The most interesting aspect of the Guardian/AP report on Oct. 17, ‘Israel used calorie count to limit Gaza food during the blockade,’ in addition to the extremely misleading headline, is that there is little if anything in the story which demonstrates that Israel did anything improper whatsoever.
However, as we’ve seen time and again, the mere absence of information pointing to Israeli villainy is often no obstacle for Guardian editors.
Though Israel maintains a legal blockade on Gaza to prevent deadly weapons from entering the strip, thousands of tons of supplies for Palestinians in Gaza arrive weekly from Israel, aid which includes medical supplies, food, and consumer goods, and there is simply no humanitarian crisis to speak of in the strip.
However, the Guardian, in classic propagandistic style, begins by employing the requisite photo of a Palestinian boy crying,
Yet, the strap line begins to provide a clue that there is, in fact, no real story here:
Unpacking this strap line, it seems to acknowledge that Israel was careful to “avoid” civilian malnutrition in Gaza.
So, what exactly is Israel’s crime?
The report begins, thus.
“The Israeli military made precise calculations of Gaza’s daily calorie needs to avoid malnutrition during a blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory between 2007 and mid-2010..” [emphasis added]
So far, we have a story corroborating Israeli claims that, since the blockade was launched, Israeli officials were careful to allow in enough food to avoid malnutrition.
Again, what is Israel’s crime?
Here’s where it gets strange:
“Israel says it never limited how many calories were available to Gaza, but critics claimed the document was proof the government limited food supplies to put pressure on Hamas.
Major Guy Inbar, an Israeli military spokesman, said the calculation, based on a person’s average requirement of 2,300 calories a day, was meant to identify warning signs to help avoid a humanitarian crisis…” [emphasis added]
The average recommended calorie intake according to the UK National Health System is 2500 for men and 2000 for women, indicating that Israel was making sure they supplied Gaza with enough food for Palestinians to consume the the calories necessary for proper nutrition.
So, what’s Israel’s crime?
Indeed, further in the report, Israel is again vindicated.
“The food calculation, made in January 2008, applied the average daily requirement of 2,279 calories per person, in line with World Health Organisation’s guidelines, according to the document.
“The stability of the humanitarian effort is critical to prevent the development of malnutrition,” the document said.
Further in the report, we learn the following:
“…at no point did observers identify a food crisis developing in the territory, whose residents rely heavily on international food aid.” [emphasis added]
Ok, in summary:
Israel maintained a blockade of deadly weapons sent to the Hamas run territory to protect their citizens from harm, but carefully avoided a humanitarian crisis from developing in the enemy territory by ensuring the availability of the recommended number calories as determined by international health organizations.
Again, I ask, what’s Israel’s crime?