Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, February 2024
Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Humanitarian aid and mass starvation
Zionist attempts at rationalizing Israel’s violence are devoid of any logic. As Palestinians face mass starvation in Gaza, Israeli settlers have taken it upon themselves to block humanitarian aid from entering the enclave, describing their actions as a protest until the hostages held by Hamas are released.
Their reasoning is abominable. Take, for instance, this justification: “We’re losing soldiers, hostages are perishing, and the Gazans are getting food and fuel and everything’s going on as usual.” Mass starvation is not usual, and neither is Israel’s depraved efforts to “put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger.” Now, state and settlers are collaborating in the Palestinian people’s extermination. “I am a mother. I feel very sorry for every kid that lives like this in Gaza. But it’s not my fault,” said another settler participating in the starvation of Palestinians.
This is in addition to the collective attack on UNRWA by Israel and its allies, which stopped funding the agency due to allegations that twelve members of its staff are involved with Hamas. Of course, this is a very clear diplomatic and political tactic to starve Palestinians to death indirectly, albeit that the consequences are so blatant that it is as direct as the bombs still being dropped on Gaza.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have corroborated the ramifications of Israel’s genocidal actions. “This is a population that is starving to death, this a population that is being pushed to the brink,” said WHO’s emergency director Michael Ryan. “Populations are not supposed to survive indefinitely on food aid,” he added. “It’s supposed to be emergency food aid to tide people over.”
What is explicit is in this case is that Gaza has long passed the emergency stage. Israel has created a major catastrophe which even the humanitarian paradigm that the UN intentionally put together for Palestinians will not cater for, given the stronger allegiances to Israel among donor countries.
UNCTAD offered a bleak assessment of Gaza’s hypothetical future. A preliminary assessment on the economic impact of Israel’s destruction of Gaza revealed that it would take until 2092 for the enclave to reach the GDP levels of 2022, which were already dire. UNCTAD also warned that “a new phase of economic rehabilitation cannot simply take as its goal a return to the October 2023 status quo.”
Some statistics offered by UNCTAD reveal that unemployment in Gaza reached 45.1 per cent by the end of the third quarter of 2023, and by the end of December, 79.3 per cent of Gaza’s population was unemployed. Between 2007 and 2023, Gaza’s GDP per capita fell by 54 per cent.
The humanitarian paradigm was unsustainable from the beginning and Israel has ensured its futility by pushing the normalized and dehumanizing limits to the extreme. Palestinians are concerned with their own survival in an enclave which has been destroyed beyond recognition by Israel, and which depends upon donor aid from Israel’s allies for reconstruction. The context of this has yet another evil aspect, because the same possible donors are currently busy helping Israel to starve Palestinians to death.
-Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger. Her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America. Her article appeared in MEMO.Humanitarian aid and mass starvation (palinfo.com)
Aid trucks for Gaza blocked at Ashdod port
Israeli unarmed activists were seen blocking the passage of aid trucks intended for Gaza at Ashdod port. The activists expressed their refusal of the passage of aid as around 130 Israeli hostages remained captive with Hamas for around 121 days.
MEM, February 4, 2024 at 7:20 pm
Israeli settlers have blocked trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, demanding that no aid be allowed to enter the enclave as long as 132 Israelis held as prisoners of war remain in Gaza.
Dozens of extremist settlers gathered at the exit of Ashdod port, north of the Gaza Strip and stopped trucks departing, asked for the drivers’ documents and verified their load and destination, despite the presence of Israel Police.
Sharon, a Jewish resident of Jerusalem who preferred not to reveal his surname, said: “I came to stop the trucks carrying oxygen to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. For us, all the residents of Gaza are terrorists.”
“Britain and the United States acted without mercy when they bombed Iraq and Afghanistan, despite human rights and relief organisations warning of a humanitarian catastrophe. We came to Israel, to the land that the Torah promised us, to live in justice, and these people are shooting at us… Islam hates us, and now is the time to pay the price,” he continued.
Asked if he would live in the Gaza Strip if Israel established illegal Jewish settlements there, Sharon said he would do it “happily”, adding: “We would be very happy if settlements were established in Gaza. They are not settlements. Gaza was a Jewish city 2,500 years ago.”
According to a poll conducted by the Hebrew Channel 12, 72 per cent of Israelis oppose “sending humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip without returning Israeli captives.”
The Ministry of Social Development in the Palestinian Authority said yesterday that “the percentage of aid entering the Gaza Strip covers no more than 20 per cent of the population’s basic needs.” While the UN and other rights groups have warned that civilians in Gaza face famine and starvation.
Experts have pointed out that this is an Israeli tactic to force Palestinians out of the enclave to return Israeli settlements to it and cleanse it of its indigenous population.
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