EU's Borrell says Israel using starvation as 'weapon of war' in Gaza

EU's Borrell says Israel using starvation as 'weapon of war' in Gaza
The European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell has accused Israel of using the starvation of the people of Gaza as a means of warfare.
2 min read
13 March, 2024
Josep Borrell says that Israel is deliberately obstructing aid into Gaza to use starvation as a means of warfare [Getty]

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday that Israel is deliberately using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza.

Addressing the UN Security Council in New York, Borrell stated that the lack of aid entering the Palestinian enclave is "manmade".

"This humanitarian crisis... is not a natural disaster, is not a flood, is not an earthquake, it is manmade," the EU diplomat said.

This comes as aid agencies warned that land routes are the quickest and most effective method of getting aid into the starving territory, yet Israeli restrictions on such routes mean that only a fraction of the necessary aid is getting in.

This has seen aid efforts shift away from land routes to other methods, such as by air and, most recently, sea.

A Spanish vessel loaded with critically needed food supplies departed from Cyprus towards Gaza on Tuesday, although the UN has stated that this, as well as airdrops, do not substitute for land-based aid delivery.

In a preliminary ruling in January that stated Israel was plausibly committing genocide in Gaza, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also ordered Tel Aviv to “facilitate immediate humanitarian aid to Gaza”.

However, human rights agencies and the UN have both noted that Israel has failed to live up to this demand, with famine now looming in the Strip, conditions Borrell says are being deliberately created by Tel Aviv.

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“[The humanitarian crisis is] manmade and when we look for alternative ways of providing support by sea, by air, we have to remind [ourselves] that we have to do it because the natural way of providing support through roads is being... artificially closed [by Israel],” he said during his address in New York.

“Starvation is being used as a war arm and when we condemned this happening in Ukraine, we have to use the same words for what is happening in Gaza,” he added.

Borrell’s comments comes as the UN warned that at least 576,000 people in Gaza, roughly one quarter of the population, were living one step away from famine.

In the last two weeks, 27 Palestinians, many of whom are children, have died due to malnutrition, dehydration and the effects of starvation.