Geneva — As part of its ongoing war for the fifth week in a row, Israel has sharply increased in recent hours what can only be described as a war of starvation against civilians in the Gaza Strip in an effort to deepen their difficult living conditions, which has reached catastrophic levels, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a statement issued on Sunday.
According to Euro-Med Monitor, the Israeli war of starvation has taken very dangerous turns, including cutting off all food supplies to the Northern half and bombing and destroying factories, bakeries, food stores, water stations, and tanks throughout the entire enclave.
Israel has deliberately focused its attacks over the past few hours on targeting electrical generators and solar energy units, on which commercial facilities and restaurants depend to maintain the minimum possible level of their work.
Euro-Med Monitor further noted that Israel's attacks also targeted the agricultural areas east of Gaza, flour stores, and fishermen's boats, as well as relief organizations’ centers, including those belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the largest provider of humanitarian aid in the Strip.
Euro-Med Monitor warned of an imminent explosion in child deaths in Gaza if the world does not act quickly, as Gaza has seen a dramatic increase in the past two days in the number of children who need medical attention due to acute malnutrition.
Prior to the ongoing Israeli war, 70% of the Gaza Strip's children suffered from varying health issues including malnutrition, anemia, and weakened immunity. However, Euro-Med Monitor said, the number has increased to over 90% as a result of the unprecedented Israeli attacks.
Euro-Med Monitor made clear that women and children in Gaza are disproportionately suffering from the effects of Israel's war. Approximately 52,500 infants in Gaza are currently at risk of starvation, death, dehydration, and other health hazards due to overcrowding, in addition to 55,000 pregnant women, of whom 5,500 are expected to give birth this month.
Mothers and newborns are seriously threatened by Israel's attacks, the disruption of damaged or non-operating health facilities, the large-scale displacement, and the collapse of food, water, and electricity supplies.
It further added that the risks of malnutrition were extremely high among pregnant women, which had a significant impact on children's survival and development, and as access to food and water worsened, mothers struggled to feed and care for their families, increasing the risks of malnutrition, illness, and death.
It also stated that pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, which will have a substantial negative impact on the survival and development of their children, pointing out that as access to food and water is restricted, mothers found it increasingly difficult to care for and feed their families, raising the risks of malnutrition, illness, and death.
Additionally, Euro-Med emphasized that Israel has only allowed about 2% of the needed and necessary aid and food supplies to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing with Egypt up until today, despite ongoing calls from human rights organizations to allow unrestricted entry of food, water, and fuel supplies.
Although a limited amount of food aid was allowed to enter, no commercial food imports were delivered, leaving the Gaza Strip's population of approximately 2.3 million people in dire need of food in light of the collective punishment approach imposed on them.
Even though only a restricted quantity of food supplies was permitted to enter, no commercial food imports were delivered, leaving the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people in desperate need of food in light of the Israeli collective punishment policy.
The limited food supplies entering from Egypt are distributed primarily to displaced people and host families in the southern Gaza Strip, with flour only provided to bakeries, while any access to food supplies to Gaza City and its northern areas is prevented.
The World Food Program projects that the current supply of basic foods will last no more than four days before completely running out, while widespread damage, instability, and fuel shortages have paralyzed the food trade.
According to Euro-Med Monitor, getting bread in the Gaza Strip has become an existential challenge, since Gaza’s sole mill there is still unable to grind wheat because of a shortage of fuel and electricity. Since October 7, 11 bakeries have been bombed and destroyed, while the ones that are still operating face tremendous difficulties due to fuel and flour shortages.
There was only one World Food Program-affiliated bakery that occasionally supplied bread to the shelters, based on the availability of fuel and flour, while residents are forced to wait in line for long hours at bakeries amid ongoing air strikes.
The distribution of food supplies to the displaced families in northern Gaza has virtually ceased in recent days due to the Israeli army's intensified ground operations, according to Euro-Med Monitor. This poses a threat of widespread famine, the cost of which will be borne primarily by children.
Additionally, access to basic food such as flour, oil, and sugar in some of the warehouses that were not destroyed is a huge challenge due to fuel shortages, damaged roads, and risks of air strikes.
The power outage crisis disrupted food supplies by affecting the cooling and irrigation of crops. More than 15,000 farmers lost their crop production, while 10,000 livestock keepers were unable to obtain sufficient feed, and many of them have lost their animals.
Less than three liters of clean water per person are thought to be available at this time, out of the minimum of fifteen liters per day required for people during the world's worst humanitarian crises.
According to Euro-Med Monitor, the supply of bottled water is running low, and because of the acute shortage, prices have already increased to the point where an ordinary family in Gaza cannot afford it. In some areas, prices have increased by five times.
Euro-Med Monitor also noted that Israel has deliberately bombed water wells and tanks, the most recent of which was the destruction of the water well and Tal al-Zaatar tank in the northern Gaza Strip, which served more than 70,000 people.
According to the Palestinian Water Authority, Gaza's water output is currently only 5% of its average production and is predicted to continue declining unless fuel or electricity is provided for water and sanitation facilities to start up again.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza City and its northern areas face a severe water shortage, raising fears of drought and water-borne diseases due to the consumption of water from unsafe sources, in light of the suspension of most water facilities where residents rely on a minimum of private wells, purification stations, and agricultural wells.
Euro-Med Monitor stressed that international humanitarian law strictly prohibits the use of starvation weapons. Under international humanitarian law, Israel has an obligation to provide basic needs and protection to the Gazan people as an occupying power.
In this regard, Euro-Med Monitor called for decisive international action to impose a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and prevent further deterioration of the situation by providing fair and unrestricted access to basic and relief materials to the entire Gaza Strip, and the entry of food, water, medical, and fuel supplies to meet the needs of the population.