Experts: ICC and UN blamed Israel for a famine that never happened in Gaza

‘We found that the food supply entering Gaza is more than sufficient to feed all 2.2 million Gazans according to what is considered a normal diet in North America”

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN  JUNE 18, 2024 16:38

Trucks deliver humanitarian aid over a temporary pier on the Gaza coast, May 18, 2024(photo credit: US ARMY CENTRAL/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

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.

ICC issues arrest warrants

The two experts noted that the ICC has sought arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, on the grounds that Israel is “causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies [and] deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.”

The two professors examined the “hard data, available from such sources as COGAT and the UN” and note 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.”

An Israeli soldier stands guard as a truck carrying humanitarian aid makes its way to the Gaza Strip at Erez Crossing in southern Israel, May 5, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

Hamas fired rockets at the Kerem Shalom crossing on May 5, killing five soldiers, which briefly shut down the border. However the supplies have resumed and “Israel intends to increase it to the 400-500 trucks per day level. Furthermore, Israel regularly halts offensives for 4 hours a day to facilitate these deliveries.”

“Nevertheless, food is not consistently distributed inside Gaza,” they note and point to reports that suggest that food aid is sabotaged and stolen by Hamas. They argue that “the ICC, the UN, and the international community should blame Hamas,” which started the war by mass slaughter, rape and kidnapping.

Misinformation on Gaza

THE EXPERTS ARGUE that mainstream media organizations have distorted information from Gaza, framing Israel. “In fact, the mainstream media keep vacillating between (false) allegations that Israel is causing famine, is perpetrating genocide, and is sabotaging hostage deals with Hamas. Such a defamatory narrative is intended to end the Israel-Hamas war at all costs, including a Hamas victory, a bleak future for Gazans and Israel, and an endless cruel captivity for the hostages and their families.  The false famine narrative has also been exploited by the ICC, ICJ, and UN to support their unjustified rulings and actions against Israel.”

Federgruen and Kivetz maintain that claims relating to famine in Gaza can be traced to problematic reports. For instance, “in March 2024 an organization called the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an arm of the UN, issued a report predicting the advent of a major famine in Gaza provoked by Israel. That IPC report was cited by OXFAM, which accused Israel of ‘making deliberate choices to starve civilians’ and claimed (without any substantiation) that a group of North Gazans were subsisting on as little as 245 calories per day.”

The two say they followed the data closely since the beginning of the war. “The hard data on food supplies are not difficult to obtain. Our analysis is based on data from COGAT, as well as reports and data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report… a totally different picture from what the ICC and UN are trying to paint, and directly refute the baseless claims that Israel is causing a famine or using starvation as a method of war.” COGAT is the IDF coordination unit that is responsible for dealing with aid entering Gaza. It also publishes information on the amount of aid entering.

Rafah crossing closure

Aid that enters Gaza through Israel, especially after Egypt closed the Rafah crossing on May 8 “is in Israel’s hands because Israel is the major force that controls what comes into Gaza.  Once the food enters Gaza, however, the supply chain is no longer under Israel’s control, as the food is taken over by NGOs, the UN, and interventions by Hamas,” the academics note.

They note that their calculation of sufficient food entering Gaza is based on each truckload carrying 20 tons of food. This means that 250 truckloads provide five million kilograms, about 2.25 kg. per person in Gaza. “This is almost identical to the 2.36 kg. of food per day that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the average individual consumes in North America.”

Each Gazan provided 3,374 Kcal per day

The professors note that “our findings have been recently independently corroborated by a working paper written by researchers from Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, University of Haifa, Ben-Gurion University, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and The Israeli Health Ministry. The conclusion of that paper is that every Gazan was provided 3,374 Kcal a day, while only 2,100K cal is needed.”

While enough aid is entering Gaza, they note that it may not always be distributed to people due to other factors, such as war and Hamas control. “We can say with a high degree of professional confidence that if there was a famine somewhere in Gaza, it is not instigated by Israel. To the contrary, Israel is engaged in a variety of efforts to ensure that sufficient food enters Gaza through land crossings,” they assert.

Their data examination joins a growing body of evidence against claims of Gaza famine. However, Israel will continue to be blamed for what is occurring in Gaza, even if Israel is not to blame for the failed distribution of food. Hamas not only appears to hijack aid trucks but benefits from pushing the famine narrative by leveraging these claims to pressure Israel to stop the fighting.

June 21, 2024 | 1 Comment »

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  1. Since for all intents and purpose, (93%) or virtually all Gazans are Hamas, we are feeding our enemies.

    Starve them, one and all.