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Israeli Allegations Regarding Living and Health Conditions in Gaza

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
5th March 2024
Israeli Allegations Regarding Living and Health Conditions in Gaza
Palestinians found bread amid the rubble of a house in Rafah (Getty)

Amidst its ongoing war on the Gaza Strip and the ensuing humanitarian crises, Israel disseminates numerous misleading narratives regarding the living conditions of Gaza's residents. This aims to distort facts and divert global public opinion away from the severe situation faced by the besieged population, who are deprived by the Israeli occupation army of the basic necessities for survival.

Official Israeli accounts, alongside several Arabic-speaking ones, are implicated in disseminating these deceptive narratives. Here, we highlight some of the most prominent examples of these narratives.

Israel Promotes Misleading Information About Gaza’s Bakery Conditions

On February 9, 2024, the official Israeli Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) account on the X platform shared a video claiming that, as of February 8, 15 bakeries in the Gaza Strip would be operational, producing 2 million loaves of various types of bread daily to meet the needs of the Strip's residents.

The account claimed that the number of operational bakeries had increased from 10 to 15 in the last two weeks, allegedly facilitated by COGAT.

However, Misbar contacted journalist Mahmoud Al-Louh, who verified that the footage published was actually from the Al-Sufraa bakery. This bakery is the sole operational one situated on the main public street, known as "Al-Souk Street," in the Al-Nuseirat area and the camp. 

In a statement to Misbar at the time, Ismail Al-Thawabta, the director general of the government media office in Gaza, clarified that only eight bakeries are currently operational throughout the entire Gaza Strip. Among them, two operate partially for no more than 6 hours daily due to the shortage of resources. This contradicts the claim made by Israeli accounts, which asserted that 15 bakeries are operational.

Al-Thawabta reiterated in his statement to Misbar that 148 bakeries had stopped operating since the start of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, and that the occupation had bombed 19 bakeries up to that point.

Israeli Accounts Spread Misleading Information About Gaza’s Bakeries

Gaza Strip’s Electricity Supplies: Selectivity and Misinformation

In an interview with Sky News, Israeli army spokesperson Doron Spielman alleged that numerous Gazans were seen filming scenes of prisoner exchanges during temporary ceasefires. He argued that that the residents of the Gaza Strip seemingly had enough energy to charge their phones while “filming our hostages." He suggested that this same energy might be utilized by them to access and download the map onto their phones to view it.

Is There Electricity Supply in Gaza as an Israeli Official Claimed?

A comprehensive report by Misbar at the time highlighted the difficulties faced in securing electricity for phone charging in Gaza, emphasizing that power supplies had been disrupted since the third day of the war.

Citizens and journalists rely entirely on solar energy to charge their phones, as solar panels are only accessible in certain public institutions, such as hospitals that have not yet ceased operations.

According to the Gaza Electricity Distribution Corporation (GEDCO), the power plant ceased operations entirely on the fifth day of the war after experiencing repeated outages in the initial days.

Misbar also reached out to journalists in Gaza, who confirmed the challenges of charging phones. Citizens from all areas are compelled to travel daily to places where solar energy or electric generators are available, enduring lengthy waits before being able to charge their phones due to the slow charging process from generators.

Journalists’ Testimonies About Charging Phones During the War

In light of these circumstances, Spielman's statements appear to be a misleading fallacy, as they fail to acknowledge the irregularity of phone charging and the impossibility for some individuals to keep them fully charged at all times, despite some citizens using their phone cameras to document events.

Israel Uses Photos of Palestinian Suffering in Gaza as Exculpatory Evidence

Israeli accounts used photos of Palestinian families on the Deir Al-Balah beach, southern Gaza Strip, as evidence that Israel only targets Hamas fighters and takes all necessary measures to protect civilian lives in Gaza.

Misbar investigated the source of the photos and uncovered that they depict Palestinians who have been deprived of access to fresh water and electricity. Consequently, they have resorted to the beach of Deir Al-Balah for bathing, washing clothes, and cleaning utensils with seawater.

Israel has imposed a comprehensive siege on the residents of the Gaza Strip since October 9, 2023. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated at the time, “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel, everything is closed,” describing its inhabitants as "human animals." His statements came after the "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood," during which fighters from Hamas stormed settlements in the Gaza envelope, causing unprecedented human losses to Israel.

In a related context, Israeli accounts on social media shared a photo alleging to depict Israeli occupation soldiers aiding an elderly Palestinian man during his displacement to the southern Gaza Strip.

