In Gaza, the famine that never was

Meanwhile, the total deaths reported from “famine” in all of Gaza, over the eight months of this war, come to 37, or about one death a week, out of a population of 2.2 million.

By Hugh Fitzgerald, Frontpage Magazine

The world’s media have for months been proclaiming that Gaza is “on the brink of famine,”and that Israel is deliberately preventing food from entering the Strip, that thousands of Gazans are dying of malnutrition.

But there is not now, and never has been, a “famine” in Gaza.

There is, however, a problem with the distribution of food, because once the food trucks enter Gaza, Hamas operatives have been seizing much of the aid for themselves, their extended families, and fellow Hamas members, than is their due.

That misallocation is a different thing. And even with those seizures, enough food is left over to ensure that ordinary Gazans do not suffer “famine.”

More on the “famine” that never was can be found here: “Experts: ICC, UN blamed Israel for a famine that never happened in Gaza – exclusive,” by Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2024:

Columbia University Professors Awi Federgruen and Ran Kivetz have analyzed available data and conducted research whose “findings demonstrate that sufficient amounts of food are being supplied into Gaza,” they noted in a summary of their findings presented to The Jerusalem Post.

They note that it is “a myth that Israel is responsible for famine in Gaza.” They argue that the International Criminal Court and UN have joined Hamas in blaming Israel for a “famine that never was, hoping to stop the war [in Gaza].”

The two professors spoke to the Post in early June and they provided an abstract and details about their findings regarding the issue of famine in Gaza.

Professor Awi Federgruen is the Chair of Columbia University Business School’s Decision, Risk and Operations Division. He is an expert in supply chains, logistics, and data science.

Ran Kivetz is the Philip H. Geier Professor at Columbia University Business School. He is an expert in decision making, including the intersection between behavioral economics and political science.

The two experts noted that the ICC has sought arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The ICC claimed that Israel is “causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies [and] deliberately targeting civilians in conflict,” they note in their abstract.

The two professors dispute this.

They examined the “hard data, available from such sources as COGAT [Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories] and the UN,” they note.

Federgruen and Kivetz’s research and findings demonstrate that sufficient amounts of food are being supplied into Gaza.

According to their research they “demonstrate that 250 truckloads suffice to feed the entire Gazan population, in accordance with a normal diet in North America.”

Hamas fired rockets at the Kerem Shalom crossing on May 5, killing five soldiers and causing the border to be shut briefly.

However, the supplies have resumed since then. “Israel intends to increase it further to the 400-500 truck/day level. Further, Israel regularly halts offensives for 4 hours a day to facilitate these deliveries,” they note….

Israel has now announced that it will call a halt to all military activities during a daily pause in fighting between 8:00 and 19:00 local time — that is, for 11 hours every day — along a key route running north from the Kerem Shalom crossing point, where aid is waiting to be delivered.

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Israel has continued to let in hundreds of truckloads of food each day — now up to 350, a figure which the IDF is working to increase to 500 aid trucks a day — through both the Kerem Shalom and Erez Crossings.

Food could also come through the Rafah crossing, but Egypt — not Israel —insists on keeping that crossing closed. Both the Israelis and the Americans have tried, so far to no avail, to persuade Egypt to open the Rafah crossing to aid trucks.

Is it too much to ask reporters, instead of repeating without any investigation the claims that there has been, or there is about to be, a “famine” in Gaza, that they examine the COGAT and UN data?

We keep hearing about a “famine” that is about to take place in Gaza, but it never happens. And there is even less of a chance of it occurring now that about 350 trucks laden with food are now entering Gaza every day loaded with food.

The meticulous studies showing that there is no famine won’t stop much the world’s media from continuing to blame Israel for a nonexistent “famine” in Gaza.

But some may be shamed into looking at the data compiled by experts in food security and nutrition, and begin to report on exactly how much aid has been entering Gaza, thanks to Israel, and noting that it is Hamas operatives who have been seizing aid off the trucks, taking far more than they deserve.

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Meanwhile, the total deaths reported from “famine” in all of Gaza, over the eight months of this war, come to 37, or about one death a week, out of a population of 2.2 million.

That is many times fewer per capita than those who die of hunger every day in the United States. Keep all that in mind, as you read these hysterical accounts of the “famine” in Gaza.