Friday, August 27, 2010

Gazans Get Another Chance On Greenhouses

Daylife is running the following photo and caption obtained from Getty Images:
Palestinian women dig a pool at a farm, part of a project implemented by the Agricultural Union of Agricultural Work Committees funded by the European Union, in Deir al-Balah, in the centre of the Gaza Strip, on August 10, 2010.
The photo jogged some memories I had of the Gaza disengagement and subsequent activities by Gazans in 2005, so I did a little more digging.

It turns out that the piping you see behind the women digging a pool for agricultural purposes is the remnants of greenhouses destroyed by Gazans following Israel's withdrawal from Gush Katif. Deir al Balah was adjacent to the Israeli community. When Israel forcibly removed its settlement in Gush Katif, the Gazans, instead of using the greenhouses for economic gain, destroyed them and used the area as a launching pad for kassam rocket attacks against Israel.

Now, Gazans are getting another chance to make good on the greenhouses.
Now Gaza Arabs are going to get a second chance to try to recreate the thriving greenhouses of Gush Katif. The United States Agency for International Development is to sponsor a project termed Family Agricultural Greenhouses, which will construct three new greenhouses.

USAID hopes the three greenhouses will support 900 families in the Hamas-run Gaza region.

The project has approval from both the Palestinian Authority and the Israel Defense Forces. Israel is working with USAID to coordinate the transfer of goods into Gaza to complete the project.

Anita Tucker, a former resident of Gush Katif, doubts that the new plan will be successful. Tucker explained that while Gaza Arabs were at one point beginning to succeed in agriculture with help from their Jewish neighbors, the rise of the PA and later of Hamas created a situation in which rival terrorist groups battle for control at the expense of civilians, and ultimately destroy efforts to build local industry.

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