Did You Donate to Send Food to Gaza? Think again



These and many other appeals from international relief organizations have motivated untold numbers of compassionate and generous souls to open their purses. You may be among them. If so, you may have thought that these organizations are delivering food, medicine and other relief supplies to Gaza. But they are not.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) confirms that not a single truck with relief aid has crossed the border from Egypt to Gaza since Israeli troops captured the Rafah border crossing on May 7, 2024, more than a month ago.  Until then, the Rafah crossing was the only one open. Today, roughly 1800 mostly large 18-wheel trucks, each carrying up to 12 tons of supplies, are backed up into the Sinai Desert, waiting for Israeli permission to enter. Some have been there for months. And some of those trucks belong to the relief organizations. But they, like all the others, are not getting in.

Many of the organizations also announce that, thanks to your donations, they have provided hundreds of thousands or even millions of meals to starving Palestinians in Gaza. What they do not necessarily tell you is that they are doing this by purchasing food and medicine from the dwindling supplies inside Gaza.

The bottom line is that your money is reaching the relief organization’s operations in Gaza, but food, water and medical supplies are not. The amount of food in Gaza is dwindling, and Israel is allowing only a tiny trickle to enter by isolated air drops, a single delivery by sea and occasional vehicles through the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel. For a pre-October 7th population of 2.3 million, this is nothing.

As the supplies shrink inside Gaza, the prices rise, and your donations increase the prices further. The same applies to all the needs of the population. More money chasing fewer goods. At some point, no amount of money will buy food or medicine in Gaza. Already, Palestinians are dying of starvation, malnutrition and diseases caused by reduced resistance. These are not often reported, because they are not victims of violent slaughter, and because the hospitals, clinics and mortuaries that would have reported them to the Ministry of Health – who would have tallied them – no longer exist. The Ministry of Health barely exists, while the weak die anonymously, buried by their families and communities. Some estimates of such casualties are already in the hundreds of thousands.

It’s not that the relief agencies are not performing a worthwhile service. They are enabling increasingly scarce supplies to reach larger numbers of destitute people while they last. But they will not last, and the relief organizations are unable to bring additional supplies. Furthermore, they are mostly failing to be forthright with you by reporting these facts. Instead, they are projecting an image of success, with the result that you might think that they are maintaining a lifeline when in fact Gaza is heading to complete depletion of the few resources that remain.

This is what Israel intends. If the food is distributed equitably, a large proportion of the population will survive until the day there is nothing left. Then everyone will starve at the same time, and the genocide will be accomplished quickly with the last loaves of bread costing $1000 apiece. And the humanitarian relief organizations will not have warned you.

Paul Larudee is a retired academic and current administrator of a nonprofit human rights and humanitarian aid organization. Read other articles by Paul.