the world. So, they knew what happened — but they chose not to run with it. They decided that it was not a significant story. It yielded very little attention.
It goes without saying that if Israel had mistakenly shot a missile that resulted in the deaths of 21 people, seven of whom were children — or even the deaths of fifteen, ten, or five people — it would have been on the front pages of every major paper. It would have led every broadcast. It would have been the lead on every news website.
This is a prime example of a horrible double standard.
The death of Palestinians is only a story if Israel is responsible for the deaths.
There are many accidents and malfunctions in Gaza that do not merit international attention. Often, terrorists assemble their rockets in their apartments, basements and their garages. Countless innocent deaths have occurred when the bombmakers accidently blow themselves up or when they misfire.
It was calculated that in the previous conflict between Israel and Gaza about one-third of Palestinians died from mishaps and misfires than from Israeli rockets.
Every accidental death is tragic, the death of children and a family decimated even more so. Senseless and tragic.
Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern," a weekly TV program, and "My Chopp," a daily radio spot. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.
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