In world affairs, the strategy of “just pretend it isn’t happening” has an extremely poor track record. Nor is it true that, as the chief of medicine on Scrubs once put it, “if you don’t look for a mistake, you can’t find one.”

Now that the world has been forced to admit that there is no famine in Gaza, it has been made clear that Israel is letting plenty of food aid into the strip. Which means it’s time to admit something is happening to that food, and it isn’t Israel’s fault. From the Wall Street Journal:

Officials from the United Nations, the largest distributor of aid in Gaza, say that people are looting trucks when they reach Gaza, making it unsafe for their employees to deliver aid. By midafternoon on Monday, no U.N. trucks arrived to pick up aid from the Kerem Shalom crossing, where on Sunday Israel began a daily pause to fighting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. along a key north-south road used to deliver aid throughout much of Gaza. The Israeli military said 21 other trucks picked up supplies on Sunday.

“We need to keep people safe,” said Scott Anderson, the Gaza-based director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, a key group tasked with managing aid distribution in the Strip.

An official with the World Food Program, another U.N. agency that delivers aid to Gaza, also cited looting en route to WFP warehouses as hindering deliveries.

So UN trucks are allowed into Gaza, it’s just that the UN drivers don’t want to go because they fear Palestinian violence.

There are two possibilities here regarding who is committing that violence, and neither makes the international community look very good. Indeed, Israel’s critics would have egg on their face—if only the UN would agree to deliver the eggs.

Either Palestinian civilians are looting the aid, or Hamas (and Hamas-aligned gunmen) are doing so. Which means, to the UN delivery drivers, there isn’t functionally any difference: It’s still not safe enough to go.

The foot-dragging by the UN, however understandable it might be from a safety perspective, is in fact what Israeli officials have been pointing to for months. And what the UN and the Biden administration and our European allies have been pretending isn’t happening. But it is happening. And it has been happening all along.

Meanwhile, the discovery that four hostages in Nuseirat were held in “civilian” homes has apparently lifted the gag order on this aspect of the conflict as well. Ada Sagi, a 75-year-old peace activist from Nir Oz, was taken hostage on Oct. 7 and released about two months later in a deal with Israel. In a new interview with the BBC, Sagi offered some fascinating details about her captivity:

Ms Sagi describes how, when she was first taken into Gaza, she and some other hostages were hidden in a family home with children, but the following day taken to an apartment in the southern city of Khan Younis because it was “dangerous”.

The apartment owner, Ms Sagi said, told them his wife and children had been sent to stay with his in-laws. The man, she added, was a nurse.

She said students were being paid to watch over them. “I heard them say… 70 shekels [£14.82; $18.83] for a day,” she said.

“It’s a lot of money in Gaza because they have no work. And if you have work not with Hamas, it’s no more than 20 shekels for a day,” she said.

Hosting and guarding hostages appears to be lucrative work, but it is not civilian work. For a number of these hostages, most of the people they saw during their time in Gaza were such “civilians.” This was crushing for Sagi, because she—like many who lived in the Gaza Envelope—spent years working toward peace and coexistence between the Jews and Palestinians living so close to each other across the border. But Hamas’s atrocities have revealed that there was more than just a line in the sand between the kibbutz residents and their Gazan neighbors.

She learned Arabic and then taught the language to Israelis in the area in a bid to foster communication and find common ground. But now, “I don’t believe in peace, I don’t, sorry. I understand Hamas doesn’t want it.”

In fact, Sagi got a close look at the way Hamas has corrupted everything under its control. At one point, Sagi was one of at least 10 hostages who had been held at Nasser Hospital—another thing Israel had long said was happening.

Perhaps it would be prudent for Israel’s more strident accusers to ask themselves what else they’ve been wrong about.

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