Israel’s Imposed Famine on Gaza, Daily Brief April 9, 2024

Daily Brief, 9 April 2024.


Fadi is from al-Nasser neighborhood in Gaza City. For months, the Israeli government essentially punished him for the Hamas-led attacks of October 7. Fadi had nothing to do with those attacks, of course, because he’s six years old.

Fadi also has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes damage to the lungs, and because of the Israeli blockade, his mother struggled to get adequate food and necessary medicines for him. By mid-January, Fadi’s health had deteriorated so badly he could no longer walk. Before the war, he’d weighed 30 kilograms [about 66 pounds]. Now, he weighs 12.

Still, in a sense, Fadi has been one of the lucky ones. He was evacuated from Gaza to a hospital in Cairo, Egypt, at the end of March.

Hundreds of thousands of children remain in Gaza, suffering not only because of the ongoing bombing and other violence, but also because the Israeli government has been using starvation as a weapon of war. This is a war crime, and kids are dying as a result of the policy.

“All evidence points towards a major acceleration of death and malnutrition” in Gaza. Those are the words of the experts – a UN-coordinated partnership of 15 international organizations and UN agencies investigating the hunger crisis in a March 18 report. In northern Gaza, they estimate, 70 percent of people are experiencing catastrophic hunger.

If things continue like this, outright famine is next.

But things don’t have to continue like this. Concerned governments could act. And by act, I don’t mean airdropping aid and proposing temporary seaports we’re all seeing in the news right now. Aid groups and UN officials have called such efforts inadequate to prevent a famine.

What outside governments – in particular, Israel’s friends – need to do is push the Israeli government to behave in accordance with its obligations under international law. They could, and should, impose targeted sanctions and stop arms transfers to press the Israeli government to ensure access to humanitarian aid and basic services in Gaza.

In short, they need to impose serious consequnces on the government of Israel to get it to stop committing the war crime of using starvation as a weapon of war.

There is evidence to suggest this would work, too. Apparently following pressure from the US government, the Israeli cabinet agreed to several measures on April 4 to increase the amount of aid entering Gaza. But it’s still just a trickle. More pressure would bring more results.

Kids like Fadi didn’t attack Israel on October 7, and they aren’t holding any civilian hostages today (also a war crime and one of the reasons Israeli officials gave for their starvation strategy in Gaza). Children shouldn’t be made to suffer for the crimes of militants.

About half of Gaza’s population is children. The government of Israel is pushing hundreds of thousands of innocent kids towards famine. It’s madness. It needs to stop.