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A bustling food market in Rafah, Gaza on March 6, 2024. Video.

Evangelical leaders respond to survey on Gaza aid without the facts

A survey released Tuesday by National Association of Evangelicals finds a false narrative prevails on humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Dwight Widaman, Editor

The NAE’s report says “Over 90 percent of evangelical leaders who participated in the March/April Evangelical Leaders Survey think Israel should allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

There’s just one problem, the question and narrative of Israel denying aid to Gaza is not factual. You would think the head of the NAE would be in possession of the facts but that is, sadly, not the case. In a press release, NAE president Walter Kim promoted this false narrative by stating, “war crimes by one side do not justify producing humanitarian crises by the other.”

Mr. Kim, how is Israel producing a crisis? More food is now entering Gaza than BEFORE Hamas launched this war.

Kim. Image: NAE

Kim’s alternate view of reality fell right in line with comments offered by those surveyed showing how little Christian leaders actually know about what is happening on the ground. While most shared an overall support for Israel in battling Hamas terrorists, demands for Israel to provide more aid are predicated on the false narrative that Israel is holding it up and that Gazans are on the brink of starvation. Both are patently false and are promoted by a well-established PR operation run by Hamas.

“It is critically important to alleviate the suffering … and slow starvation … of the innocent Palestinians, most of whom are women and children,” alleges Colin Watson, executive director emeritus of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. 

Jim Lyon, general director of the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), linked aid to peace, inferring that Israel is restricting aid. “The risks of constricting humanitarian aid in this crisis far outweigh the risks of opening further channels of relief. The Gaza tragedy fuels anger, hatred and bitterness in Palestine (and beyond) in the face of increasing suffering, even as the Hamas massacres and violence have fueled anger, hatred and bitterness in Israel (and beyond).” 

What Lyon did not admit was that the atrocities perpetrated upon Israel in the Oct. 7 attack were done with a full flow of food and supplies in to Gaza. In fact, each man, woman and child in Gaza was receiving $14,000 in yearly cash and aid benefits when Hamas invaded Israel. The hate for Jews and Israel was already there.

Kim’s comments underscore how Hamas has won the public relations battle and these Christian leaders should immediately retract their incorrect statements. By not doing so, they are enabling Hamas.

While it is true that innocent Palestinians are suffering at the hand of Hamas, the reality is that through March, trucks delivering food to Gaza outpaced deliveries before Gaza attacked Israel.

While it is not reported on news outlets, Israel continues facilitating massive amounts of humanitarian assistance to Gaza — including food, water, medicine, fuel, and shelter supplies. Israel continues to open new entry points for aid into Gaza by land, air and sea. According to U.N. data, an average of 70 food trucks entered Gaza per day before the war; an average of more than 100 food trucks have entered each day in March.

Before the NAE released its survey, perhaps it should have educated pastors on the following facts as reported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the United Nations.

Food transfers are above pre-war levels.

  • During the war, more food trucks have entered Gaza than prior to the war — on average an increase of more than 50% per day. 184,5000 tons of food have entered Gaza since the start of the war. On March 3, 4,160 tons of food were delivered on 187 trucks. In early April more than 480 trucks, a record, entered in just one day.

  • Four tankers carrying cooking oil are entering Gaza every day — a sufficient quantity to meet the needs of the territory. Well over 310 cooking gas tanks have entered Gaza since the start of the war.

  • The World Food Program is currently supplying 15 massive Gazan bakeries — with the capacity to produce more than 2 million pita breads, rolls, and other breads per day.

  • Many markets in Gaza continue to operate and sell locally grown fresh produce.

Israel is facilitating massive aid deliveries to Gaza.

  • Israel is already facilitating the entry of more than 1,000 trucks of aid to Gaza per week and stands ready to do more. On March 3, Israel inspected and transferred 277 humanitarian aid trucks into Gaza.

  • Since Hamas initiated the war on October 7, 280,080 tons of aid have entered on 15,207 trucks.

  • Israel has also enabled Jordan and France to airdrop supplies to specific areas when other mechanisms to deliver aid have been unavailable.

The U.N. needs to improve the distribution of aid.

  • The United Nations and other international agencies are largely responsible for the existing delays in aid deliveries into Gaza. The U.N. has not been able to distribute aid at the rate that Israel is processing it, causing back-ups at the border crossings after Israeli inspections are completed.

  • On March 3, the U.N. received 234 trucks in Gaza but only distributed 131 trucks of aid to civilians in the enclave.

  • Since the start of the war, Israel has denied entry to only 1.6% of trucks seeking to enter Gaza. The main obstacle to humanitarian aid reaching civilians is the distribution mechanism inside of Gaza. Truck drivers are also delaying distribution by arriving late to Rafah and leaving early.

  • The principal Israeli official responsible for facilitating this assistance, Col. Elad Goren, stated, “I want to make it clear we are not refusing anything that is underneath four headlines … Food, water, medical supplies and shelters.”

  • “Today it is possible to provide three times the amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza if the U.N. — instead of complaining all day — would do its job,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog added in late December.

Fuel supplies are being replenished as needed.

  • Israel agreed to replenish fuel supplies as needed for the United Nations and essential operations of water and sanitation systems. It continues to provide fuel each day.

  • Prior to October 7, Israel provided some power directly to Gaza via a series of 10 power lines. Hamas destroyed nine of these lines in the October 7 attack.

Medical supplies are continuing to flow into Gaza.

  • Israel has facilitated the delivery of more than 18,400 tons of medical supplies to Gaza since Hamas attacked Israel.

  • On March 2, Israel also delivered 50 incubators for hospitals across Gaza.

  • Israel has facilitated the entrance of 74 ambulances to Gaza and more than a million vaccine doses.

  • Israel has worked with Jordan and the UAE to establish two field hospitals in Khan Yunis and Rafah. Additional field hospitals are operated by the Red Crescent and the International Medical Corps.

  • France and Italy have deployed hospital ships to the region, which have treated over 2,000 patients. Jordan airdropped nine packages of medical supplies to Gaza in coordination with Israel. Israel works with Egypt to facilitate the exit of patients through Rafah for treatment in these facilities.

  • Israel has also worked with Egypt, the UAE and Turkey to facilitate the transfer of over 2,000 patients and their escorts for treatment abroad.

  • After completing a targeted operation against Hamas inside the Nasser and Al-Amal hospitals in Khan Younis, the IDF facilitated the entry of dozens of oxygen cylinders donated by international organizations to the hospitals’ patients.

  • Israel has facilitated humanitarian aid to Nasser Hospital as the IDF carries out its operations, including 24,500 liters of diesel fuel, supplies of food and water, a replacement generator, and medicine donated by the WHO.

The facts above remain unacknowledged by the 90% Evangelical leaders who think Israel should do more or by the NAE who posed the question to them.  Hamas is preventing substantial amounts of this aid is not reaching civilians and the United Nations cannot keep up with the aid surge. To blame it on Israel contradicts the facts on the ground.

It is true that Gazans are suffering. They’ve been suffering since they voted Hamas into power in 2006.  The Biden administration, UN and other partners must work with Israel to make sure this historic amount of  aid is not being stolen by Hamas, left to rot by the UN on the ground or sold by Hamas to enrich their pockets.

Above all, unless leaders, including evangelical leaders, speak with facts in hand as it relates to aid, and also demand the immediate surrender of Hamas and release of hostages, the suffering will continue.

–Dwight Widaman |Metro Voice News

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