Food being used as a weapon of war in Gaza
People with family in Gaza summed it up like this: “It’s a nightmare.” This week Oxfam declared that starvation is being used as a weapon by Israel in Gaza.
“Starvation is being used as a weapon of war against Gaza civilians,” said the news release as it renewed its call for food, water, fuel and other essentials to be allowed to enter.
While a few dozen trucks have been permitted by Egypt to pass through the crossing at Rafah into Gaza, Oxfam says it is not enough by far.
Prior to the hostilities, 104 trucks a day would deliver food to the besieged Gaza Strip, one truck every 14 minutes. The international agency analyzed UN data and found that just 2 percent of food that would have been delivered has entered Gaza since the total siege began on October 9.
Seaports, the airspace, and all other land crossings to Gaza are controlled by Israel, and the Rafah crossing is closely controlled by Egypt which, like Israel, considers Hamas a terrorist organization.
Following the murderous attacks by Hamas and the taking of Israeli civilian hostages, the existing blockade was tightened dramatically. Oxfam reports that a staggering 2.2 million people are now in urgent need of food.
Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam’s Regional Middle East Director said, “The situation is nothing short of horrific – where is humanity? Millions of civilians are being collectively punished in full view of the world, there can be no justification for using starvation as a weapon of war. World leaders cannot continue to sit back and watch, they have an obligation to act and to act now.
“Every day the situation worsens. Children are experiencing severe trauma from the constant bombardment, their drinking water is polluted or rationed and soon families may not be able to feed them too. How much more are Gazans expected to endure?”
International Humanitarian Law (IHL) strictly prohibits the use of starvation as a method of warfare and as the occupying power in Gaza, Israel is bound by IHL obligations to provide for the needs and protection of the population of Gaza. In 2018, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2417, which unanimously condemned the use of starvation against civilians as a method of warfare and declared any denial of humanitarian access a violation of international law. Oxfam said that it is becoming painfully clear that the unfolding humanitarian situation in Gaza squarely fits the prohibition condemned in the resolution.
Oxfam is urging the UN Security Council and UN Member States to act immediately to prevent the situation from deteriorating even further. And is calling for an immediate ceasefire, unfettered, equitable access to the entire Gaza Strip for humanitarian aid, and all necessary food, water, medical and fuel supplies for the needs of the population to be met.
- Read “Starvation as weapon of war being used against Gaza civilians – Oxfam” posted on Oxfam.org on October 25, 2023
(Cover: Palestinians receive food rations from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warehouse the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 14, 2022. Via Shutterstock.)