Gaza: Famine is imminent

Featured image: Palestinians gather to collect aid in Gaza City. Source: Mahmoud Issa /Reuters

As part of the genocide being developed in Gaza by the State of Israel the people are suffering from rapidly increasing starvation. According to a recent report 1.1 million people, half of the population of Gaza, are experiencing “catastrophic food insecurity”, the 5th and last phase of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). The whole population in Gaza, 2.23 million people are facing high acute food insecurity. The rest of the population is mostly in phase 4 “emergency” while some are in phase 3 “crisis”.

The whole population of Gaza is facing high acute food insecurity. Source: IPC

In northern Gaza, the acute lack of food is far exceeding the threshold of famine, acute malnutrition has likely exceeded the threshold, and deaths from starvation are likely soon reaching the threshold of famine. According to a UN official the situation is headed toward more than 200 people dying from starvation every day. Already at least 27 children are reported to have died from starvation in the last weeks. The IPC projects that northern Gaza will start suffering from famine any time from now and May. Southern Gaza is projected to face famine by July.

A Palestinian boy suffering from acute malnutrition is treated in Rafah, Gaza. Source: Reuters

Since the 7th of October 2023, every hour in Gaza 15 people are killed, six of them children, 35 people are injured and 12 buildings are destroyed. In total at least 31,726 people have been killed by the State of Israel since the beginning of the current genocidal campaign. More than 73,792 people have been injured, more than 8,000 are missing, and half of Gaza’s homes have been destroyed or damaged.

While the imperialists are acting as if what is going on in Gaza is some kind of natural disaster, where the only thing they can do is try to give a little aid, what is happening is no mystery. Even officials of the Yankee-dominated UN imply that the State of Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war.

The laws of war, which the imperialist regularly negate it unless it fits their interests, are clearly defined and well known to any soldier in any army. Grave breaches of these laws are considered war crimes. Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states clearly that the State of Israel is responsible for the needs of the people under its occupation:

To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.

The facts about the situation in Gaza stated above shows clearly that the State of Israel is committing a war crime by breaking this law.

On the 26th of January the International Court of Justice (ICJ) made a preliminary ruling, which stated the following: “The State of Israel shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of this Convention.”

The British NGO Oxfam has denounced that despite the ICJ ruling the State of Israel is still deliberately blocking aid to Gaza. Among the ways the State of Israel is: blocking aid is creating choke points by only allowing aid via two crossings; imposing a bureaucratic inspection system which delays trucks for 20 days on average; and rejecting necessary supplies such as fuel, generators, protective gear and communication equipment, claiming that they can be used for military purposes.

By not only neglecting to provide the occupied population with nessesary supplies, but also blocking other parties from doing so, the State of Israel is also committing a war crime by breaking Article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This article requires States to “allow the free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital stores” intended only for civilians and “the free passage of all consignments of essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers and maternity cases”. Paragraph 2 of Article 70 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions broadens this obligation: “The Parties to the conflict and each High Contracting Party shall allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments, equipment and personnel provided in accordance with this Section, even if such assistance is destined for the civilian population of the adverse Party.

Paragraph 1 of Article 54 the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions defines using starvation as a weapon of war as a war crime: “Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited.

Furthermore Paragraph 2 of the Article states that: “It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.” In Gaza 83% of groundwater wells are reported to not be operational.

While ignoring the obvious war crimes committed by the State of Israel, the imperialists, acting like this is a natural disaster, tries to give the impression that they want to help the people of Gaza with insufficient measures such as their air drops. When these do not fall in the sea or kill people after failing to deploy parachutes, they are still a drop in the ocean for the starving Palestinians. German imperialism has deployed two transport aircraft for dropping aid in Gaza, however the aircraft can only carry 18 tons each. This is less than the capacity of a truck which carries around 20 tons. While the population of Gaza needs around 500 trucks of aid each day, only 2,874 trucks entered Gaza in February, less than 100 per day. The current trend is that the amount of aid is decreasing.

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