Stop starving Gaza! – pots & pans protest outside Foreign Office

Medical Aid for Palestine protesters outside the Foreign Office in Westminster yesterday

‘STOP starving Gaza!’ Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) protesters demanded yesterday as they banged pots and pans outside the Foreign Office in Whitehall, central London.

‘It’s very clear now that starvation is being used as a weapon of war,’ said MAP CEO Marianne Ward, speaking to the media at the protest.

She continued: ‘Last month we saw data coming out showing that one in six children under the age of two in the north of Gaza were acutely malnourished – now there are one in three children under the age of two.

‘So the situation is continuing to get worse and nothing is done about it, and what’s terrible is that it’s a really simple problem to solve. If Israel would only let the food aid in then we could deal with this and stop the starvation immediately.

‘What’s awful about this is that it’s not an accident. On 9th October the Israeli government said that no food would go in and there are plenty of land crossings which remain closed.

‘We as humanitarians know how to treat malnutrition among children. Stopping starvation wouldn’t be difficult, it’s just a question of getting food in, but there hasn’t been the political will to do it.

‘So that’s why we’re here outside the Foreign Office today. The British government is an ally of the Israeli government and it’s time to move away from just warm words because what that is achieving in Gaza is taking us to a point where famine is now imminent and that’s unconscionable.’

She was asked if she was encouraged by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz telling Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visited him on Sunday that ‘it’s time to let aid in because the world cannot stand by watching while Gaza starves.’

She replied: ‘The situation should never have come about in the first place, so it’s good that Olaf Scholtz is now saying that. But where was he for the last five months? We also saw Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief last week, he said that starvation is being used as a weapon of war. My question is, what are they going to do about it? What are they going to do to avert this famine, to stave off this famine.

‘A new report out also shows today that if there is an attack on Rafah famine will certainly happen, so that has got to be stopped. And specifically we have got to open all the land crossings, including the Erez Crossing and the other crossings to the north of Gaza so that we as aid workers can get in and deliver aid and so that we can safely access people and bring assistance to the people there.

‘That includes my own staff. Aid workers themselves have been eating animal feed, have been eating bird seed. We have enormous relief this morning because one of my staff, Mahmoud, managed to get hold of 3 kilogrammes of flour. Every day we’ve seen photographs of him getting thinner and thinner in front of our eyes. It’s horrific that people are becoming so desperate. But it’s so easy to solve.

‘The British government and the others have got to act. They’ve got to open the land crossings and let aid in now.’

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