Israel Counted Minimum Calorie Needs in Gaza Blockade, Documents Reveal

The Israeli military meticulously and callously calculated the number of calories Gaza residents would need to consume in order not to starve, and used those calculations to inform how to impose a harsh economic blockade on the Palestinians, according to newly released documents.

In the January 2008 document, Israel decided to allow Gazans to eat 2,279 calories worth of food each day, as if they were dogs in a cage. They estimated therefore that they would allow 1,836 grams of food per person, per day.

The overwhelming blockade Israel imposed on Gaza, tightening restrictions on the movement of people and goods, was supposedly punishment for having Hamas in power.

“The official goal of the policy was to wage ‘economic warfare’ which would paralyze Gaza’s economy and, according to the Defense Ministry, create pressure on the Hamas government,” the Israeli human rights group Gisha, which fought the legal battle that led to the document’s release, said in a statement.

Israel’s general policy towards Gazans was summed up by Dov Weisglass, an adviser to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, years before the document was written.

“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,” Weisglass said, claiming the hunger pangs are supposed to coerce Palestinians to force Hamas out of government.

Israel was accused of making these calculations prior to an Israeli court demanding its release on Wednesday, but they denied them outright. To have now proved themselves wrong is perhaps as embarrassing as the document’s release itself.

“How can Israel claim that it is not responsible for civilian life in Gaza when it controls even the type and quantity of food that Palestinian residents of Gaza are permitted to consume?” asked Sari Bashi, Gisha’s executive director, in a statement.

“Israel’s control over movement creates an obligation to allow free passage of civilians and civilian goods, subject only to security checks – an obligation that remains unfulfilled today.”

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.

  • robert emmet

    Even The Nazis didnt do this in their prime.

    • Heathcliff_Maw

      They did much worse. However, it is arguable that the only thing that prevents Israel from sinking to those depths is some sense of irony.

    • paulBass

      it's really important to keep things in proper proportion so that people will take these idea's seriously.
      alot of good honest people demand their government's support for abetting in and the circumvention of the law to protect,heinous crimes against humanity, war crimes,ethnic cleansing ect
      and because of that one reason, this country might just through its self off a cliff.
      so our side must really present it self as the reasonable people we are
      and not like the lunatics that are in power everywhere

  • JohnDowser

    More efficient than even the Germans between 1933 and 1945! And way more careful in not actually killing anyone perhaps only because secrecy is so hard to maintain in this connected day and age? But in effect I do not see a fundamental difference with that terrible precursor event: a large group of beings becoming feared, despised and being isolated without any hope the Problem will ever go away bar perhaps a Catastrophe?

    • Popsiq

      You don't mean another Holocaust do you? That is, after all, what ALL this is about.

      • richard vajs

        The Nazis meticulously counted and documented the calories of the food going into the ghettoes of Warsaw – I can't believe the stupidy of these Israelis. Or, maybe, they know perfectly well how weak and morally bullied-down the Americans and their NATO allies are.

  • sherban

    Gaza and WB is a shame for whole world.

  • Popsiq

    'Put the Gazans on a diet'. What's wrong with the current 'diet' of snack foods and ice lollies – the only kinds of 'unrestricted' food imports allowed. Fun treats for everybody. Nothing iinhumane about treats for the kids, nu.

    Even the SS knew that a sweet when they got off the train made the kiddies, and their moms, easier to work with.

  • tom dee

    from the diary of the second prime minister of Israel. Gaza is captured land and it is pretty clear that a lot of lies about who started the fight. Gaza was invaded in 1955 because Egypt nationalized the Canal. Why would that matter to Israel? It appears the wanted to attack before Egypt was armed by Russia. Today the people of Gaza starve under the brutal occupation by those who stole the land twice. From the diary of the second prime minister it is clear that Israel planned to attack all neighbors for the reason to expand the land holding of Israel. All the other stated reasons by Israel were lies.

    "the lack of seriousness exhibited by the [military brass, including Ben-Gurion] . . . in its approach to the affairs of the neighboring countries and especially toward the most complicated problem of Lebanon's internal and external situation was simply horrifying." (Righteous Victims, p. 498)
    When Israeli Foreign Ministry and Defense officials advised of initiating a [preventive] war against Egypt before it rebuilt its army, Moshe Sharett wrote in his diary on October 12th, 1955 :
    "What is our vision on this earth—war to the end of all generations and life by the sword?" (Iron Wall, p. 140)

  • curmudgeonvt

    Is there yet any doubt as to the level of depravity the Israelis will go to remove the Palestinians? It is long past due for the world to label the Israelis truly. They are a disease.

  • for sight

    Just wait until Israel has digested the Pals, and turn their greed eyes on the rest of the world. Don't expect any better treatment. Your either chosen or your not.

  • baz

    truly sickening to the stomach.

    i cant believe the government i pay taxes to condones this obscenity.

  • Anon

    Nazi see Nazi do. Such an abhorrent, shameful society. And to think our nation blindly supports such behavior

  • Jaime

    The Israelis really learned a lot form their Nazi victmizers.

  • jaycee

    It's important to also remember the flat denials and hysterical reactions from the senior Israeli leadership and their supporters when previously challenged about the existence of such a program.

  • Sure, the Nazis did the same. They've learned their techniques from the best.

  • paulBass

    in their defense they don't let clothing in either so, it kind of helps them not out grow the clothes they've got.

  • eastwood

    ……………and once again the world stands by and does NOTHING!
    The Zionist intimidation tactics work wonders.
    Anyone who objects to their criminal and sadistic behavior is immediately called a "fascist" or "antisemitic" and if that fails, they haul out the usual "HOLOCAUST" defense.
    As if that allows the Zionist criminals and their ultra religious side kicks to behave like depraved criminals and international terrorists.
    Time to draw a line in the sand free world! Wake up.

  • musings

    Interesting how the victims of such calculations go on to apply them to their own victims. But perhaps with a little more finesse: they don't want totally skeletal Gazans showing up like Warsaw ghetto inmates. They think it would be better simply to render them weak and unable to fight off colds and infections. If this is true, I believe it qualifies as a crime against humanity and could be tried as such. The problem is in proving it and having it out there for all to judge.

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