Urgent Statement on Israel’s Use of Starvation as a Weapon of War in Gaza

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Urgent Statement on Israel’s Use of Starvation as a Weapon of War in Gaza

Urgent Statement on Israel’s Use of Starvation as a Weapon
of War in Gaza

11 October 2023

For five days, Israel has attacked
Gaza with the aim of total destruction, and the situation is at an
unprecedented level of urgency. Israel’s actions have amounted to a
humanitarian catastrophe of unfathomable proportions. At the time of
publication, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reports 1,055 martyrs and
approximately 5,184 injured.

Israel has declared a total warfare stance on Gaza,
imposing a ruthless blockade that denies over two million Palestinian residents
of Gaza access to electricity, water, food, fuel, medical supplies, and any
humanitarian aid. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant explicitly stated this strategy on 9 October
2023, saying: “We are imposing a complete siege on [Gaza]. No electricity,
no food, no water, no fuel – everything is closed. We are fighting human
animals, and we act accordingly.”

Israel’s deliberate use of starvation as a weapon of war
demands the international community immediately respond with unwavering urgency
and resolve.

Israel is indiscriminately
decimating hospitals, schools, mosques, markets, and entire neighborhoods.
Further, Israel threatened Egypt that it would bomb humanitarian aid deliveries
to Gaza, prompting Egypt to withdraw its aid convoys. The Rafah Crossing into
Egypt, the sole international exit from Gaza, has been bombed by Israel three times in a
24-hour period. This calculated assault severs Gazans’ only means of escape
from ceaseless bombings or access to essential humanitarian aid. With Israel
cutting off Gaza’s source of electricity, the only source of power was the Gaza
Power Plant, which has just run out of fuel. In the case that
it receives more fuel, Israel has threatened to attack the plant.

Israel’s assault is deliberately
destroying any infrastructure that allows Gazans to support themselves. Vital
agricultural and fishing infrastructure, crucial for food production, have been
mercilessly attacked. Fisher folk cannot access the sea, into which sewage is
spilling. The seaport is damaged, and tools are obliterated. Farming areas,
often near the fence, have become vulnerable targets in Israeli airstrikes, and
farmers whose land has not been destroyed cannot access it for daily
agricultural practices. The Ministry of Agriculture reports that the bombing
has done immense damage to agricultural areas and poultry farms, but the
conditions make it impossible to precisely assess the situation in the field.
There is a catastrophic decrease in food stocks, with shops across Gaza
reporting severe shortages. The land and sea will face unimaginable
environmental damages following these attacks, further preventing efforts to
rebuild livelihoods.

Israel’s strategy aims to ensure that those who survive the
bombs are condemned to a future without sustenance.

OCHA reports that the assaults have disrupted
the UNRWA food operation, impacting at least 112,759 families. The poultry and
livestock sectors are on the brink of collapse due to the severe shortage of
fodder, endangering the livelihoods of more than 1,000 herders and affecting
over 10,000 producers. This jeopardizes the provision of animal protein and the
availability of meat and fresh sources of protein for Gaza’s entire population.
Transportation of poultry to markets has virtually halted, and dairy cattle
milk cannot be refrigerated nor marketed to factories, resulting in an expected
daily spoilage of 35,000 liters of milk. More than 4,000 fisheries are at risk
due to the closure of the sea. Gaza’s agriculture, poultry, cattle, fish, and
other products are suffering from a lack of refrigeration, irrigation,
incubation, and other machinery due to electricity cuts, causing spoilage.

Israel’s use of these tactics is not
new by any means. Before Saturday, around 65% of the Gazan population was
food insecure. More than 46% of the agricultural land in
Gaza was inaccessible, and the fishing industry was severely struggling since
fishing off the coast of Gaza has been restricted by Israel to 3 to 6 nautical

Food insecurity is a human-made crisis, and Israel is manufacturing a mass
starvation of the Gazan people.

It is the moral and legal obligation
of the international community to intervene and end this crisis immediately.
Food, as a basic necessity, must be allowed to reach the people of Gaza, and
the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure must cease without delay.

We call upon the international community to take immediate
action to stop Israel’s massacre of the Gazan population, demand the lifting of
the siege, and establish humanitarian corridors for entry of aid.