News Release

Groups Denounce Israel’s Use of Starvation as Genocide


Hundreds of organizations from over 50 countries have signed on to a letter denouncing the use of starvation as a tool of genocide.

The following are available for interviews:

Fuad Abu Saif, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, based in Ramallah,
Pawel Wargan, Progressive International,
Dr. Karameh Hawash-Kuemmerle, Doctors Against Genocide

The letter states that the groups, which represent hundreds of millions of people, “vehemently denounce the Israeli occupation’s use of starvation as a tool of genocide in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli occupation’s systematic destruction of Palestinian food systems, deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure, and obstruction of humanitarian aid constitute egregious violations of international law and fundamental human rights principles.

“We call on all states and international institutions to undertake any and all action possible including sanctions and arms embargoes to bring an immediate end to the obstruction of humanitarian, life sustaining, and life-saving supplies to Palestinians in Gaza, to investigate all state and non-state actors who have directly and indirectly participated in the obstruction and/or destruction of supplies to Gaza, and we ask that the campaign to de-fund UNRWA be investigated as a possible act toward furtherance and facilitation of starvation and/or genocide.

“The deliberate withholding of essential resources, including food, with the intent of starving the Palestinian population of Gaza constitutes a gross violation of international law, human rights, and the principles of justice and humanity. Article II (c) of the Genocide Convention defines as genocide ‘Deliberately inflicting on [a national, ethnical, racial or religious] group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.’ The Israeli occupation’s deliberate destruction of Palestinian food systems and obstruction of humanitarian aid by Israel clearly fall within the ambit of this definition. These actions also flagrantly violate the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which safeguards the rights of civilians during times of armed conflict, and constitute crimes against humanity, as recognized under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. …

“The disruption and destruction of Palestinian food systems by the Israeli occupation exacerbate the dire situation in Gaza and are not merely intended to starve the population in the short term. The current deliberate targeting by Israel of agricultural lands, livestock, and fishing boats (a genocidal intensification of 75 years of brutal settler colonial occupation that has denied Palestinians their right to self-rule) further undermines the ability of Palestinians to access and produce food, and is intended to ensure their ongoing poverty and malnutrition, and deny them the fundamental right to food sovereignty.” The letter was initiated by the International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine.

The groups, including the large global peasant movement La Via Campesina, are calling for various actions including for Saturday, March 9 to be a global day of fasting in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Fuad Abu Saif said: “This is not just a matter of law; it is a test of our collective humanity. Let us come together to demand an immediate halt to this brutality, to ensure that food and hope flow freely into Gaza once again.”

Pawel Wargan said: “This week, Israeli forces in Gaza massacred starving people as they lined up to receive the paltry humanitarian aid that is allowed through the blockade — another grim episode in the long, wretched history of Zionist colonialism in Palestine. In Gaza, Zionism and its imperialist backers are striking at the very foundations of humanity. That is why it is imperative for progressive forces to mobilize — with love, courage, and organization more powerful than the inhumanity that threatens to crush the world in its death march.”

See recent Democracy Now segment: “What I Witnessed in Gaza Is a Holocaust: Palestinian Writer Susan Abulhawa.”