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Friday, July 19, 2024

Israel caught ‘faking’ Gaza aid

A post by the country’s official X (formerly Twitter) account acknowledged that photos from Moldova were used as “illustrations” of assistance to Palestinians

Israel admitted on Tuesday to using stock footage of a Moldovan refugee camp in a video it posted on X touting its claims that it has provided tens of thousands of tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza during the war.

The country’s official X account deleted the video that included the offending photo, which it insisted had been used “for illustrative purposes only,” and promised to “ensure transparency” in subsequent visuals.

Read more: Israeli Al Jazeera claim triggers move to ban foreign media

BBC reporter Shayan Sardarizadeh exposed the fraudulent clip on Monday, posting side-by-side screenshots of Israel’s video, which claimed West Jerusalem had sent “23,000 tons of tents and shelter equipment” to Gaza, and the original image on the stock photo service iStock.

The photo’s description clearly reads, “Land arranged on the territory of Moldova with tents near the border of Ukraine for refugees coming from the war in Ukraine.”

Israel claimed in the video that it had sent 11,000 aid trucks into Gaza since declaring war on Hamas in October, including 140,000 tons of food, 1,000 water trucks, and 17,000 tons of medical supplies, in addition to the shelter equipment supposedly sent.

While the UN estimates that 2 million Palestinians in Gaza – nearly all of the territory’s 2.1 million residents – are currently dependent upon such humanitarian aid, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society last month highlighted a steep decline in aid deliveries since the war began.

Read more: U.S Senate Approves $95 Billion Aid Package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan

The organization said it received an average of just 94.5 aid trucks per day during the last three months, compared to the 500 that entered daily before October 7, even as Israel has continued to insist there is no limit on humanitarian aid entering Gaza, alternately blaming Hamas and Egypt for the trickle passing through the Rafah crossing.

Many commenters on X questioned why, if Israel was truly providing the Palestinians with such a humanitarian bounty, it did not use photographs of its own aid deliveries.

West Jerusalem last month explicitly accused 13 employees of the UN’s Palestinian refugee aid agency, UNRWA, of assisting Hamas during the October 7 raid that left 1,200 Israelis dead and another 240 captured, causing over a dozen countries to pull hundreds of millions of dollars in funding without an investigation.

The accusation came days after the International Court of Justice’s preliminary ruling in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel. West Jerusalem was compelled to increase aid deliveries to alleviate the humanitarian catastrophe afflicting Gaza’s Palestinian population, most of whom are experiencing famine, according to the UN. Israel has killed over 28,000 Palestinians there, mostly women and children, since the war began, according to the territory’s health ministry, and over 85% of residents have been displaced by Israeli bombardment.