-HAMAS: “Israel seeks to destroy tourism in Gaza.” Pull the other leg!

EDITORIAL COMMENT

Gaza

Gaza’s minister of tourism calls on international societies and groups to “have a humanitarian position” and work on saving tourism in Gaza.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2010 –  So says the Gaza government’s minister of tourism in a statement issued today to mark World Tourism Day.

The Maan News Agency report that  Muhammad Ramadan Al-Agha said Israel’s devastating war between December 2008 and January 2009 destroyed Gaza’s tourism sector.  Al-Agha said  “we will work to develop tourism in spite of all challenges,” as the Palestinian people ” are still proving everyday with their insistence to live.”

The Gaza minister called on international societies and groups to “have a humanitarian position” and work on saving tourism in Gaza.

What he failed to mention was a report published yesterday by Xinhua,  the Chinese news agency. We quote:

Militants raided tourism facilities and set fire to a restaurant in the outskirts of Gaza city on Sunday, which is the third such attack this year. Alladein al-Araj, a board member of Gaza Crazy Water resort, told Xinhua that about 40 militants stormed the resort, broke its front gate by force, and injured several guards. The militants set fire to a restaurant, the management offices and a three-floor building,  he added. It is an awful attack to obstruct the development of tourism in the Gaza Strip, al-Araj said. . .

Crazy Water Park, before and after. Click on image to view the video

Crazy Water resort was destroyed as tensions between the owners of restaurants, coffee shops and hotels and the government of Hamas rose following the government’s harassment actions against the tourism facilities.  The most recent action of the Hamas government is the closure of an restaurant on Gaza city’s seaside.  An order signed by the director of the Hamas police in Gaza was sent to the hotel’s management, saying the restaurant would be closed for three days “because the management of the hotel was not abide by the terms and laws which prohibit mixture between males and females and holding parties.”

Over the past couple of months, the Hamas government, which has been ruling the Gaza Strip since June 2007, has closed several tourist facilities in the enclave allegedly saying that those places “are violating the customs and traditions of the conservative Palestinian society.

“Such kind of harassment, mainly storming and closing a number of tourist facilities by the internal security forces of the Hamas government, has affected the business of our hotels and restaurants,” Abul Kheir, a member and founder of the Palestinian Corporation for Hotels and Restaurants, told Xinhua.  Abul Kheir, said he is shocked by the way the Hamas government deals with the development of tourism in the Gaza Strip by carrying out a series of disturbing actions.

“The justifications for such harassment are contradict with the law,” he said, adding that “this would completely undermine the development of tourism in the Gaza Strip and cause severe harm to the owners of restaurants and coffee shops.”

An order signed by the director of the Hamas police in Gaza was sent to the hotel’s management, saying the restaurant would be closed for three days “because the management of the hotel was not abide by the terms and laws which prohibit mixture between males and females and holding parties.”

The Hamas government decided early this month to close the Gaza resort of “Crazy Water”, which was built several months ago, for three weeks, shortly after a singing party was held there.

As someone once said, “Remember the Old Traveler’s Saying: You may lose your money and your health and your sanity and some important organs, but they can’t take away your travel memories unless they hit you hard on the head.”

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(Photo credit: Merehetoric)

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