UN condemns Israel’s man-made famine as a ‘war crime’

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Hungry children in Gaza queue for food

THE humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip has turned into a man-made famine, the United Nations human rights chief has said, adding that Israel’s use of starvation as a weapon could amount to a ‘war crime.’

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk, in an interview with the BBC yesterday said that Israel is culpable for its role in the war as there was a ‘plausible’ case that it was using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza.

Turk said that evidence had emerged that Israel was slowing down or withholding the delivery of aid, adding that if proven, it would amount to a war crime.

‘When you put all kinds of requirements on the table that are unreasonable in an emergency… that brings up the question, with all the restrictions that we currently see, whether there is a plausible claim to be made that starvation is, or may be used as, a weapon of war,’ Turk said.

• Meanwhile the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) says 90 per cent of children in the Gaza Strip cannot eat nutrients needed for their proper growth as the bloody Israeli war has hampered aid delivery to the besieged Palestinian territory.

In a report yesterday, UNICEF said five rounds of data collection between December 2023 and April 2024 have ‘consistently found that 9 out of 10 children in the Gaza Strip are experiencing severe food poverty, surviving on two or fewer food groups per day.’

It added that months of war and limits on humanitarian assistance have collapsed food and health systems in Gaza and resulted in ‘catastrophic consequences’ for children and their families.

‘This is evidence of the horrific impact the conflict and restrictions are having on families’ ability to meet children’s food needs – and the speed at which it places children at risk of life-threatening malnutrition,’ the UN agency said.

Israel waged its genocidal Gaza onslaught on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out its historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

So far, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 36,586 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 83,074 others in the Gaza Strip.