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Israel starving Palestinians, Arab states lining their pockets

Tehran Times – Extreme hunger and severe malnutrition have become increasingly widespread in the Gaza Strip as Israel continues to impose restrictions on the entry of food and other essentials to the Palestinian territory against the backdrop of the genocidal war that it has launched on the coastal strip since October 7.

The dire humanitarian situation in Gaza has worsened since the regime of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu carried out a ground offensive in the territory’s southernmost city of Rafah. 
The onslaught, which was launched on May 6, further disrupted deliveries of humanitarian aid and forced over a million people to flee Rafah. Prior to the offensive, more than half of Gaza’s population had sought refuge in the city amid Israel’s strikes in other parts of the Gaza Strip. A UN-backed group of experts said Tuesday that the Rafah onslaught has left more than 500,000 Palestinians on the brink of starvation.

“The fact that the entire population of Gaza is at emergency levels of hunger with over 500,000 people on the brink of starvation is no surprise. The Rafah offensive ground the aid response to a halt, thwarting the ability of humanitarian organizations to mitigate the suffering of 2.15 million people,” said Kate Phillips-Barrasso, vice president of global policy and advocacy at Mercy Corps. 

Threat of famine

Israel closed the main crossing for aid deliveries after its ground incursion into Rafah. 
The latest analysis by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which assesses global food insecurity and malnutrition, shows that Palestinians throughout the Gaza Strip face a “plausible” risk of famine in the coming months.

As soon as launching the Gaza onslaught on October 7, Israel concentrated its military offensive in northern Gaza. The regime’s army devastated large parts of that area and ordered Palestinians to flee to southern areas. However, it carried out deadly strikes in southern areas, which had already been designated as safe zones.

The IPC report further warned that southern Gaza could soon see the same “catastrophic levels of hunger” recorded previously in the north. “A high risk of famine persists as long as conflict continues, and humanitarian access is restricted,” the IPC analysis added.  

Extreme brutality 

In addition to largely restricting aid, Israeli troops have opened fire on Palestinians waiting for humanitarian relief from a limited number of trucks that have been allowed to enter the Gaza Strip. 
Israeli troops have also killed more than 200 humanitarian workers since early October. This includes 193 employees of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

Aid operations under fire  

The United Nations has taken a jab at Israel for targeting humanitarian workers in Gaza. 
“Humanitarian operations have repeatedly been in the crosshairs in Gaza,” the spokesman of UN Secretary General António Guterres told reporters Tuesday.
Stéphane Dujarric added “humanitarian workers have been killed [and] shot at,” including in areas previously “deconflicted” with the Israeli army. 

Deliberate starvation  

The UN special rapporteur on the right to food said some four months ago that such Israeli measures are synonymous with war crimes. “Intentionally depriving people of food is clearly a war crime. Israel has announced its intention to destroy the Palestinian people, in whole or in part, simply for being Palestinian. In my view as a UN human rights expert, this is now a situation of genocide. This means the state of Israel in its entirety is culpable and should be held accountable – not just individuals or this government or that person,” Michael Fakhri told the Guardian in late February. 
The Rome statute of the International Criminal Court has also stipulated that intentionally starving civilians by “depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including willfully impeding relief supplies” is a war crime.

Child killers 

Israeli has slaughtered more than 37,700 Palestinians in Gaza since October 7 and injured over 86,000 others. According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, nearly 15,000 children are among those who have been killed over the past 260 days.  This includes dozens of children who have succumbed to malnutrition. 

The bottom line matters! 

The pain and suffering of Palestinians in Gaza is not restricted to the nine-month war. Before the conflict, most Gazans were already reliant on international humanitarian assistance in the wake of the years-long blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt.

Western countries have time and again issued statements condemning Israel for continuing its brutal campaign in Gaza but have failed to take any practical measures in this regard.
Arab countries which claim to be the defenders of Palestinians have also failed to come up with any actions to bring an end to Israel’s barbaric crimes against Palestinians. 

Earlier this month, a report by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics revealed that exports from Egypt, the UAE and Jordan to Israel have increased in 2024 compared with a year earlier. 
The report shows that Arab states prioritize trade with Israel over the lives of Palestinians who are grappling with looming famine and starved to death by the Israeli regime. 

by Shahrokh Saei

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