A week after they descended like locusts on the greenhouses that Jewish settlers nurtured in Gaza, looters continue to pillage what should be a prize asset for a fledgling Palestinian state. And the Palestinian Authority appears powerless to stop them. When a Daily News correspondent visited abandoned Jewish settlements in Gaza, he found brazen vandals dismantling farms that once produced some of the world’s finest tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.
The now-gutted greenhouses were gifts to the Palestinian people from U.S. philanthropists, who raised $14 million to buy them from departing settlers. “We thought it was a chance to show the Palestinians that there were more benefits from cooperation than confrontation,” Daily News chairman and publisher Mortimer B. Zuckerman said. “I’m just sad that they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces….It’s almost inexplicable.”
At the former Katif settlement, a Palestinian soldier said looters made off with most of the metal support beams and even stole the plastic and canvas coverings that protected the vegetables from the hot sun. In Neve Dekalim, there were no soldiers to stop Samir al-Najar and his eight-man crew from demolishing a half-acre greenhouse.
That’s what you get when you throw pearls before swine.