The Associated Press story says “Israeli authorities blockading the Gaza Strip in 2008 went so far as to calculate how many calories would be needed to avert a humanitarian disaster” there, according to a newly declassified military document.
The military reportedly said the guidelines were never implemented, but critics said this proves “Israel used food as a pressure tactic to try to force Gaza’s Hamas rulers from power.”
Italics are mine.
Funny, I see those documents as evidence of something else entirely.
Unlike the story’s author, who, obviously thinks the Israeli’s “went so far” as calorie counting for nefarious purposes, it seems to me the attempt to “avert a humanitarian disaster” is the salient point.
Israel and Egypt (the latter often overlooked in reports these days) maintained a strict blockade over Gaza from 2007-2010 following the area’s violent takeover by Iran’s terrorist proxies, Hamas. During the blockade, food supplies entering the area were limited. The story’s writer, who failed to mention that Egypt teamed with Israel in the blockade following Hamas’ violent overthrow of the Palestinian Fatah establishment, also said a “baffling” list of items were banned “as part of a broader effort to topple the violently anti-Israel Hamas by squeezing the economy.”
“In the January 2008 document, Israel determined how to ensure that Gazans eat 2,279 calories of food each day, a figure in line with World Health Organization guidelines,” the story notes. “It broke down the calorie allocation by various food groups, and in minute details.” … “included adjustments for locally grown farm products as well as an assessment of the kinds of food imports that would be needed to sustain the population.”
See, now, that sounds to me like an attempt to prevent starvation and save lives, and the writer says, “Israeli military spokesman Maj. Guy Inbar said these calculations were not meant to punish the people of Gaza. Instead, he described them as safeguards that helped to identify when goods were in short supply and a humanitarian crisis might be nearing,” a claim she seems not to believe.
“A mathematical formula was devised to identify food needs and avert a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” he said. Israel never used the calculation to restrict the flow of food to Gaza, he added.
An Israeli advocacy group contends that Israel calculated the calorie needs for Gaza’s population in order to restrict the quantities of goods and basic products it allowed in.
The Israeli government imposed the blockade on Gaza after identifying it as a “hostile territory” three months after the takeover by Iran-backed Hamas, “a group committed to Israel’s destruction,” the story notes. Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks and both Israel and the U.S. consider it a terrorist group.
When Israel decided on the blockade citing “repeated rocket attacks launched from Gaza,” the resolution on it “said Israel would strive ‘to avoid a humanitarian crisis.’”
“Critics say the policy amounted to collective punishment of Gaza’s already impoverished population of more than 1.5 million,” the story said.
I wonder if anyone in the Syrian government is keeping track of their rebels’ calorie intake. In fact, I can’t recall a single time in recorded history when a nation took such careful care of its enemies.
Actually, this is the kindest-sounding blockade I have ever heard of. The Israelis were obviously trying to get rid of a self-identified enemy that had violently overtaken an area on its border by making life uncomfortable. Kind of like the siege of Jerusalem in 1947/48, during which the Arabs tried to starve the Jews of the city. I’m pretty sure no one on the Arab side was counting calories except to keep them out of the Jews mouths.
And yet, the incredible Palestinian propaganda machine, says, the document was “evidence that the Gaza blockade was planned and the target was not Hamas or the government as the occupation always claimed. This blockade targeted all human beings. … This document should be used to try the occupation for their crimes against the humanity in Gaza.”
Of course it was planned. A violent ideological enemy, with a proven capacity for unrestrained barbarism had taken over the area, creating a clear and present danger for Israel. Israel, therefore planned to do something to solve the problem without creating collateral damage. It’s a consideration few groups extend to its enemies.
“Israel never saw the people of Gaza as our enemy,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. “On the contrary, we saw them as victims of the extremist Hamas regime, a regime that places its very radical agenda above and beyond the interest of the people of Gaza.”
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