No comment is really required on this story except to say that it shows Israel to be a nation that views another people, the Palestinians, as lesser human beings. Amira Hass in Haaretz:
After a three-and-a-half-year legal battle waged by the Gisha human rights organization, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories has finally released a 2008 document that detailed its “red lines” for “food consumption in the Gaza Strip.”
The document calculates the minimum number of calories necessary, in COGAT’s view, to keep Gaza residents from malnutrition at a time when Israel was tightening its restrictions on the movement of people and goods in and out of the Strip, including food products and raw materials. The document states that Health Ministry officials were involved in drafting it, and the calculations were based on “a model formulated by the Ministry of Health … according to average Israeli consumption,” though the figures were then “adjusted to culture and experience” in Gaza.
The “red lines” document calculates the minimum number of calories needed by every age and gender group in Gaza, then uses this to determine the quantity of staple foods that must be allowed into the Strip every day, as well as the number of trucks needed to carry this quantity. On average, the minimum worked out to 2,279 calories per person per day, which could be supplied by 1,836 grams of food, or 2,575.5 tons of food for the entire population of Gaza.
Bringing this quantity into the Strip would require 170.4 truckloads per day, five days a week.
From this quantity, the document’s authors then deducted 68.6 truckloads to account for the food produced locally in Gaza … mainly vegetables, fruit, milk and meat. The documents note that the Health Ministry’s data about various products includes the weight of the package (about 1 to 5 percent of the total weight) and that “The total amount of food takes into consideration ‘sampling’ by toddlers under the age of 2 (adds 34 tons per day to the general population).”
From this total, 13 truckloads were deducted to adjust for the “culture and experience” of food consumption in Gaza, though the document does not explain how this deduction was calculated.
While this adjustment actually led to a higher figure for sugar (five truckloads, compared to only 2.6 under the Health Ministry’s original model),
it reduced the quantity of fruits and vegetables (18 truckloads, compared to 28.5), milk (12 truckloads instead of 21.1), and meat and poultry (14 instead of 17.2).
Altogether, therefore, COGAT concluded that Israel needed to allow 131 truckloads of food and other essential products into Gaza every day (via the “back to back” system, in which goods are transferred from an Israeli truck to a Palestinian one at the border). Of these, 106 would go through the Kerem Shalom crossing and the rest via the Karni crossing (which was closed a few years later).
The document states that then-Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai had approved the entry of 106 trucks per day even before the “red lines” were calculated, along with additional truckloads of wheat seed and animal feed.
The point of the “red lines” document was to see if this number of trucks in fact met Gaza’s needs. But according to Gisha, UN data shows that the number of trucks allowed into Gaza each day often fell below this level.