Palestinian minister accuses Israel of starving Gazans

starving Gazans

GENEVA: The Palestinian foreign minister on Tuesday accused Israel of using starvation as a weapon of war against around 1 million Gazans, a charge an Israeli official rejected as “obscene”.

The U.N. World Food Programme says half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million is starving as the expansion of Israel’s military assault into the southern part of the Gaza Strip, in response to October’s bloody cross-border rampage by Hamas militants, has cut people off from food, medicine and fuel.

Israel has said it allows aid into Gaza via the Rafah crossing and said the Kerem Shalom crossing was reopened on Tuesday with the first batch of aid entering Tuesday morning, a government official told Reuters.

“As we speak, at least 1 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, half of them children, are starving, not because of a natural disaster or because of lack of generous assistance waiting at the border,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told a U.N. event to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“No, they are starving because of Israel’s deliberate use of starvation as a weapon of war against the people it occupied”.

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In response, an Israeli official told Reuters in Jerusalem: “This is, of course, obscene … (a) blood-libellous, delusional level of allegations.”

Israel was encouraging increased shipments of food into Gaza from Egypt, which also borders the Palestinian enclave, the official added, blaming lags on a “bottle neck” at that border.

In Geneva, Al-Maliki said: “We are living through this dystopian reality that excludes Palestinians from the basic, most basic rights afforded to all human beings”.

He described this as an “utter international failure” to protect Palestinians.

Israel says its instructions to people to move to areas it says are safer are among measures it is taking to protect civilians as it tries to root out Hamas militants who killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostage in its October 7 attack.

In remarks to reporters, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Meirav Eilon Shahar, criticised al-Maliki’s address for making no mention Hamas and its deadly attacks on Israel.

“Nothing about October 7, nothing about the atrocities that were committed by Hamas,” she said, speaking alongside the mother of U.S.-Israeli hostage Hersh Goldberg Polin.

Israel’s retaliatory assault has killed at least 18,205 people and wounded nearly 50,000, according to the Gaza health ministry, which says many thousands more dead are uncounted under the rubble or beyond the reach of ambulances.

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