On the PBS edition of Amanpour & Co. this week, host Christiane Amanpour wept over “Israel’s siege on Gaza,” which meant (according to this written introduction) that “basic necessities like food, water, medicine and fuel are close to running out completely.”
Amanpour talked to UN Relief Chief Martin Griffiths, who gullibly found Hamas’s fatality numbers reliable and ridiculously compared Israel’s hunting down of Hamas to the Khmer Rouge, all with the host’s approval — and airing on tax-funded PBS (after showing on CNN International). She also couldn’t understand why Israel doesn’t trust the fatality numbers emanating from Hamas.
Griffiths did Hamas’s media strategy work for them by not pointing out it runs the Ministry of Health in Gaza, and turning Hamas’s evil tactic of hiding among the civilian population. All while blaming Israel.
But can UNRWA be trusted? UN Watch has documented many examples of UNRWA endorsing anti-Jewish violence and pushing anti-Semitic education materials. UNRWA has 5,000 staff in Gaza but didn’t let on about the Hamas military infrastructure under Gaza’s hospitals, or that hostages were taken to at least one hospital.
Host Amanpour, who was relatively tough on Hamas after the terrorist invasion, at least by the pathetic standards of the mainstream press, didn’t understand why Israel didn’t believe the Hamas terrorists.
PBS Amanpour & Co.
1:36:45 a.m. (ET)
MARTIN GRIFFITHS, UN UNDERSECRETARY GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: As you know, we’ve called for an immediate ceasefire, which is a long term stopping of the fighting. But that doesn’t mean to say that we wouldn’t grab the opportunity of any time when the fighting stops to get much more aid in. So I hope this works for the sake of the hostages first and their families. But also, because I think it’ll give us a chance to do our job in Gaza.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: So you have been, you know, on the front line of this since the beginning. But you’ve also been UN special envoy and advisor to many, many, many issues. Yemen, Syria, you’ve been in UNICEF, you’ve been doing this for a long time, head of relief operations, NGOs, the whole lot. Have you ever seen anything like this? Well, how do you assess what’s happening right now in terms of humanitarian needs in Gaza?
GRIFFITHS: The worst ever, Christiane, and I don’t say that lightly. I mean, I started off in my 20s dealing with the Khmer Rouge. And you remember how bad that was, the killing fields and so forth. But 68% of the people killed in Gaza are women and children. They stopped counting the numbers of children killed after thousand had been counted.
Nobody goes to school in Gaza. Nobody knows what their future is. Hospitals have become place of war, not of curing. Now, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before. It’s complete and utter carnage.
GRIFFITHS: Whatever it is, as you know, the Israeli say 1,200 of their people were slaughtered on October 7th and as we know, around 240 hostages were taken, including babies, old people, infirm, et cetera. The Palestinian authorities say that 12,000 plus people have been killed in Gaza.
We believe you’ve said 68% are women and children. There must be a combination of civilians and I suppose combatants. But how do you analyze the pushback from the Israeli sometimes even the Americans that we can’t even trust these numbers? How long have you been relying on Palestinian Ministry of Health numbers? How accurate have they been over the years and now we’re having to say, you know, Hamas run or authorities in Ramallah. Can you break all that down for us?
GRIFFITHS: Yes. UNRWA, which has been there for these many, many decades, as you know, running these institutions, helping other institutions to function. They — and we in my office have indeed been using the statistics provider, for example, for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, and have triangulated them over the years to make sure that we feel confident about them.
So we have a long history. We don’t put these figures out without thought. And I think people can trust us, enough to know that when we say these things, it’s pretty likely to be close to the truth.
And frankly, the extent of it, the numbers are so awful that it’s kind of academic wondering whether there is a few thousand here or there. The fact that there are more children killed in this conflict than in any other that we can think of ever, as my secretary general has said, we don’t need to worry about whether there is 100 more or 100 less except if you’re in the hundred. You just have to recognize, this is as bad as it gets.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: So Martin Griffiths, with all your experience, why do you think the Israelis, the spokespeople, the government, people who speak on behalf of them, are so fixated on the fact that we shouldn’t believe these figures this time? I’ve never seen it before.
GRIFFITHS: Well, you are much more familiar than I am, Christiane. So I think that’s very interesting you should say that.
I think it’s because, first of all, that October the 7th was an absolute horrific nightmare. I’m among those people who’ve seen the compilation videos of what happened on those days and the trauma it clearly and understandably has caused to many, many families in Israel.
Number two, the numbers — 11,000, 13,000, whatever it is in Gaza — killed. The numbers displaced — four out of five people alive in Gaza, displaced. 1.6 million people no longer at their homes.
Of course, you can understand why Israel would challenge these figures, because they are so horrific and they have led to such a global reaction. Gaza is a global crisis, as you know. It’s not just a crisis about Gaza.
It’s a crisis about humanity. It’s a crisis which affects politicians across the world. It’s a crisis which brings people out into the streets in great numbers. And it’s a crisis which destroys our faith built up over many decades that war should not be the first option.
And I’m terrified to see that in this case, that’s not true. War has become the option of the day. And the suffering that comes from it is astronomical.
AMANPOUR: You mentioned your secretary general, who called the deaths in Gaza, I believe he used the words “unparalleled” and “unprecedented”. You are also, you know, again, the front line of some kind of global attempt to alleviate suffering and relief wherever it happens. And generally, you’re also part of peacekeeping missions.
Obviously, that’s not the case here. I ask you two questions. One, the Secretary General has said he does not believe that U.N. Blue Helmets should be part of a post war peacekeeping or protectorate or any of that kind of stuff. People are already talking about the post-war.
Why do you think he’s saying that? Why not the U.N.?
GRIFFITHS: Well, I think he’s saying that in order to not to project the idea that the U.N. is easily capable of finding a quick solution to the very, very real problem, which is, what is going to happen in Gaza to Gazans after this war has, I hope ended.
It is good, I think, that he’s beginning to talk about this subject. The more that people discuss what needs to happen after the war, the better. But there is no question. There needs to be an answer to the question about how Palestinian — Palestine is to be administered. And more importantly what about that two-state solution that’s been put on the backburner for all these years? Is that now actually going to get the attention that it deserves as the result of the killings of these innocent civilians? Gosh, I hope that at least we could hope for.
So, I’m not surprised he hasn’t offered a sort of golden bullet to solve this problem. But I think he’s right to point out, we have a problem ahead and we need to discuss it.
AMANPOUR: Does it also go to the fact that, for whatever reason, the Israelis just don’t trust you, just don’t like him. You remember the foreign minister Eli Cohen called on Guterres to resign at the beginning of this for one of the things he said. How difficult is it for you to operate in a humanitarian field when one of the participants just doesn’t trust you?
GRIFFITHS: Well, we negotiate daily and nightly with the Israelis. I was there recently. They did grant me a visa. And I went there and met with them.
And I met the president, for example, as well as the representative of the foreign ministry. We do negotiate with the Israelis daily, as well as with the Egyptians.
All of these agreements about the amount of fuel, the number of trucks, the opening of new crossings or not, as the case may be, they all come out of negotiations with Israel.
So it’s not as if we are not negotiating with the Israelis. But it is also the case that we cannot be silent when either from Israel or from Hamas or from any other party. When there is a breach of international humanitarian law, we have an obligation to speak out for…