Fiction vs. Fact: Israel and the Situation in Gaza
6 Common Fabrications
Gaza by the Numbers
Humanitarian Aid into Gaza (video)
Photos: Israel Under Fire
Sderot and Area Contacts Available for Comment
Israeli Govt. Spokesman Mark Regev transcript and MP3 recording (Dec. 29 conf call)
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Sallai Meridor transcript and MP3 recording
Video: Palestinian girl says Hamas responsible for war
Videos from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
IDF YouTube Channel
Iran Press Kit
Since Israel began “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza Dec. 27 in an attempt to stop Iran-backed Hamas from its years-long campaign to kill and injure civilians in Israel, some have used the opportunity to spread misinformation about Israel’s actions, intentions and the overall situation in Gaza. Following are examples of fabrications – refuted by factual accounts provided by international aid organizations, Arab leaders, and Palestinian journalists.
"While there is real suffering in Gaza, it is important to sort fact from fiction and understand that Hamas is responsible for this sad situation," said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project. "The important thing now is to defeat terror so that there can be a two-state solution and lasting peace. Both sides need a better future."
1) Fiction: There’s no food in Gaza and people are starving.
News reports, including one produced by TV station France 2 on Dec. 29, showed a Gaza resident in a food store saying:
“Apparently, there is nothing, as you can see. There are no natural products for the kids. There is no milk. There is nothing here.”
Fact: Warehouses in Gaza are filled to capacity, according to international aid groups. In the same France 2 TV clip referenced above, upon closer inspection, shelves filled with food can be seen in the reflection of a refrigerated door in the store. To see clip: click on http://jt.france2.fr/20h/; click on “Lundi 29” – below the small screen; to the right of the new screen, click “Vie dans la bande de Gaza” The World Food Program informed Israel that it would cease shipment of food to Gaza because the warehouses there are at full capacity, with enough food to last two weeks.
During a one-day period alone – Dec. 31– Israel facilitated the transport of 29 truckloads of food, including 15 truckloads of flour, into Gaza. And even as Hamas was firing rockets and mortars during Israel during the ceasefire, Israel facilitated the delivery of 2,500 tons (delivered on 93 trucks) of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and medication through the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal.
Since the beginning of the operation, about 6,500 tons of aid have been transferred into Gaza at the request of the international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments. Preparations are underway to facilitate further shipments.
2) Fiction: Gaza has no medical and other aid supplies to help the injured.
Fact: During the first 5 days alone of Operation Cast Lead, Israel has facilitated the delivery of 6,500 tons of aid – 179 truckoads -- into Gaza at the request of international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments. The deliveries include basic food commodities, medication, medical supplies and blood units. Another 106 truckloads of humanitarian aid are expected to arrive in Gaza on Jan. 31.  The crossings to Gaza are open for the transfer of humanitarian aid from all international organizations, in full cooperation with the Israeli authorities and without restriction. In a one-day period – Dec. 31 – Israel enabled the transport of 9 truckloads of medicine and medical supplies, along with 10 ambulances, into Gaza.
3) Fiction: Israel is refusing to allow injured Gazans into Israeli and Egyptian hospitals for treatment.
Fact: Israel has allowed a number of Palestinians into Israel for medical treatment they couldn’t receive in Gaza. On Dec. 31, for example, 12 Palestinians accessed Israel for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. Two of those evacuated were injured children; the remaining were chronically sick people, and their escorts, who were allowed into Israel for treatment not available in Gaza.
Further, Hamas – in an effort to exploit the suffering of innocent civilians - has refused to allow injured Palestinians to leave Gaza to go to Egypt for treatment. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu al-Gheit said earlier this week that Hamas was not allowing wounded Palestinians to cross the border into Egypt for treatment: “We are waiting for the wounded Palestinians to cross. They are not being allowed to cross.” Asked who was to blame, he referred to Gaza by saying, “Ask the party in control on the ground in Gaza.”
4) Fiction: Israel is purposely targeting civilians.
Fact: While Israel goes out of its way to minimize civilian casualties, Hamas actually places civilians in harm’s way and uses them as shields. Because Hamas is known to use civilian residences to hide their weapons, on Dec. 27, the Israeli military – before launching an attack on such storehouses - called thousands of civilians in Gaza on their cell phones and left Arabic-language messages urging them to leave homes being used for weapons storage.
On Dec. 30, a reformist Iranian newspaper published a statement by a student organization that criticized Hamas for risking civilian lives, including children, by hiding its forces in nurseries and hospitals. The Iranian Culture Ministry shut down the newspaper after it printed the statements.
Israel has publicly stated time and again that it regrets the loss of any civilian life and considers each one a tragedy. However, both Iran-backed Hamas and Iran-backed Hezbollah have a history of faking deaths and funerals. For example, in Spring 2002, Palestinians were filmed as they attempted to stage a fake funeral as part of a gross exaggeration of the number of people killed in Jenin. The film shows Palestinians wrapping, then carrying a ‘corpse’ on a funeral pier; the ‘corpse’ falls off several times and gets back on – including in front of a large and surprised crowd. Click here for video of faked funeral. Although some reports say a quarter of the deaths during “Operation Cast Lead” have been civilians, Palestinian terrorists’ history of deceptions and false claims require reporters to work to verify such information.
During Israel’s defensive war against Hezbollah two years ago, the phenomenon was so common that it became known as “Hezbollywood.” One of the best-known instances was when a man purporting to be a rescue worker at the site of a bombed village appeared in various photos in the international media, repeatedly displaying the same child’s dead body at different times – and in different poses – throughout the day. The man, identified as Salam Daher, wore a green helmet in all of the photos, earning himself the nickname “green helmet guy.” Daher was also found to have directed a camera shooting the scene.
5) Fiction: Israel has cut off electricity to Gaza.
Fact: In the past, Hamas officials have committed deceptions such as pulling dark curtains in mid-day while holding a meeting to make it look as though they were being forced to work by candlelight – a sham exposed by journalists who showed that it was actually daylight outside at the time. The ruse was carried out with the complicity of some Arab satellite TV stations. More recent such deceptions have come to light as recently as November 2008, when Palestinian Authority officials said Hamas staged new blackouts to try to get sympathy from the international community and provoke civilian violence against the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Further, terrorists in Gaza have fired rockets at – and hit - the power station in the Israeli city of Ashkelon that provides Gaza the majority of its electricity. The terrorists also have fired on Israeli workers at a depot that provides fuel to Gaza and a suicide bomber destroyed lines providing electricity from Israel into Gaza. 
"There's no shortage of fuel in the Gaza Strip and the Electricity Company is continuing to function normally," a PA official said in November. "Our people in the Gaza Strip have told us that the blackouts are all staged as part of the Hamas propaganda…There's enough fuel in the Gaza Strip,” he said. "Even when Israel reduces the fuel supplies, Hamas continues to smuggle tens of thousands of liters through the underground tunnels."
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