Winnipeg Free Press Article Misleadingly Suggests Less Food Is Entering Gaza Now Than Before October 7

March 28, 2024

Today, nearly six months into the Hamas-Israel war, which began after the Palestinian terrorist group launched an unprovoked invasion into southern Israel and massacre of 1,200 innocent Israelis, news media outlets around the world routinely claim that Israel is blocking sufficient aid from entering the Gaza Strip.

In his March 25 article in The Winnipeg Free Press entitled: “Food from Mennonite Central Committee arrives in Gaza,” John Longhurst, the newspaper’s faith reporter, fell into this easily avoidable trap and repeated the same misinformation making the rounds around the world.

Longhurst’s article reported on a truckload of food aid from the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) entering Gaza, and wrote that the “time-intensive inspections” by Israel have resulted in “a significant delay in shipping the food,” according to the MCC.

Unfortunately, readers were left without any critical context as to why Israel would be inspecting trucks as they enter Gaza. If Longhurst had provided this background, he could have told readers that Hamas has sought to smuggle weapons into Gaza using virtually every method available to it, including in aid trucks and ambulances.

As a result, ensuring that trucks purporting to be carrying humanitarian aid are delivering just that, and not deadly weapons, is a matter of life and death, a point that went unsaid in Longhurst’s article.

Elsewhere, Longhurst wrote that “before the Hamas Oct. 7 attack in Israel about 500 trucks a day brought food and other items into Gaza. Now it’s only about 160 or so.”

Once again, Longhurst’s article provided significantly misleading information.

While it is accurate that roughly 500 trucks entered Gaza daily before October 7, the vast majority of them were not carrying food or medicine.

In fact, most of them were carrying building supplies, industrial supplies and other materials, and only about 70 trucks per day carried food.

Today, the number of trucks delivering food into Gaza is actually significantly higher, about 126 per day.

However, by failing to point out this enormously significant point – that there is more food being delivered into Gaza now than before the war – Longhurst helped to perpetuate the demonstrably false accusations being leveled against Israel.

In contrast to apocalyptic narratives being parroted in many corners of the news media, pictures and video footage from inside Gaza show that in many places, food is plentiful and available in marketplaces.

Longhurst quoted Bruce Guenther, a representative with the MCC alleging that Israel is guilty of carrying out a “chokehold on delivery of aid” into Gaza, and adding that “it is a crime to withhold aid to civilians…”

However, far from withholding aid into Gaza, Israel is doing precisely the opposite. On the day Longhurst’s article was published, well over 200 trucks filled with humanitarian aid entered Gaza, in addition to 159 tonnes of additional aid airdropped over the coastal territory.

The next day, 258 humanitarian aid trucks entered Gaza, 166 of which carried food, well over twice the amount that was entering the enclave prior to the war.

If there is a shortage of aid within Gaza, the problem is not with what Israel is permitting to enter. Jerusalem approves roughly 98.5 percent of all deliveries, but distributing the aid is often carried out by the United Nations (UN), via UNRWA, its disgraced agency with ties to Palestinian terrorism.

As much as 20 percent of the aid that enters Gaza does not get distributed to those who need it, and video footage has shown armed gunmen commandeering aid trucks. Hamas’ theft of aid, not acknowledged by Longhurst, is evidently quite an open secret in Gaza.

A December video that went viral showed an elderly woman speaking to an Al Jazeera reporter, telling the journalist that Hamas openly steals humanitarian aid to bring into its tunnels. Yet scandalously, this reality has been obscured or otherwise entirely ignored in virtually all news media coverage of the war.

John Longhurst’s March 25 article gave unfettered and uncritical coverage to baseless allegations that Israel is blocking aid into Gaza, all while failing to provide the factual evidence refuting those claims.

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