News Release

Palestinian Groups Call to Declare Gaza a Famine-Stricken Area

[As the UN Security Council considers an Algerian resolution to implement the latest International Court of Justice orders; on Friday, Biden stated that he was putting forward an Israeli ceasefire plan, which Netanahu himself has not accepted.]

UBAI ABOUDI, [in Ramallah], @ubaiaboudi
Aboudi is with the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network, which is one of the groups calling on the UN and the Palestinian Authority to declare Gaza a famine-stricken area. See their statement, which reads in part: “The people of Gaza are suffering from severe food shortages, a continuous decline in nutrition levels, widespread malnutrition among children, and increased mortality rates due to diseases caused by hunger and malnutrition, along with the difficulty of accessing medical and healthcare services. Additionally, the environmental pollution resulting from the destruction of sewage systems, the inability of municipalities to remove waste, the presence of thousands of bodies under the rubble, and the weak humanitarian response and provision of necessary aid to those in need. …

“According to international humanitarian law and international human rights law, causing famine as a military tactic against civilians is prohibited. Article 54 of the First Additional Protocol to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1977 affirms the protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, prohibiting the attack, destruction, removal, or rendering useless of such objects, including foodstuffs, agricultural areas, crops, livestock, drinking water installations, and irrigation works if the purpose is to starve civilians or to force them to move or for any other motive.

“Similarly, Article 14 of the Second Additional Protocol to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1977 prohibits the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and prohibits attacks on, destruction of, removal of, or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. …

“The act of causing famine and destroying life-sustaining resources in Gaza also violates the interim measures ordered by the International Court of Justice, thus opening the possibility for prosecuting those responsible or delaying the delivery of aid before the International Criminal Court. The actions and policies imposed by the Israeli occupation on the people of Gaza place it in a position of criminal responsibility due to its actions that have created conditions such as direct attacks on vital installations or imposing a blockade to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the population.

“The [UN’s] Famine Review Committee in its March 2024 report concluded that famine is likely unless there is an immediate cessation of hostilities, unrestricted access to food, water, and medicines, protection of civilians, and restoration of health services, clean water, sanitation, energy, and electricity for the population. Since March, hostilities against civilians have continued, and despite the arrival of some relief aid to northern provinces, it remains insufficient to deal with ongoing hunger.”

The groups “call on the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to immediately declare Gaza a famine-stricken area due to famine, environmental pollution, and the spread of diseases. The United Nations and the Palestinian Authority must adopt this declaration and coordinate global and local efforts in partnership with Palestinian civil society to develop an immediate plan to address these impacts, elevate emergency relief levels for citizens in the sector, and push toward accountability and prosecution of the occupation for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.” Signers include the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Palestinian Medical Relief Society, Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights and the Health Work Committees.