Over Two Thirds of Jewish Israelis Oppose Humanitarian Aid to Palestinians Starving in Gaza

This is a shocking data point. The Israeli Democracy Institute released a survey this week showing that over 2/3 of Jewish Israelis – 68% that is – opposed “the transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza residents at this time.” 

It gets even worse – the survey lowered the bar to exclude any possible opposition to either UNRWA (which Israel has been inciting against) or the Hamas authorities (which Israel considers terrorists). To no avail. Over two-thirds still oppose humanitarian help “via international bodies that are not linked to Hamas or to UNRWA… A majority of Jewish respondents (68%) oppose the transfer of humanitarian aid even under these conditions,” the survey notes.

The numbers are worse when it comes to right-wing Jewish Israelis, where the opposition is at 80% – four out of five. And consider that about 2/3 of Israeli voters are considered right-wing. 

One really has to pause here. We are in a situation where Palestinians in Gaza are starving, people are consuming animal feed in their desperation. The week the UN’s World Food Programme reported people in Gaza are “already dying from hunger-related causes,” and a UNICEF nutrition screening in north Gaza found that 1 in 6 children under two years old are acutely malnourished. Israelis are not completely ignorant of this. They are supporting genocide by an overwhelming majority. 

It is now mainstream within Israeli society to discuss from which age it is acceptable for children to be starved. A recent discussion on the mainstream public broadcaster news program reached a consensus between a former Mossad official and the veteran host that children over the age of 4 were legitimate to starve. 

Much of the world, including the United States, seems to be in denial at quite how murderously and explicitly genocidal Israeli society really is. Nancy Pelosi keeps talking about Israel as “the only democracy in the region” while Israelis themselves are supporting the starvation of children. People just don’t seem to get it. 

Humanitarian help was one of the main points of the January 26 International Court of Justice order that was issued when the court found it plausible Israel is committing genocide, as charged by South Africa. It was point 4 of the 6, stating that: 

“The State of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.” 

Even the ad-hoc Israeli judge Aharon Barak, who voted against 4 out of the 6 urgent measures, voted for this one (it was passed 16-1, with the Ugandan judge Julia Sabutinde, who voted against absolutely all measures, being the outlier). 

This is such a basic thing, such a basic requirement – even in war. When you oppose such a basic matter, it becomes something else than war – it becomes genocide. As we are seeing.

This poll only seems to confirm what we already have been seeing. Israeli protesters have been holding up aid trucks at the southern border near Rafah. One could be tempted to frame these as fringe extremists – but the poll shows they are in the mainstream. The poll also affirms that Israeli leaders like Defense Minister Yoav Galant, who said at the beginning of the genocide, “I have ordered a full siege on the Gaza Strip – no power, no food, no gas, everything is closed – we are fighting human animals and we act accordingly,” are really representative of the wider population.    

This is the worst level of dehumanization in Israeli society that I can remember since I was born there 52 years ago. Of course, this dehumanization didn’t start on October 7, and it existed way before I was born and even before the state existed. But now it seems to be culminating. Israelis don’t seem to care anymore about even maintaining a semblance of liberalism – they’ve gone into full genocide mode. And when I say dehumanization, it’s not only the Palestinians who are being dehumanized in this process. Israelis are reducing themselves to a level of barbarism. It’s really something that we have done to ourselves while convincing ourselves that taking tens of thousands of Palestinian lives will somehow redeem us from this abyss. It won’t.  

Originally published (Mondoweiss)

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