UPDATE (Friday lunchtime):
Lauren Booth's actions have dramatically backfired. Her claim that Gaza is one big concentration camp or as bad as Darfur rings hollow when she is photographed buying a Snickers bar in a well-stocked shop. Some of the commentary: "not even a useful idiot", "because everyone needs a little 3 o'clock pick-me-up when you are trying to rescue the oppressed!", "yes we have no Hamas...er Hummus", "the shelves were not quite so well-stocked as Bergen-Belsen".
It also appears that she is being economical with the truth about her forced stay in Gaza. Lisa Goldman writes:
In an interview with PJM, Ms. Booth says she has tried three times to leave Gaza — once via Erez Checkpoint, which leads into Israel, and twice via the Rafah border crossing into Egypt. She was turned away by both the Israelis and the Egyptians, but told me she holds Israel solely responsible for her predicament. I pointed out that both a senior IDF spokesman and several well-informed Palestinian journalists confirmed that Israel has “zero control” over who crosses the Rafah border. In other words, perhaps Egypt was at least as responsible as Israel for forcing her to remain in Gaza. This elicited an angrily dismissive response from Ms. Booth, who claimed that “high up sources told her” that Israel is pressuring Egypt into keeping her trapped in Gaza. She would not reveal the source of her information, nor did she explain how it would serve Israel to have her stay indefinitely in Gaza.(Read the rest of this excellent report, from an Israeli leftist who opposes the blockade of Gaza.)
The Egyptians have controlled the Rafah border, keeping it mostly sealed, since Hamas took power in June 2007, following a bloody civil war with rival Fatah. EUBAM-Rafah (European Union Border Assistance Mission) pulled its multi-national monitoring staff out of Gaza immediately after Fatah was routed, in accordance with the EU’s policy of no contact with Hamas. A skeleton staff of 18 remains “on standby” in the Israeli town of Ashkelon. Spokeswoman Maria Telleria said that the EU is “not involved in Rafah border decision in any way right now.” According to Ms. Telleria, the Egyptians have opened the border crossing 60 times since June 2007. Most recently, Egypt’s President Mubarak ordered the border open over the two days preceding Ramadan, which is when Ms. Booth tried to cross and was turned back.
But, as they say, a lie is half-way around the world before the truth gets its shoes on - and, in the age of the internet, the velocity of lies seems to have increased.
More blog links: Footprints: Weather Changing, Fred Stopsky, Jewlicious, Elder of Ziyon
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Keywords: Lauren Booth, Gaza.