End killing and starvation in Gaza – CIDSE

End killing and starvation in Gaza

Cease-fire and access of aid NOW! CIDSE statement, May 2024

After more than 200 days of relentless Israeli bombing, complete siege, and a ground offensive in Gaza, the humanitarian situation is beyond catastrophic. Gaza has turned into a hell on earth. More than 34.400 Palestinians have been killed, among them more than 14.500 children and 9.500 women. 7000 people are still missing under the rubble. Around 76.000 Palestinians have been injured and 1.7 million forcibly displaced, most of them now living in makeshift shelters and tents. An estimated 133 hostages are still being kept by Hamas in dire circumstances.  

Despite international outcry, Israel has now started a ground invasion of Rafah. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are fleeing Rafah, with nowhere safe to go. UN Secretary General stated that this invasion would lead to an “an epic humanitarian disaster”. If the invasion is not stopped, it will have a devastating impact on the already insufficient entry of aid and fuel, and destroy the limited humanitarian system that is still functioning in the strip. It would lead to further unspeakable suffering and human toll for the people of Gaza.  

The relentless bombing, siege, restrictions on humanitarian access, and forcible displacement have caused a total collapse of Gaza’s food system. People are forced to buy food at exorbitant prices and depend on the little humanitarian aid that is entering the strip. Many families have resorted to animal fodder or grass in a desperate attempt to feed their children.  

The World Food Programme warns that time is running out for Gaza. In April, OCHA reported that at least 28 children that have died from malnutrition and dehydration. In Northern Gaza, 31% of children under 2 are suffering from acute malnutrition. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) projected in its latest report that famine was imminent in northern Gaza and that the entire strip including more than 1 million children is facing acute hunger unless more food is allowed into Gaza. In addition, UNWRA also fears that with the rising summer temperature, the lack of sufficient clean water could lead to even more death and disease.  

Despite Israel’s obligations under the Geneva convention, and despite the explicit measures taken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ordering Israel to ensure aid enters Gaza immediately and effectively, this has not happened so far. On the contrary, Israel has repeatedly targeted convoys and humanitarian workers, to date 243 have been killed, the highest number in modern times. Civilians seeking to collect aid have also been attacked. This led to strong condemnation by UN experts stating that “Israel must end its campaign of starvation and targeting of civilians”. The deliberate use of starvation as a weapon of war by Israel is a crime that must be prosecuted and punished to protect the most basic human rights and human dignity.  

CIDSE members’ partners in Gaza, such as the organisation GUPAP, the platform for urban Agroecological policies and food sovereignty in Palestine are doing all they can to locally produce and provide food to the people in Gaza (support their vital work here). But, unfortunately, this is only a drop in the ocean. What is needed is for Gaza to be completely flooded with aid. Therefore, an immediate cease-fire is needed as well as effective political pressure on Israel to ensure aid effectively enters through all border crossings.  

Therefore, CIDSE urges the EU and its member states to:  

  • Continue to demand an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.  
  • Ensure that Israel allows the immediate and full access for humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, in compliance with the ICJ provisional measures.  
  • Continue to work toward the immediate release of all the hostages.  
  • Take effective measures such as suspending the association agreement with Israel pending a review based on the human rights clause (Art. 2) in the agreement and suspending all weapons trade with Israel.  

CIDSE contact: Dorien Vanden Boer, Policy Officer (vandenboer(at)cidse.org)

Cover photo: A charity organisation distributes food, “Takiya,” to displaced Palestinians, in the Gaza Strip. 9 February 2024. Credit: Anas-Mohammed.

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