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Some people will tell you that Gaza is the most crowded place on
earth. Actually, Tel Aviv is much more densely
populated than Gaza.

The first modern Hebrew city, not quite 100 years old, has already
managed to cram almost 400,000 residents into its 51.8 square kilometers. This
makes Tel Aviv more densely populated than Hong Kong or Singapore, which in
turn are much more crowded than Gaza. (A note on comparative crowding
appears below, at the end of this post.)

The other night at the seder, we sang loudly and made other noise. Some
20 of us, representing three generations, sat around a ping-pong table
covered with white tablecloths in a central Tel Aviv backyard and sang
Passover songs. No neighbors complained about the noise. From time to time, we
could hear singing from other buildings.

A guest at the table remarked that nowhere but Israel would you hear
voices from house after house, all singing the same traditional songs. Whether
ornot this is the case, it is true that sounds from apartments can be
heardaround the neighborhoods of Tel Aviv, especially in the mild months
when windows are open. In a one-block stroll, you may hear my neighbors
playingpiano, various woodwinds, drums or electric guitar.

A trumpet player in the neighborhood used to walk down to the
Mediterranean at night to find an empty place on the beach where he could play
without an audience. One afternoon he was playing at home, fooling around with
some improvised passages, and another trumpet answered from elsewhere in
the neighborhood. The windows were open, and a fellow trumpeter had
overheard his experimentation. He never found out who the other, unseen musician

The beach no longer offers much solitude at night. Tourists and local
people in growing numbers visit the beachfront after dark. A cafe on a
northern stretch of beach now stays open around the clock.

Even the rooftops of Tel Aviv don't provide much privacy. One recent
day, a musician stood alone on a roof in the next block, playing jazz on a
saxophone. Attracted by the sound, I listened from the rooftop where I
live, 75 meters away.

It was a special event. I have heard this saxophonist perform with
groups in concert halls, festivals, night spots and other venues. In years of
living in the neighborhood, I had never seen him up on the roof before. If he
had gone up there in search of privacy, he picked the wrong place.

A telephone rang and I went inside to answer it. When I got back
outside moments later, the music had stopped and the other roof was empty. I
don't know if the saxophonist had noticed that he had an audience, or whether
he simply had finished what he wanted to play. I wonder if others in our
crowded city got to enjoy his rooftop solo, too.

--Joseph M. Hochstein, Tel Aviv


A note on crowded places

The canard that Gaza is the most crowded place on earth continues to

The UK politician George Galloway wrote in The Glasgow Record last
that the Gaza Strip is "the most densely populated piece of earth on
planet." Galloway wrote that 1.5 million Palestinians live there.

Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist currently teaching at
wrote March 26 that Gaza is "one of the most densely populated places
earth, with 3,823 people per square kilometre." Kuttab's figure is in
with recent Gaza population estimates of 1.4 million.

If Galloway's estimate of 1.5 million Gaza population is correct, this
almost 4,200 people per square kilometer. The Central Intelligence
projects that the Gaza population will reach 1,537,269 in July. This
bring the density to 4,270 people per square kilometer.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong have more than 6,000 people per square
kilometer. Tel Aviv has more than 7,000 people per square kilometer. If
count the suburbs of Tel Aviv, the metropolitan area with its
population of
2.3 million has a density of more than 5,000 people per square
which is considerably more crowded than the Gaza Strip as reckoned by
Galloway or Kuttab or the CIA.

Selected estimates of population density:

27,209 people/sq km

24,000 people/sq km

Tel Aviv
7,445 people/sq km
(385,000 people, 51.8 sq km)

Hong Kong
6,352 people/sq km

6,252 people/sq km

5,100 people/sq km

Tel Aviv metro area including suburbs
5,050 people/sq km
(2.3 million people, 453 sq km)

4,900 people/sq km

4,750 people/sq km

4,300 people/sq km

Gaza Strip per CIA projection

4,270 people/sq km
(1,537,269 population July 2008, 360 sq km)

Gaza Strip per George Galloway

4,167 people/sq km
(1.5 million people, 360 sq km)

Gaza Strip per Daoud Kuttab

3,822 people/sq km

The numbers for London, Tel Aviv metro area, Moscow, Tokyo/Yokohama
Warsaw are from the City Mayors site.

Subject: Melanie Phillips - The moral battleground


  And so now begins the second and most difficult stage. Inside Israel,
there is both determination and dread as tens of thousands of Israel's
conscript army are called to the front. Untold numbers of these soldiers
will lose their lives as the result not merely of the genocidal aims of
Hamas (and its Iranian puppet-master) but also the indifference and
pusillanimity towards Palestinian terror displayed by world governments
over the past six decades of Israel's fight for survival, along with the
active encouragement of genocidal Islamists by leftists, Jew-haters,
Muslims and useful idiots who were on such thuggish display yesterday in
the co-ordinated demonstrations in British and other western cities.
  Such people have made no protest at the bombardment of Israeli towns
by more than 6000 rockets in the past six years, deliberately targeting
innocent civilians. They have made no protest at the way Hamas has used
Gazan civilians as human shields, situating its murderous arsenals
beneath apartment blocks, in schools and hospitals and mosques in order
to maximise the numbers of civilians killed (in order to manipulate
all-too pliable western opinion). No, their protest only starts when
Israel finally takes the military action aimed at stopping this
genocidal barrage. 