One of the accounts that shared this photo was the "IsraelArabic" account, which commented that Israeli soldiers adhere to the duties and ethics of divine religions and act based on this noble principle.

The Occupation Army Killed a Palestinian Man After Taking Pictures of Helping Him

At that time, Misbar investigated the fate of the man depicted in the photo leaning on a crutch and discovered that he was 74 years old and that Israel killed him directly after the photo was taken.

A supporting image within the article body

Israeli Allegations Regarding Allowing the Entry of Medical Aid to Al-Amal Hospital

On February 10, Avichay Adraee, the spokesperson for the Israeli army's Arab media, Avichay Adraee, posted on his X platform account two photos accompanied by a claim that Israeli forces allowed more than 20 oxygen tanks and other medical equipment to enter Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army sought to portray itself as supportive of Gaza's hospitals through the publication of these photos, contrasting with the Palestinian resistance purportedly hiding beneath, according to Adraee's claim.

However, the Palestinian Red Crescent clarified in a statement posted on its X platform account on February 11 that an ambulance belonging to the Red Crescent transported 25 oxygen tanks from Nasser Hospital. The statement indicated that Israeli forces requested the ambulance to leave the tanks at the nearest point to the hospital, with the understanding that the Israeli army would subsequently deliver them. However, the hospital only received 21 tanks the following day, implying that the Israeli army confiscated four of them.

the Entry of Medical Aid to Al-Amal Hospital

This refutes the claim that the Israeli army supplies Gaza hospitals with medical equipment. It is noteworthy that Israeli forces raided the hospital, vandalized equipment inside it, and assaulted medical personnel. Nine members of the medical and administrative staff, along with four injured individuals and five patient companions, were arrested.

Misleading Israeli Allegations Regarding Humanitarian Aid in Gaza

The number of Israeli posts promoting misleading narratives about the reasons for the shortage of humanitarian aid in Gaza has increased. The majority of these posts accuse Hamas of stealing aid and obstructing its delivery to the affected people once it enters the Gaza Strip.

Misbar identified a post by Avichay Adraee, which included a footage with a caption claiming "assaulting civilians waiting for aid with batons and blocking the path of individuals trying to move from the combat zone to the west, documenting the lives of residents under Hamas control in Khan Yunis."

Upon closer examination of the video, it is evident that the batons were not used for assault or direct beating but rather to facilitate the passage of trucks to the square. These trucks were loaded with medical equipment destined for Al-Amal Hospital, affiliated with the Palestinian Red Crescent and situated in the heart of Khan Yunis. It is important to note that these trucks did not carry food aid.

The footage contained an unrelated clip that had no connection to the video of the trucks transporting medical aid. This additional shot, filmed in a different location, depicted armed personnel from the security forces.

On the other hand, reports from international organizations and officials have confirmed that the occupation and settlers have obstructed the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

Humanitarian Aid in Gaza

Ofir Gendelman, the Israeli Prime Minister’s spokesperson for the Arab media, shared a visual report on his “X” platform account, released by “BBC Arabic”, regarding the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. The report mentions that the people of Gaza are unable to find food and medicine during the ongoing Israeli war. However, Gendelman commented on the video, claiming that Hamas is pilfering humanitarian aid intended for the Gaza Strip.

When Misbar reviewed UN and international reports on humanitarian aid entering Gaza, it became apparent that Gendelman’s claim was misleading. In a joint statement by the United Nations and 27 other aid organizations published on Thursday, December 7, 2023, it stated that the conditions in the Gaza Strip are “catastrophic and amongst the worst ever witnessed,” cautioning against further deterioration if the ongoing war persists.

These agencies also urged for an immediate cessation of the war and the amplification of humanitarian assistance in Gaza. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) stated that the conditions for delivering humanitarian aid are dire, with its facilities now serving as overcrowded shelters for displaced persons.

UNRWA emphasized the insufficiency of aid to meet the overwhelming needs. Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, highlighted the absence of safe spaces in Gaza, condemning the blatant disregard for the safety of UN facilities hosting displaced people. Ninety of these facilities have been targeted by Israeli bombing during the ongoing war.

In a similar vein, US State Department regional spokesperson, Samuel Werberg, claimed on October 24, 2023, in an interview with Al Jazeera, that Hamas is stealing humanitarian aid given to Gaza Strip people. When asked by the interviewer for evidence to support his claims, he responded that “The rockets coming from Hamas are sufficient to prove his words.” 

However, UNRWA confirmed in a statement issued on the same day that it had received the aid that entered the Gaza Strip from the Rafah crossing, and this was also confirmed by the Palestinian Red Crescent.

