HRC Op-Ed Published In National Post: The Evidence Is Clear — There Is No Famine In Gaza

One of the most common lies lobbied against Israel in recent months is that Jerusalem has created a famine in Gaza to use starvation as a weapon of war. Humanitarian organizations, news media outlets and United Nations officials have joined the fray, shamefully making claims unsupported by evidence.

One of the most influential studies which presented a doomsday picture was an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report in March, which predicted imminent famine. But in a recent report, IPC found it lacked evidence for such fantastical claims, hardly surprising given Israel is facilitating the transfer of huge amounts of humanitarian aid entering Gaza every day.

In the June 22 edition of the National Post, HRC Executive Director Mike Fegelman was granted space to point out that the evidence is clear — there is no famine in Gaza.


The Evidence Is Clear — There Is No Famine In Gaza

For months, the Hamas terrorist group and pro-Palestinian activists around the world have been claiming that the Gaza Strip is facing an imminent famine and accusing Israel of deliberately starving Palestinians. Yet this scenario never materialized.

Those claims were rarely questioned, and instead were uncritically repeated by far too many pliable news media outlets in Canada and beyond, which jettisoned their journalistic integrity in favour of an easy narrative.

One of the core supporting elements of the famine claim was a report produced in March by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), a United Nations-backed project to gauge food insecurity in various parts of the world that’s partially funded by the Canadian government.

It claimed that a famine was imminent, spurring a senior UN official to opine that the alleged famine was “human-made” and “entirely preventable.” Even supposedly credible humanitarian organizations lazily regurgitated the claims. Except there was never a famine, nor anything close to it.

While the IPC report garnered global headlines in March, in early June, the organization produced a follow-up study that has curiously attracted virtually no media coverage.

The authors of the new study, in sharp contrast to alleging an impending famine, admit that the March report “relied on multiple layers of assumptions and inference, beginning with food availability and access in northern Gaza and continuing through nutritional status and mortality.” The organization has now backed away from predicting an imminent famine.

Those “assumptions and inference,” unsurprisingly, turned out to be poor gauges of what was really happening in Gaza. More food is now entering Gaza on a daily basis than before Hamas’s October 7 massacre, according to a working paper produced by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Columbia University professors Awi Federgruen and Ran Kivetz — experts in logistics, data science and behavioural economics — recently examined the food supply entering Gaza and found extensive evidence that it “is more than sufficient to feed all 2.2 million Gazans according to what is considered a normal diet in North America.”

In the face of irresponsible claims from an International Criminal Court prosecutor, who alleged that Israel is “causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies,” based on little more than ideologically driven hearsay, an examination of the actual humanitarian aid entering Gaza tells a radically different story.

In addition to the aid entering Gaza, there remains plenty of available agricultural land in the Strip. According to the most recent report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, roughly 75 per cent of Gaza’s greenhouses remain intact and most cropland remains usable.

Not only is there a paucity of evidence to suggest there is an ongoing famine in Gaza, there is an overwhelming amount of data showing precisely the opposite: in addition to locally produced food, huge amounts of humanitarian aid enters the territory on a daily basis, thanks to Israel.

While gleaning accurate information from a war zone is admittedly difficult, as noted in the March IPC report, it somehow created clear and confident accusations of an impending famine, which have now been demonstrated to be unsupported by the available evidence.

It is time for the media outlets, government stakeholders, UN officials and humanitarian organizations that accused Israel of creating a famine to henceforth apologize and set the record straight. Silence is complicity.

National Post

Mike Fegelman is the Executive Director of HonestReporting Canada, a non-profit organization ensuring fair and accurate Canadian media coverage of Israel.

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