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On Monday 4th September Save The Children released an article entitled
“Gaza: 1 million children suffering in ‘unliveable’ conditions”.

Zionist Federation Chairman, Paul Charney, said, “It is unacceptable and unhelpful that Save the Children has chosen to lay the problem and the blame of the sad and tragic plight of Gazan children entirely at Israel’s doorstep. These are not Israel’s citizens and nor is Gaza Israel’s territory. This is the domain of a harshly ruled tyrannical Hamas territory, which manages to find the money and resources for sophisticated terror tunnels and weapons, but not for their own children’s welfare and basic needs. If Save the Children were truly concerned about solving this crisis, then they should get some courage and point the finger where it belongs, not at one of its neighbours who is actually providing Gaza with humanitarian relief.

It is of course with sadness and regret that the situation for all civilians in Gaza, especially the children, is as it is. However, many of the statements made in Save The Child’s article are context-free, thereby leaving readers with the impression that the situation in Gaza is mostly due to Israeli actions. The article claims, amongst other things, that Gaza is struggling with just two to four hours of electricity per day, that more than 700 schools are struggling to function without electricity, that there is a breakdown of health and emergency services putting children’s lives at risk and that children are unable to sleep, study or play. Of course, none of us can bear the thought of any child suffering.

However, the article fails to provide the reader with context on all these issues. The article fails to remind the reader that, despite having been elected by the people of Gaza, Hamas is an internationally proscribed terrorist organisation, one whose charter, despite having been recently rewritten, remains committed to the total destruction of the state of Israel and its inhabitants. The article fails to inform the reader how the billions of dollars’ worth of international pledges made following the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel, have either not been forthcoming or have been diverted to fund Hamas’ terror tunnels burrowed under Gaza into Israeli sovereign territory and their rearmament for future battles against Israel. The article fails to inform the reader how Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and that it was only after sustained attack from Hamas that Israel introduced its blockade, a blockade deemed legal under international law by the UN-commissioned Palmer report, issued in September 2011.

The article also fails to inform the reader how the Palestinian Authority have, over the past several months, either delayed or refused to facilitate the travel documents and / or funding for sick civilians in Gaza to travel into Israel where they would have received first-class medical attention and how this has, in some cases, led to the deaths of Gazan civilians, including children. The article also fails to inform the reader how the electricity shortages in Gaza are due to the power struggle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and that it is the Palestinian Authority themselves who specifically requested that Israel reduce the power supply to Hamas, because Hamas have not been paying the Palestinian Authority for this service. Rather, as mentioned above, Hamas have continued to divert internationally-donated funds to increase their network of terror tunnels and to facilitate their terrorist rearmament. The article also fails to report how the IDF’s COGAT– Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories – is currently facilitating convoys of trucks into Gaza filled with materials to help the Gazan Electric Authority to improve their infrastructures.

The article also fails to inform the reader how even UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency – the dedicated UN body which administers Palestinian refugees – has confirmed that Hamas’ terror tunnels have been built beneath their schools. The article fails to inform its readers how UNRWA have uncovered caches of weapons in their schools and how this leaves innocent children in danger during Hamas-initiated battles against Israel because Hamas choose to fight their battles from within civilian areas, thereby turning innocent men, women and children into unwitting human shields. The article also fails to inform the reader how Israel’s borders with Gaza are the source of crossing points for tens of thousands of trucks worth of humanitarian goods each year, with daily convoys delivering these goods to the people of Gaza. The article also fails to inform the reader how Egypt’s border crossing with Gaza has long been subjected to a blockade by Egypt, that virtually no aid comes through from Egypt and that Hamas continues to extort large sums of money from civilian Gazans wishing to cross into Egypt.

It should clear to anyone with an accurate understanding of the reality of the situation in Gaza that until Hamas accepts the right of Israel to exist securely and peacefully within its borders, that until Hamas uses its position as leader of the Gazan people responsibly and acts in their best interests, that this unnecessarily-sustained conflict will continue to extract a toll from Gaza’s civilians. It is the likes of this article by Save the Children that serves to propagate the one-sided narrative on this conflict which sadly, often drives both sides further apart and leaves a peaceful resolution ever-elusive.


Notes to Editors:
1) The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland (ZF UK) is a not-for-profit organisation that works to support positive relations between Israel and the UK. It was the original recipient of the Balfour Declaration in 1917.
2) For further information, please contact the ZF via []( or 0208 202 0202