A supporting image within the article body

Misinformation Aimed at Inciting the Cessation of Support for UNRWA

On January 26, the U.S. State Department announced the suspension of funding for UNRWA. This decision came following Israeli allegations claiming the involvement of several UNRWA employees in Gaza in the Al-Aqsa Flood operation carried out by Hamas on October 7, 2023, along with other allegations suggesting UNRWA's support for Hamas. This decision also coincided with the escalation of the Israeli propaganda campaign against the agency since the beginning of the war on Gaza.

Furthermore, ten donor countries later announced the suspension of funding for UNRWA due to the same Israeli allegations, including Germany, Britain, and France.

These decisions to hold and suspend funding for UNRWA contribute to further tightening the pressure on the people of Gaza and exacerbate the crises of living conditions in the Strip.

“The suspension of funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) challenges the UN’s capacity to mount an effective response,” Ramesh Rajasingham, Director of Coordination at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva and Director of the Coordination Division, stated at a Security Council session on 27 February. He emphasized that achieving the required level of response would be impossible without immediate and concerted action from the parties concerned, the Security Council, other Member States and the broader international community. Rajasingham warned that a widespread famine in Gaza would be almost inevitable if no relief measures were taken, leading to an increase in casualties.

Misbar refuted a number of misleading claims circulated by Israeli accounts claiming UNRWA’s support for Hamas.

Israeli Accounts Falsely Accuse UNRWA of Supporting Hamas

Upon monitoring various Israeli accounts, media outlets, and non-governmental organizations, Misbar discovered that they persisted in posting accusations against UNRWA without providing precise evidence since October 7, 2023. Official Israeli websites, including those of the Israeli Army and Foreign Ministry, have increased their posts criticizing UN agencies, particularly UNRWA, and charging its employees of involvement in the current war on the Gaza Strip.

Misbar also revealed the involvement of two international organizations, UN Watch and NGO Monitor, in disseminating inaccurate information that aligns with Israeli narratives intended to sever support for UNRWA. According to an extensive investigation by the Palestinian Return Centre, the funding sources of these two organizations were found to be a network of far-right, pro-Israel, and anti-Islamic organizations, as evidenced by scrutiny of American tax records.

International Organizations Publish Inaccurate Reports About UNRWA Aligning With the Israeli Narrative

UN Officials Warn of Famine in Gaza

The United Nations website published a report entitled “United Nations officials before the Security Council: One quarter of Gaza’s population is one step away from famine” following a session held by the Security Council on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, under the agenda item “Protecting Civilians in Armed Conflicts.” The session was dedicated to discussing the issue of food insecurity in Gaza.

UN officials warned in the report that at least 576,000 people in Gaza, equivalent to one-quarter of the population, are “one step away from famine.” Additionally, they highlighted that one in every six children under the age of 2 in northern Gaza suffers from sever malnutrition and wasting.

UN Officials Warn of Famine in Gaza

During the session, Ramesh Rajasingham, Director of Coordination at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva and Director of the Coordination Division, warned that despite the bleakness of the current situation, the possibility for further deterioration remains. He pointed out that military operations, insecurity, and restrictions on the entry and delivery of essential goods have led to the destruction of food and agricultural production.

He also addressed the warning from food security experts regarding a potential complete agricultural collapse in the northern Gaza Strip by next May if current conditions persist. This collapse could occur due to damage, destruction, or inaccessibility of fields and production assets. He pointed out that many individuals have been compelled to abandon productive agricultural lands due to evacuation orders and recurrent displacement.

He mentioned that food production in the Gaza Strip has effectively halted due to ongoing hostilities and a shortage of critical supplies, including electricity, fuel, and water. He explained that the exacerbation of “hunger and famine risk” stems from factors beyond mere food availability. Inadequate water, sanitation, and healthcare services contribute to a cycle of vulnerability, where malnourished people, especially among the tens of thousands injured, “become more susceptible to diseases that further depletes the body’s nutritional reserves.”

Rajasingham stressed that the sharp rise in malnutrition rates among children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers in the Gaza Strip is of particular concern. He stated, “Chronic overcrowding, exposure to the cold and a lack of adequate shelter exacerbate this nutritional deficiency, creating conditions conducive to massive disease epidemics.”

He also stressed the “overwhelming obstacles” that humanitarian workers face in simply delivering the “bare minimum of supplies” into the Gaza Strip, “let alone mounting the multisectoral response that would be required to avert a famine.”

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