The Gaza diet: How Israel's calorie control left Palestinians food-insecure

The Gaza diet: How Israel's calorie control left Palestinians food-insecure
Social justice group Visualizing Palestine highlights the effects of Israel's restrictions on food imports on Gazan households.
1 min read
10 Sep, 2018
Palestinians wait to receive aid at a UN distribution centre in the Gaza Strip [Getty]
Gaza is one of the most densely-populated areas of the planet, with 2 million Palestinians crammed into just 362 square kilometres - and unable to leave.

In 2007, Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the strip, effectively turning the coastal enclave into an open-air prison, where basic necessities such as food, fuel and medicines severely controlled.

For the first three years, Israel's restrictions were dictacted by a "Red Lines" document, which calculated the minimum number of calories necessary to keep Gaza residents from malnutrition. 

Each Gazan needed just 2,279 calories each day to avoid starvation, it said, and restricted imports based on this "daily humanitarian portion" - making food essentials such as meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables a luxury. 

The policy officially ended in 2010, but social justice group Visualizing Palestine has shown [below] how it collectively punished Gazans by limiting their access to food.

And its continued and tightening grip on Gaza - eight years on - has left households not knowing when, or where, their next meal will come from.

The numbers are especially pertinent since the Trump administration announced it was cutting $200 million in aid to Palestine.

With 80 percent of the Gaza population relying on foreign help to feed their families, conditions in the besieged strip will only deteriorate further.