  The worst thing is the moral inversion, in which the murderous
victimisation of innocent Israelis is ignored while their murderers are
described as 'civilians' when they are finally killed by the Israelis --
who are demonstrably taking care to avoid civilian casualties wherever
possible. Tragically, civilians always die in wars; and unfortunately
there will undoubtedly be more civilian casualties in Gaza - along with
deaths among Israeli troops -- as the war goes on. But the frenzied
misrepresentations, double standards and moral inversion fuelling a
hysteria in the west which in turn can only incite more genocidal
violence are simply depraved.

  Particularly striking in its malice is the way in which the treatment
of wounded Palestinians in Israeli hospitals is ignored - while news of
the barbaric behaviour of Hamas in Gaza's hospitals is airbrushed out of
the picture. At WSJ's Opinion Journal, James Taranto noted that a report
of this scene in a Gaza hospital briefly appeared in the New York Times
a couple of days ago:

    Armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes roamed the halls. Asked
their function, they said it was to provide security. But there was
internal bloodletting under way. In the fourth-floor orthopaedic
section, a woman in her late 20s asked a militant to let her see Saleh
Hajoj, her 32-year-old husband. She was turned away and left the
hospital. Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Hajoj was carried out by young men
pretending to transfer him to another ward. As he lay on the stretcher,
he was shot in the left side of the head. Mr. Hajoj, like five others
killed at the hospital this way in 24 hours, [my emphasis] was accused
of collaboration with Israel. He had been in the central prison awaiting
trial by Hamas judges; when Israel destroyed the prison on Sunday he and
the others were transferred to the hospital. But their trials were

  You won't find that passage now on the New York Times website
because, soon after it appeared, it unaccountably vanished into the
ether. Nor will many in Britain or the west be aware of this:

    Dozens of Gaza Arabs are being treated in Ashkelon's Barzilai
Hospital at the same time terrorists are bombarding the city. The
medical facility, the largest on the southern coast, is in the line of
rocket fire, and medical staff often have to stop caring for patients
and run for cover during air raid warnings. The 500-bed Barzilai
Hospital has close ties with Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, Barzilai deputy
director Dr. Ron Lobel told the Associated Press. 'It might seem
completely absurd, but we have the privilege to be doctors. Our medical
ethics do not distinguish between patients. We treat whoever needs to be
treated,' he said

    One Gaza Arab woman refused to identify herself to AP [Associated
Press] because of fear of retribution by terrorists if it were known
that her two-month-old granddaughter is being treated in an Israeli
hospital. 'I am very sad and hurt. We want peace, not war,' she said as
Israel began retaliating after hundreds of Arab rocket and mortar
attacks, some of them lethal.

  The moral inversion in the west is so egregious, so monstrous, that
the better Israel is shown to behave the worse the vilification that
rains down upon it. What other country in the world would show such
restraint in the face of more than 6000 rocket attacks upon its citizens
- 6000! - that it took seven years before going to war to put a stop to
it? What other country would treat individuals - including proven
terrorists - from that enemy territory in its own hospitals? What other
country would continue to provide essential foodstuffs and other
supplies to those enemies who continued to fire rockets at it? What
other country, when finally forced to go to war to stop the attacks,
would show such concern to avoid the loss of civilian life that it
contacts the population in enemy territory -- even households containing
identified terrorists - to warn them to flee from the imminent
bombardment? And what other country would, for showing such unparalleled
moral scrupulousness, be vilified and libelled as Israel is?

  Israel's behaviour is moral, legal and proportionate. This conflict
is revealing just who is on the side of morality, decency and sanity and
who is not. The President of the Czech Republic, who is also the
incoming president of the EU, has emerged in the former camp, declaring
stoutly that Israel's behaviour is both just and necessary. France's
president Sarkozy, however, has called upon both sides to stop
hostilities - a moral equivalence which effectively gives Hamas victory
by requiring Israel to abandon the defence of its citizens. Similarly in
Britain, Foreign Secretary David Miliband has repeated his call for an
immediate cease-fire - while Prime Minister Gordon Brown, according to
this Telegraph piece, has apparently complained to Israel's Prime
Minister Olmert that

    too many people have died

  Would that be, perhaps, too many Hamas terrorists who have died?
Would Brown have preferred that more of them continued to live so that
they could carry on murdering more Israelis?

