Guardian revives last month’s Hamas aid convoy libel

An article in the Guardian (“Severely injured patients trapped in Gaza’s hospitals as evacuations are halted”, March 17) by Emma Graham-Harrison included the following:

Aid workers have described a “siege within a siege” in northern Gaza, with widespread hunger and “pockets of famine”. More than 100 people died when Israeli troops fired near desperate crowds around an aid convoy in late February.

This sentence legitmises the charges, leveled by the Hamas-run health ministry on Feb. 29 without evidence, accusing Israeli soldiers of firing on Palestinians who swarmed an aid truck, and killing over 100, while failing to note IDF denials of those accusations.  The overwhelming majority were killed, the IDF’s investigation concluded, during a stampede which occurred when 12,000 or so Palestinians rushed the aid trucks to loot the food and equipment they were delivering.

The aid convoy had come from the Keren Shalom and Rafah crossings, traveled along the coastal road to a part of northern Gaza close to Rimal, and then cut into residential areas to make deliveries. It was the fourth day in a row that the military helped facilitate such deliveries.

The IDF’s investigation of was based in large measure on aerial sattelite footage of the incident.

The IDF said that a second incident occurred a short time later at another spot at El-Nabusi Square, where armed Palestinians reportedly fired on the trucks and stole supplies.  In the third stage, a large group of Palestinians descended on the trucks, but also came close to surprised Israeli forces stationed nearby to protect the deliveries. According to the IDF, once the large group of Palestinians were a few dozen meters away from forces, they fired in the air and issued warnings to stay away. When the same Palestinians reportedly continued to come closer to forces, they fired at the Palestinians’ legs.

What’s even more telling is that Emma Graham-Harrison is the same reporter who co-wrote a Guardian article on March 1st about that very incident – an article which included not only Israel’s denial, but also the testimony of a Palestinian eye-witness which backed the military’s version of events. The Guardian journalist, presumably in order to give credence to the Israeli ‘siege within a siege’ narrative of ‘aid workers’ in the current article, decided to promote a Hamas libel that she knew Israel refuted.

We complained to editors asking that they revise the sentence in question to more accurately reflect the available evidence regarding the incident.

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