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UN Experts Say Famine Has Hit Gaza

Palestinians line up for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024

In January, the International Court of Justice ruled in a preliminary hearing that it is “plausible” that Israel committed acts that violated the Genocide Convention. It ordered Israel to take action to prevent genocide in Gaza.The whole of Gaza is suffering under famine, ten top UN experts said in a statement released on Tuesday.“We declare that Israel’s intentional and targeted starvation campaign against the Palestinian people is a form of genocidal violence and has resulted in famine across all of Gaza,” the group which included Michael Fakhri, special rapporteur on the right to food, Francesca Albanese, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Paula Gaviria Betancur, special rapporteur on human rights of internally displaced people and others.The group does not represent the UN as a whole but declared that famine in Gaza can no longer be denied, noting three children who have died from malnutrition across Gaza recently.“Fayez Ataya, who was barely six months old, died on 30 May 2024 and 13-year-old Abdulqader Al-Serhi died on 1 June 2024 at the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah. Nine-year-old Ahmad Abu Reida died on 3 June 2024 in the tent sheltering his displaced family in Al-Mawasi, Khan Younis. All three children died from malnutrition and lack of access to adequate healthcare,” the statement read.“With the death of these children from starvation despite medical treatment in central Gaza, there is no doubt that famine has spread from northern Gaza into central and southern Gaza,” it continued.The statement accused Israel of enacting an “intentional and targeted starvation campaign against the Palestinian people” which it called “a form of genocidal violence” that has spread the famine “across all of Gaza.”WorldReport: Israeli Settlers, IDF Team Up to Destroy Gaza Aid Amid ‘Full-Blown Famine’27 May, 04:17 GMTTwo days after the Hamas-led surprise attack on Israel which resulted in 1,189 deaths, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared a “complete siege” of Gaza. “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed,” describing Palestinians as “human animals” and warning the Israeli military would act “accordingly.”The experts also criticized the international community, saying that stronger action against Israel should have taken place earlier.“When a 2-month-old baby and 10-year-old Yazan Al Kafarneh died of hunger on 24 February and 4 March respectively, this confirmed that famine had struck northern Gaza. The whole world should have intervened earlier to stop Israel’s genocidal starvation campaign and prevented these deaths,” the experts said. “Thirty-four Palestinians have died from malnutrition since 7 October, the majority being children. Inaction is complicity.”In response to the statement, Israel accused the experts of working for Hamas, saying that the experts “are as much accustomed to spreading misinformation, as they are to supporting Hamas propaganda and shielding the terrorist organizations from scrutiny.”Israel pointed to a UN-backed study published last month by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Famine Review Committee (FRC) as evidence that famine had not taken over Gaza yet. While that report noted that aid had increased in Northern Gaza it also noted that “the situation in Gaza remains catastrophic” and that the slightly improved situation “should not allow room for complacency about the risk of Famine in the coming weeks and months.”WorldIsraeli Strike on School in Southern Gaza Strip Kills 29 — Gaza’s Gov’tYesterday, 21:00 GMTThe IPC/FRC report also stated that there remains a “high and sustained risk of Famine persists across the whole of the Gaza Strip as long as conflict continues, and humanitarian access is restricted,” adding that due to the increased vulnerability of the population, famine could “occur at any time during the projection period [June 16 — September 30].”On Friday, the Lancet medical journal issued a “conservative estimate” saying that 186,000 Palestinians in Gaza have likely been killed by Israel since October through direct and indirect deaths.

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