| Children waiting for food in Gaza Photo UNRWA | MR Online Children waiting for food in Gaza. (Photo: UNRWA)

Israel is starving Palestinians to death while the world watches

Originally published: Peoples Democracy on March 19, 2024 by Abdul Rahman (more by Peoples Democracy)  | (Posted Mar 21, 2024)

UN agencies have repeatedly condemned Israel’s refusal to expedite the process of aid delivery to Gaza which has been under siege by Israel for nearly six months. This is despite repeated calls for urgency in the context of critical humanitarian conditions which are becoming worse with each passing day.

According to the latest alerts issued by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) on March 18, most of northern Gaza would move into the category five indicating the highest stage of food insecurity or catastrophic levels of hunger. The IPC explains that this would mean that Palestinian households would face “an extreme lack of food and extremely critical levels of acute malnutrition.”

The IPC has assessed that the region which continues to face Israeli bombing and ground offensive already faces category four levels of malnutrition with huge gaps between need and actual availability of food.

UNRWA has already confirmed that one in three children in northern Gaza are malnourished. In the last few weeks over 25 children have died due to the same. The situation in other parts of Gaza is approaching similar levels at an alarming speed.

The same day that the IPC released its findings, Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, was denied entry to Gaza by Israeli authorities. In a post on X, Lazzarini wrote,

UNRWA has by far the largest presence among all humanitarian organizations in Gaza. My visit today was supposed to coordinate & improve the humanitarian response.

He added,

This man-made starvation under our watch is a stain on our collective humanity. Too much time was wasted, all land crossings must open now. Famine can be averted with political will.

The UNRWA head also noted that over 1.1 million people in Gaza facing phase five levels of starvation “is the highest number of people ever recorded as facing catastrophic hunger and is double the number of just three months ago.”

Beth Bechdol, deputy director general of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) told Al-Jazeera on Tuesday that, almost half of the total population of Gaza is at the acute level of malnutrition and at the risk of ultimately death.

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) stated on Sunday that thousands of Palestinian children in Gaza are so malnourished that they do not have enough “energy to cry.”

Over 13,000 Palestinian children have been killed in the Israeli war on Gaza which began on October 7. According to different UN agencies, as many children have been injured and now hundreds of thousands are being forced into starvation by Israel.

UNICEF’s Executive Director Catherine Russell had earlier made similar assertions saying that there are “very great bureaucratic challenges” which prevent the humanitarian aid to reach two million Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel has restricted the entry of the aid through land borders using different kinds of excuses, for example presence of scissors in the aid boxes or alleged overcrowding of Palestinians at aid distribution centers among others.

James Elder, UNICEF spokesperson, called the blocking of aid supplies to Gaza “outrageous.” He posted on X showing hundreds of trucks with humanitarian aid stranded at the Rafah border as Israel has not allowed them to enter Gaza.


Adele Khodr, UNICEF’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa called for the opening of all crossings. “The world’s inaction is shocking as more children succumb to slow death. All border crossing must open now to allow unfettered access to humanitarian aid” Khodr said in the tweet on Tuesday.

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