Last year, George Will famously noted the irony that Turkey was sponsoring the Gaza Flotilla at a time when Gazans enjoyed higher life expectancy and had better health than Turks. Seizing upon his observation, as this year’s convoy prepares to sail from Turkey and ports in Europe, I decided to check the statistics this year. The point is not to argue Gaza’s diplomatic situation is good, but to pretend there is a humanitarian tragedy under way in Gaza is simply counter to reality.
Below, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, are all the countries and territories with a lower life expectancy than the Gaza Strip, which today enjoys a life expectancy of nearly 74 years, well above the world average of 67. Gazans born today can look forward to a longer life than those born in:
Malaysia, Thailand, Bulgaria, Seychelles, Jamaica, El Salvador, Estonia, Armenia, Montserrat, Grenada, Latvia, Egypt, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Peru, Samoa, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Palaua, Marshall Islands, Philippines, Micronesia, Trinidad and Tobago, Moldova, Indonesia, Fiji, Belarus, Bahamas, Greenland, Guatemala, Cape Verde, Honduras, Iraq, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, North Korea, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Belize, East Timor, Bolivia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Guyana, India, Russia, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Nauru, Burman, Tubalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Comoros, Yemen, Madagascar, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Togo, Cambodia, Eritrea, Laos, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Djibouti, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Kenya, Burundi, Guinea, Bostwana, Rwanda, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Niger, Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, Gabon, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Somalia, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Guinea-Bissau, Swaziland, Chad, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Angola.
As for infant mortality, here are the countries with a higher rate than Gaza, a territory which again falls well below the world average of 41.61 deaths per 1,000 live births:
Angola, Afghanistan, Niger, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Republic of the Congo, Liberia, The Gambia, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Pakistan, Swaziland, Comoros, Uganda, Burundi, Benin, Guinea, Cameroon, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Laos, Senegal, Cambodia, Yemen, Lesotho, Djibouti, Haiti, Sao Tome and Principe, Kenya, Togo, Madagascar, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Gabon, Burma, Ghana, India, Vanuatu, Namibia, Nepal, Bhutan, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Iran, Bolivia, Iraq, Eritrea, Kiribati, Tajikistan, East Timor, Mongolia, Guyana, Tuvalu, Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago, Morocco, Maldives, North Korea, Cape Verde, Guatemala, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Micronesia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Marshall Islands, Paraguay, Samoa, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Peru, Belize, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Vietnam, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, Libya, Ecuador, Philippines, Armenia, Solomon Islands, Suriname, and Mexico.
Unemployment is a problem in Gaza, but then again, Hamas has been in charge for five years. Still, Gazans are better off than those in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kenya, or Nepal, among many other countries.
Inflation in Gaza is less than that in Albania, Lebanon, Kuwait, the Philippines, Mexico, Jordan, Bulgaria, Greece, Hong Kong, Tunisia, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Hungary, Iceland, Brazil, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, India, Iran, Egypt, Yemen, and Pakistan, among many others.
There are more cell phones in Gaza than in Lebanon, Latvia, Slovenia, Bahrain, Cyprus, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Belize. And there are more internet users in Gaza than in Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Bolivia, Kuwait, Ghana, Lebanon, Estonia, Panama, Cyprus, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Armenia, Iraq, Libya, Cambodia, and Botswana.