“Half of Gaza’s population is starving, warns UN” blares the headline at BBC’s website, in an article by Fiona Nimoni published on Dec. 10. The claim of ‘starvation’ is repeated in the strapline: “A senior UN aid official has warned that half of Gaza’s population is starving, as fighting there continues.”
Yet, the word “starvation” – which refers to extreme suffering or death caused by lack of food – doesn’t actually appear in the text of the article, including in the sentences quoting Carl Skau, the deputy director of the UN World Food Programme, the official who’s the BBC’s source. Nor is the ‘starvation’ claim made in a press release Skau put out on Dec. 8 – save one sentence where the group’s work “to prevent starvation” is highlighted.
Indeed, most of the BBC article doesn’t even deal with the issue of food insecurity in the territory.
The only reference to a lack of food is when Skau notes a WFP survey of Palestinians in the strip which showed that “9 out of 10 reported spending at least one full day and night without food”. This is of course a problem, but it’s nothing approaching starvation. Let’s also recall that many of the Israeli hostages sometimes went long periods of time without being given any food by their captors.
Further, if you read through the full nine page WFP report, there’s no mention of “starvation”.
BBC also quotes Skau saying that conditions in Gaza have made deliveries “almost impossible”, a claim contradicted by numerous reports and data showing that food, fuel and other such aid is in fact getting through, while even more is poised to enter, the territory.
This is the truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid waiting to enter the #Gaza Strip.
The conditions required to deliver aid to the people of Gaza exist. We've completed all the necessary logistics to make it happen. Now, the #UN has to keep up. https://t.co/cMFqqRRq0i pic.twitter.com/UzERqC4hXz
— COGAT (@cogatonline) December 5, 2023
BBC also fails to note Hamas’s role in the problem, especially the fact that during the seven-day truce, that ended when Hamas reneged on commitments to free more hostages, and fired rockets at Israel before the 7am deadline, roughly 200 trucks delivering food and other humanitarian aid entered each day. But, since the terror group fighting resumed, the number of trucks entering Gaza dwindled to under 100. So, Hamas’s decisions had a deleterious impact on aid delivery – but still not to a degree consistent with Skau’s claim that it’s “almost impossible” to make such deliveries.
Yet, there’s no mention of Hamas’s role in the shortage of aid, including evidence that the terrorist is group is stealing humanitarian aid meant for civilians – consistent the corporation’s unwritten rule of never assigning Palestinians – including their extremist leaders – agency.
This video released by the IDF shows Hamas stealing humanitarian aid meant for Gazan citizens and beating any person who tries to get to the food and supplies.
Hamas has brought nothing but devastation on the Palestinians of Gaza. pic.twitter.com/ts1QfaVKEf
— Aviva Klompas (@AvivaKlompas) December 9, 2023
The bottom line is that BBC’s claim that “half of Gaza’s population is starving” is a lie.