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Famine in Gaza? IDF slams ‘inaccuracies’ of UN-backed report on Gaza humanitarian situation

US officials claimed Gaza population in danger of starvation based on report

Palestinians prepare food before the sunset call to prayer during the month of Ramadan, at Al-Quds School, in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 17, 2024. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israel slammed a recent report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which alleged widespread famine in the Gaza Strip and received broad international support, claiming it “contains multiple factual and methodological flaws.”

On Friday, the IDF’s unit coordinator of activities in the Gaza Strip, COGAT, published a detailed response to the report authored by the IPC, a joint initiative by experts from the United Nations, relief agencies and research groups.

The report alleged that “famine is imminent” as the number of people projected to experience “catastrophic hunger” across Gaza until mid-July increased to 1.1 million, which is roughly half the population.

COGAT pointed out several inaccuracies with the IPC’s report, besides highlighting numerous measures taken by Israel to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The report’s reliability was called into question due to the difficulty of conducting remote studies, a fact that the IPC itself acknowledged.

“The report itself emphasizes the information gaps and the need to fill these in through various means,” COGAT’s statement read.

Large portions of the information in the report were provided by local bodies like the Hamas-led Gaza Health Ministry “which has a strategic interest in presenting fundamentally misleading information,” according to COGAT.

COGAT added that the IPC also didn’t take into account, or even refer to, the “numerous reports on the Palestinian media” showing “food markets filled with food of all types” in towns across the enclave, including its hard-pressed northern part.

Another inaccuracy, according to COGAT, was the claim that the amount of water available per day and person was less than one liter.

“Based on our assessment, the amount of water produced in the Gaza Strip through two local water desalination plants, an Emirati water desalination plant located in Egypt, water lines from Israel, and the entry of diesel fuel to refuel the local water pumping system – the daily average quantity of water [stands at] over 20 liters (over 5 gallons) of drinking and cooking water per person per day,” according to COGAT.

“As for accessibility, Israel facilitates the coordination of repairs and refuel of the water infrastructures so that it will facilitate greater accessibility for the population,” the statement added.

Refuting claims to the contrary, COGAT stressed that “Israel places no limits on the amount of aid that can enter Gaza, and absolutely does not limit the entrance of food.”

“The State of Israel recognizes the unfortunate impacts of the war on the civilian population of Gaza – this includes negative impacts on food security. Israel is tirelessly working to mitigate these impacts.”

“We outright reject any allegations according to which Israel is purposefully starving the civilian population in Gaza,” COGAT stated.

Since the IPC report was published, several international officials, including U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken, pointed to the report to highlight the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and demanded Israel increase its efforts to help mitigate it.

“According to the most respected measure of these things, 100% of the population in Gaza is at severe levels of acute food insecurity. That’s the first time an entire population has been so classified,” Blinken said recently.

He added that it was “absolutely incumbent” upon Israel to prioritize assistance for those in desperate need.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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