Home » Hunger, thirst and disease: the weapons with which Israel kills more than bombs. For NGOs, a war crime

Hunger, thirst and disease: the weapons with which Israel kills more than bombs. For NGOs, a war crime

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Hunger, thirst and disease: the weapons with which Israel kills more than bombs.  For NGOs, a war crime

More people will die from hunger than from bombs, per l’Oms. We’ve all seen the attacks on aid trucks, refugees holding up hunks of moldy bread and other desperate images. Israel starves Gaza. The war has brought famine at “such an incredible rate” for Martin Griffiths, head of relief for the United Nations, that “many United Nations agencies are saying that 400 thousand people (…) are actually in famine.†Scenarios from the last century, for the experts. Arif Husain, World Food Program (WFP) participated in the IPC e study says to New Yorker: “I’ll give you a statistic, all over the world (…) 4 out of 5 people suffering from famine or catastrophic hunger are currently in Gaza†. In numbers, 567,000 out of 700,000 in the world. “I have never seen anything like it in my life in terms of severity, scale and speed.†And Griffiths: “The Gaza war is the worst I have seen in 50 years.â€

Disease and hunger, the lethal combination

Sanitary conditions jump. Per l’Oms c’è one shower every 4,500 people and 1 bathroom every 220. Per the care of Alex De Waal (LRB), families skip meals for two-three consecutive days, “infectious diseases, the cause of death, are spreading more and more rapidly immediate among malnourished people.†For the author of Mass Starvation “The Palestinian children of Gaza they will die, thousands of themeven if barriers to aid were removed today – writes on Guardian – nothing like this since the Second World War.”

“There is only dust and sandâ€

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The water is no longer there. The food system has collapsed. The healthcare system has collapsed. Bakeries, hospitals, wastewater pumping stations, water desalination plants and wells and other civil infrastructure destroyed – “the continuation of life impossible,” he concludes Human Rights Watch. For Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Gaza “has disappeared, there is nothing left”“an orchestrated mass hunger” begins, scrive Chris HedgesNYT’s Pulitzer.

No water, food, shelter

According to Unicef, 1.5 liters per day was the water accessible to Gaza in December, less than the 3 needed to survive. “We walk miles to get some water (…). We are lucky if we get 0.5 liters per person per day”. The rows a Rafah (300,000 inhabitants, now 1.5 million), can be seen from afar. Per Msf “with the current shortage, the average for a family of six is ​​3.8 liters of water”, while around 70% of people in Gaza drink “salted or contaminated†; and “every day millions of liters of sewage are discharged onto the coast off Gaza”, polluting the aquifers from which drinking water should come.

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Asma’s children “count the hours”, hoping late in the evening for something to eat, after a day looking for something to burn. “And if we feed both ourselves and the children the food it’s not enough†. Mohamed, from Gaza: “we are looking for shelter in the parking lot of a destroyed condominium, the wheat is unobtainable†they use ingredients for animal food. To cook it, they sift through the ruins, “exposing themselves to continuous bombings.†“desperate and often fruitless†searches, conclude B’Tselem. And unaffordable prices, writes the poet Mosab Abu Toha (author of New Yorker): “a bag of flour that we paid 10 dollars now costs around 320.†Cold and no shelter: “sleeping in the rain was just impossible†.

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Diseases and health

The UN snapshot: 1.7 million displaced people (75% of the population). Over 378 thousand in famine (IPC Phase 5), 939 thousand are in emergency (Phase 4), the “transition” has begun. Israel has shut down every drinking water supply. Only 13 out of 36 hospitals function – partially, they mostly act as “camps”. 122 ambulances destroyed. Over 200,000 cases of acute respiratory syndrome; and then diarrhea, intestinal infections and skin rashes due to the lack of clean water for washing, especially in children under 5 years of age, who are more vulnerable. Aid is denied entry and “if they enter it is as if they did not enter”, because they cannot go where they are needed – explains Husain. And it’s dangerous: 339 healthcare workers killed159 UN workers killed.

The drama of children

There are around 17,000 children alone, estimates Unicef. “Mental health is severely compromised” – over 1 million will require psychosocial support. Razan, 11 years old, lost his family. And he lost a leg. Amputee. There are over a thousand children who have suffered one or more amputations, often without anesthesia. They are alone, the other families can’t take care of them.

“Creating a humanitarian crisisâ€

“Gaza must become a place where people cannot live†, “people should be told that they have two choices, leave or starve†. And to do this, “we must create a profound humanitarian crisis†and “prevent assistance from others†. General Giora Eliand, advisor to the Minister of Defense, he repeated the strategy in several interviews, as well as government leaders, soldiers and parliamentarians. And among the population, he writes Haaretz.

Killing by starvation is a war crime. Così Save The ChildrenHRW, Oxfam and other. For De Waal, the destruction of “objects indispensable for survival” (OIS) “exceeds any other case of famine in the last 75 years” and Israel’s responsibility is measurable “because he acts knowing that this is the result†. “Starvation crimes” are a strong argument South Africa has against Israel, he adds. But 15 days after the resolution of the International Court of Justice – to take all possible measures to prevent the crime of genocide – the rate of mortality it’s the usualmany aids have been denied, some have been opened fire, demonstrations to block food continue.

“Massacro al rallentatore”

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For De Waal “hunger is a massacre in slow motion, the deaths continue for weeks even if the killings are stopped.” Some countries – including Italy – they suspended funding to UNRWA, for Guterres the “backbone of the United Nations”. The accusation (without proof) of Israel is that 12 employees of the Agency, which has 13,000 in Gaza, have links to the October 7 attack. The UN launched an investigation, but UNRWA at the end of February could close. For Amnesty International a “shocking†, “inhuman†and “collective punishment†decision; for the International Federation for Human Rights a “manifest complicity with the genocide in corso”.

Israel has been defaming UNRWA for years, says Amnesty. A former Israeli foreign minister was clearer: “It will be impossible to win the war if we don’t destroy UNRWA” – a plan consistent with the initial intentions, as Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich declared: “It’s time to be cruel.”.

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