  In startling contrast Farid Ghadry, President of the Reform Party of
Syria, has written:

    We Arabs must be the ones to stop Hamas and Hizbullah, rather than
support their demonic and twisted logic of resisting development,
enlightenment, and progress of the region. Even when development and
enlightenment stare them in the face, their instinct is to destroy them
pretending to safeguard their honor, the mechanics of which supersede
all else including a happy life of fulfillment and accomplishments.

    So while we abhor violence of all kind, Israel's campaign against
Hamas must continue to the bitter end not only for the sake of peace but
also to help Arabs realize they have a choice: Destroy like Gaza or
develop like Dubai. Will this happen soon? Maybe not, but if a wake-up
call and a nudge, once in a while, to pierce through the fog of deceit
perpetrated by Syria and Iran is what it takes to see the light, then we
stand by the West and Israel in the only hope that an Arab Renaissance
in the Levant may actually have a chance of resurrection.

  Alas, many in the west don't stand with Farid Ghadry. They stand
instead with Hamas. Whatever platitudes they mouthe, it is clear that
they really don't want Israel to survive at all.

  The moral dividing line in this battle is very clear. Those who stand
with Israel are on the side of morality, justice, and civilisation.
Those in the media and public life who denounce Israel for having the
temerity to defend its people are the fellow-travellers of barbarism.
Having done so much to embolden and strengthen Hamas and Iran, who are
playing them for suckers, they are continuing to stoke the fires of
irrational hatred and genocidal hysteria. As Israeli soldiers die, along
with the Palestinian victims of Hamas whether as 'collaborators' or
human shields, their blood will be on these hypocritical western hands.




Three cheers for Tory MP Michael Fabricant, who says he has been
'horrified and angered' by the BBC's coverage of the Gaza conflict, and
will be making a formal complaint to the Chairman of the BBC Trust about
  While paying scant regard to the provocation of 10,000 rockets fired
at Israeli civilians from Gaza over the last seven years, the BBC has
chosen to broadcast 'human interest' stories reminiscent of salacious
photos in the cheaper red top newspapers. Thus I heard a heart rending
report from a Palestinian in Cyprus how he imagined - yes: IMAGINED! -
Gaza's streets would be running with the blood of dead Arab children.
After that, the BBC located individuals in Gaza who have taken the
opportunity of repeating over the BBC what they have already said on Al
Jazeera. No balance there then. And today I heard an 'unbiased report
from a British aid worker in Gaza, from Islamic Relief'. Oh come on!
  But perhaps the worst interview of all was with the Foreign Minister
of the Czech Republic who dared to suggest that every country has a
right to defend its citizens, that Hamas had walked away from
negotiations, that they had resumed firing rockets into Israel
unprovoked, and that Israel's actions are therefore defensive and not
offensive. The ire and vitriol of the BBC interviewer was extraordinary.
Paxman and Humphreys are pussy cats in comparison. The Czech minister
sounded shell shocked. And so was I.

Presumably, the Islamic Relief worker to whom he refers was Hatim
Shurrab, about whom I wrote here yesterday, pointing out that Islamic
Relief Worldwide was affiliated to Hamas; here  is further evidence of
its links. But Shurrab didn't just pop up yesterday on the BBC. For the
past eight days, the BBC website has been publishing an 'aid worker's
diary' by Shurrab which is chock-full of manipulative rubbish about
conditions in Gaza. So the BBC is putting out systematic pro-Hamas
propaganda (as is the Guardian, which is running Shurrab's 'video diary'
- but nothing new there).

Nor is Shurrab exactly on the side of his Palestinian brothers against
fascist terror. He appears to approves of Hamas killing Fatah
'collaborators', as he said here in 2007:

  One good thing is that Hamas targeted many collaborators who worked
for Israel and committed many crimes - such as killing Palestinians just
because they had beards and blowing up supermarkets and houses linked to

even though

  When Palestinians kill their brothers it is very bad. I have had a
friend killed from such incidents and I know how hard it is.

But not bad or hard enough, apparently, for him to stand against the
killing of Palestinians by Hamas. It's only Israel, of course, which is
the oppressor of his people. Palestinians killing other Palestinians
doesn't count. And this is the person being presented by the BBC day
after day as a neutral observer of the situation in Gaza.

Commendable as is Fabricant's reaction, it is not enough for him to
write to the Chairman of the BBC Trust. The BBC's collusion with Hamas,
along with coverage whose incendiary distortions cannot but have incited
hatred of Israel among its viewers and listeners, should be the subject
of an emergency debate in Parliament. It would be interesting to know
whether the Tory front bench agree with Michael Fabricant -- or think
there is nothing wrong with the BBC's coverage. Those MPs from whatever
party who understand just what is at stake in Gaza for western
civilisation - alas, there aren't many of them but there are some -- and
the deeply alarming role being played in this by the BBC should now
raise the alarm.

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