‘Mounting body of evidence’ that Guardian’s coverage is effectively pro-Hamas

The Guardian’s coverage of Israel and the Palestinians can largely be defined as a continuing effort to find evidence in order to reach their pre-determined anti-Israel conclusion. It’s not journalism in the traditional sense. It’s (pro-Palestinian) advocacy.  No matter how incendiary the libel, their reporters can be counted on to almost always find a reason to back up the latest charges leveled against the Jewish state – even when the fact patterns clearly don’t line up.

One example is the outlet’s campaign – which began a mere week after the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre – to legitimise the “genocide” “ethnic cleansing” allegation.  Such a moral inversion, after the worst and most barbaric antisemitic attack since the Holocaust, was in line with pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas social media accounts which, almost immediately – that is, while Palestinian death squads were still in Israeli territory – began promoting that narrative.

The latest Guardian attack on Israel is their promotion of the accusation that “Israel may be committing a war crime by deliberately starving Gaza’s population”. Among the participants in this venture is their former Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont, who wrote a March 20 ‘analysis’ titled “Man-made famine’ charge against Israel is backed by mounting body of evidence“. 

Later in the article, he cites international law.

Though Israel denies the allegation, the Rome statute of the international criminal court defines it as the crime of intentionally starving civilians by “depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival” including “willfully impeding relief supplies”.

Underpinning the allegations is the fact that as a belligerent occupying power in Gaza, Israel is legally responsible under article 55 of the fourth Geneva convention for “ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population”, which requires the occupier to “bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate”.

The 4th Geneva Convention applies, but only to the part of Gaza occupied by Israel – meaning it currently doesn’t apply to Rafah and the area around it, where much of the Gaza population has taken refuge. Hamas still rules Rafah, and so is responsible for seeing to the food and medical needs of that population.

However, not only is Hamas failing to take responsibility for the delivery of sufficient food and other aid to those Palestinians under their control, but there’s considerable evidence that they’re stealing and hindering the supply of such aid.

Unsurprisingly, Hamas’s role in the food crisis is completely ignored by Beaumont – and the word “Hamas” only appears once (in passing) in the entire article.

Moreover, insofar that, as we’ve noted, under Article 55 Israel is responsible only for the part of Gaza it occupies, it is indeed facilitating the provision of relief supplies there as required. Indeed, it’s is questionable whether Israel even has the capacity to feed two million (or even 500,000 Gazans) by itself.   Indeed, Article 55 begins with, “To the fullest extent of the means available to it…”.  Thus the requirement for international aid, which according to the convention Israel has the right to check to make sure no weapons or ammunition is slipped in with the food and medicine.

So, it is up to the international community to provide food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies. By allowing these third parties to supply and deliver aid – which it is doing – Israel is fulfilling its obligations.

Additionally, according to Article 59, Israel must allow and facilitate relief supplies, not necessarily provide them itself:

If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal.

Such schemes, which may be undertaken either by States or by impartial humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, shall consist, in particular, of the provision of consignments of foodstuffs, medical supplies and clothing.

All Contracting Parties shall permit the free passage of these consignments and shall guarantee their protections …

Also, under Article 23, “the obligation of a High Contracting Party to allow the free passage of the consignments indicated in the preceding paragraph is subject to the condition that this Party is satisfied that there are no serious reasons for fearing”:

(c) that a definite advantage may accrue to the military efforts or economy of the enemy through the substitution of the above-mentioned consignments for goods which would otherwise be provided or produced by the enemy or through the release of such material, services or facilities as would otherwise be required for the production of such goods.

In other words, to the extent that Hamas is taking the relief materials for itself and thereby aiding its war effort, Israel is not obligated to allow the aid to pass.

Leaving the legal arguments aside, Beaumont – contrary to the headline culled from the journalist’s assertion of ‘mounting evidence’ that Israel is causing starvation – fails to provide any genuine proof to support his libel. He writes the following, in the only paragraphs which even purport to present evidence:

A central plank of any case that Israel has provoked a famine is the data generated by the UN’s Gaza famine review committee, staffed by international experts on food security, whose findings this week fall under the auspices of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) – regarded as the international gold standard in assessing food crises.

The IPC committee also examined access for food trucks to the worst affected area, concluding that a “very limited number of trucks carrying food aid is authorised to enter north Gaza and Gaza governates and since 5 February there has been no report of food trucks being able to discharge in Gaza City”.

The IPC’s report is backed up by analysis prepared independently and sent this week to the Biden administration by Oxfam America and Human Rights Watch to highlight Israel’s failure to comply with a new requirement from Washington that recipients of US arms supplies need to comply with international law.

That analysis accused Israel of “systematically prevent[ing] aid” from reaching “the roughly 300,000 Palestinians who remain in northern Gaza, where the threat of starvation is most acute”.

To be clear, if you read the entire piece, particularly the paragraphs above, the report in question – from the institutionally anti-Israel NGOs Oxfam and HRW – represents the sole piece of ‘evidence’ provided by the Guardian journalist.  The IPC report that Beaumont refers to doesn’t assign blame for the food crisis in Gaza.

As Gerald Steinberg, director of NGO Monitor, commented on X after reading the report, as well as the footnotes, the ‘report passes off a collection of unverifiable Palestinian “eyewitness testimony” and conjecture as evidence.  Moreover, he notes in the thread, some of the ‘evidence’ presented in the Oxfam/HRW report include claims of the Hamas Health Ministry, as well as the Qatari mouthpiece Al Jazeera. 

We’d suggest reading Steinberg’s full thread.

Further, Beaumont’s article didn’t bother with even the pretense of balance. For instance, the reporter ignored evidence of extremely large quantities of food entering Gaza daily.

Much of this aid has been delivered to northern Gaza.

Beaumont evidently didn’t even bother asking COGAT for a comment.

Finally, the article ignores evidence suggesting that UNRWA and other UN agencies deserve much of the blame for the failure to get sufficient food to Palestinians in the enclave.

So, the truth is that there is literally no evidence to support the libel that Israeli is starving the population in Gaza.

Once again, the Guardian ignored all available information that contradicted their desired anti-Israel narrative, while giving the antisemitic extremist group which launched the Oct. 7 antisemitic massacre a free pass, representing another illustration of how their coverage of the war is effectively pro-Hamas.

(Note: The analysis in this post concerning what international law requires of Israel was provided by Alex Safian, PhdD, CAMERA’s Research Director)

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1 Comment

  1. says: Grimey

    Main problem is the infiltration of most media (including The Grauniad, IPC , Sky News, etc, etc) by Islamophiles – embolden by the tolerance of British woke culture and its inability to weed out antisemitic staff without being branded “racist”. The future is that Britain will be dragged back into the Middle Ages by the “religion of peace”.

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