newsIsrael at War

‘Gaza stores full; markets overwhelmed with goods’

"There is no food shortage in Gaza, and there never was," says an Israeli official familiar with the situation in the Strip.

A market in northern Gaza, April 17, 2024. Credit: Snd News Agency.
A market in northern Gaza, April 17, 2024. Credit: Snd News Agency.

As the United States and other countries pressure Israel to increase food aid to Gaza, Israeli officials familiar with the situation say Gaza has been overwhelmed by food aid. Israeli officials harshly criticize American representatives, led by Ambassador David Satterfield, accusing them of echoing the lie about “starvation in Gaza.”

Every evening at 8 p.m., a quadrilateral forum takes place with representatives from Israel, the United States, the United Nations and Egypt, where a daily report on the humanitarian situation in Gaza is provided.

Israel is represented in this forum by the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). The Americans are represented by the Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues David Satterfield. Together, they count how many trucks were inspected and entered the Strip, how many unloaded their contents inside and how many did not, as well as the extent of hunger in Gaza.

“There is no food shortage in Gaza, and there never was,” said an Israeli official familiar with the details. “The stores are full, the markets are bursting with goods, fruits, vegetables, shawarma, pitas—there is everything. Do you know why they no longer loot convoys? Because there is no shortage. The quantities entering are not normal.”

Recently, COGAT Commander Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian issued an unusual statement: “Israel does not constitute a bottleneck when it comes to providing humanitarian aid. The U.N. needs to do the job it is charged with and do it properly.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what officials dealing with aid think behind closed doors.

“There is no need to open a passage in northern Gaza, no need to open the port of Ashdod, and also no need for an air corridor in Gaza—because there is no lack of food. The air corridor is a crazy operation, the airdrops are unnecessary—they are expensive and the quantities are small, but they photograph well. The United Nations cannot distribute what enters, so why would more be needed?” said an Israeli official familiar with the data.

Despite this data, last week Satterfield told the American Jewish Committee (AJC) that “there is an immediate risk of starvation, for most if not all 2.2 million people in Gaza.” This, despite the fact that in the three previous days, around 300 trucks entered the Strip per day.

Israel believes that the way senior Biden administration officials express themselves echoes the false claims of Hamas supporters in the United States, as if a genocide was taking place in Gaza.

“The rhetoric of Satterfield and others is shocking,” said an official in the field of public diplomacy. “The only explanation for the disparity between what they know and what they say must be political. They say what will be pleasant for voters to hear. Incidentally, you can see that the policy in practice does not change.”

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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