UN experts say Gaza children dying in Israel's 'starvation campaign' amid war

UN experts say Gaza children dying in Israel's 'starvation campaign' amid war
The UN's conclusion on Israel's starvation tactics in Gaza comes as the death toll of those dying of malnutrition in the enclave has risen to 34.
3 min read
Food insecurity levels in Gaza are sky-high, resulting in cases of malnutrition [Getty/file photo]

UN rights experts on Tuesday accused Israel of carrying out a "targeted starvation campaign" that has resulted in the deaths of children in Gaza.

"Israel's intentional and targeted starvation campaign against the Palestinian people is a form of genocidal violence and has resulted in famine across all of Gaza," 10 independent United Nations experts said in a statement.

The UN has not officially declared a famine in the Gaza Strip.

But the experts, including the UN special rapporteur on the right to food Michael Fakhri, insisted there was no denying famine was under way.

"Thirty-four Palestinians have died from malnutrition since 7 October, the majority being children," said the experts, who are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, but who do not speak on behalf of the United Nations.

Complicit 

The UN experts meanwhile listed three children who had recently died "from malnutrition", after a number of others were said to have starved to death in northern Gaza earlier this year.

Six-month-old Fayez Ataya and 13-year-old Abdulqader Al-Serhi had died on May 30 and June 1 at Gaza's Al-Aqsa Hospital, while nine-year-old Ahmad Abu Reida died on June 3 in the tent sheltering his displaced family in Khan Younis, they said.

"With the death of these children from starvation despite medical treatment in central Gaza, there is no doubt that famine has spread from northern Gaza into central and southern Gaza," they said.

The experts decried that the world had not done more to avert this disaster.

"When a two-month-old baby and 10-year-old Yazan Al Kafarneh died of hunger on 24 February and 4 March respectively, this confirmed that famine had struck northern Gaza," they said.

"The whole world should have intervened earlier to stop Israel's genocidal starvation campaign and prevented these deaths."

"Inaction is complicity."

Gaza has been facing a deep humanitarian crisis since the war erupted following the outbreak of Israel's war on Gaza, which has killed at least 38,243 Palestinians as of Tuesday. Much of the territory has been devastated, while Gazans struggle to find adequate food and shelter as they flee Israeli violence.

'Starvation warfare'

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that 60 cases of severe acute malnutrition, also known as severe wasting - the most deadly form of malnutrition - had been detected last week at the Kamal Adwan paediatric hospital in the north of the Strip.

The UN has long been warning of looming famine, especially in the north, but one has not been officially declared.

The Israeli mission highlighted Tuesday that the latest assessment by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) partnership determined that famine had not materialised after aid access improved somewhat.

"Israel has continuously scaled up its coordination and assistance in the delivery of humanitarian aid across the Gaza Strip," it said, claiming Hamas "intentionally steal and hide aid from civilians".

Hamas authorities meanwhile issued a statement Tuesday describing a "humanitarian catastrophe and escalating famine".

They accused "the terrorist Israeli government" of continuing "its policy of starvation", and "preventing the entry of food aid trucks for the 64th consecutive day".

"Continued starvation warfare threatens a humanitarian disaster and further loss of innocent children," that statement warned.

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