Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS-IL on 4 July, 2024

‘The UN Reports Created a Distorted Picture’: Study Challenges Claims of Gaza Famine

Gaza By Sveta Listratov • 4 July, 2024

Jerusalem, 4 July, 2024 (TPS) -- A new report on Gaza hunger published on Thursday disproved a United Nations agency’s figures claiming famine in the Strip.

The Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies studied humanitarian aid data provided by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and concluded that the agency’s documents consistently relied on unverified statistics from another UN agency, the UN Relief and Works Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees. UNRWA has been under fire for the role of its staff in Hamas’s October 7 attacks, among other things.

OCHA’s figures are widely sourced by international leaders, diplomats, the media and humanitarian aid organizations.

The study, authored by Dr. Tammy Caner, also noted a significant gap in figures provided by OCHA and Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). COGAT is a unit within the Israeli Defense Ministry that coordinates civilian issues in Judea, Samaria and Gaza between the Israeli government, military, international organizations and the Palestinian Authority.

“These reports are based on missing numerical data coming from sources in Gaza, which do not reflect all the aid coming into the Gaza Strip. The UN cites this data without verification and substantiation, in the absence of transparency and without any reference to the data published by Israel and its humanitarian efforts, while completely ignoring the actions of Hamas and its responsibility for the situation in Gaza,” the report said.

“An attempt to locate the reason for the discrepancies reveals that the UN reports are based on partial data coming from sources in Gaza, without disclosing this fact – without reference to the source of the data and without transparency because the data do not reflect all the aid that entered the Gaza Strip. Thus the UN reports created a distorted picture of the situation in the Gaza Strip and led to baseless claims against Israel for a policy of starvation,” the INSS noted.

Deir al-Balah

Vendors selling food in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza on June 21, 2024. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS-IL


Shai Glick, CEO of the Btsalmo organization for human rights, told TPS-IL, “It turns out that once again the UN is lying and inflating the situation in Gaza with blatant and gross falsehoods, while consistently downplaying the number of Israeli casualties in the war. Sadly, it turns out that the UN is no longer an objective body but a politically biased organization, no better than Hamas, and should be treated as such.”

‘No Supporting Evidence’ of Famine

The INSS report comes on the heels of a report released by a UN committee of experts in June which said there was “no supporting evidence” of famine. The committee contradicted a widely-cited analysis by the US-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network which claimed that northern Gaza was “possibly” already in famine conditions that would continue to the end of July.

A separate study by researchers from several Israeli hospitals, universities and the Health Ministry concluded that Hamas posed the biggest threat to Gaza food security by hijacking food deliveries and firing rockets at border crossings where aid transfers take place.

When Hamas slashed food prices in April, Gaza residents told The Press Service of Israel that the problem wasn’t a lack of food but a shortage of money for families to purchase it.

looting aid

Palestinians in central Gaza loot a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid on May 18, 2024. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS-IL


Israel on several occasions has called on the UN to “scale up” its aid distribution of food, water and medicine as thousands of undelivered aid pallets pile up on the Palestinian side of Gaza’s border crossings.

The report raises further questions about OCHA. In May, TPS-IL exposed how the agency is republishing Hamas propaganda through reports written by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, whose current and former directors have been identified as Hamas operatives.

The reports, seen by TPS-IL accuse Israel of “genocide,” organ theft, using banned thermal weapons, burying Palestinians in mass graves, massacring Palestinians in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, deliberately using Palestinians as human shields, and sexually assaulting Palestinian women. These reports are published on Relief Web, an information portal overseen by OCHA and widely used by the international humanitarian community.

OCHA also raised questions about Gaza’s contested death toll when its website, without explanation, cut in half the number of Palestinian women and children killed during the war.

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 116 remaining hostages, more than 30 are believed dead.