Palestinian Red Crescent condemns Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians

Ahram Online , Monday 10 Jun 2024

The Palestinian Red Crescent raised an alarm over the impending threat of acute famine across the Gaza Strip, as Israel continues to enforce a closure of the Rafah Border Crossing, the main gateway for humanitarian aid into the blockaded enclave.

 Palestinians are storming trucks loaded with humanitarian aid brought in through a new U.S.-built p
In this file photo, Palestinians are storming trucks loaded with humanitarian aid in the central Gaza Strip. AP


The PRCS condemned the "collective punishment" of the Palestinian population in Gaza, stating that the closure "further exacerbates the humanitarian situation" and violates international humanitarian law, as well as a recent order on provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice in a post on X.

The closure of the Rafah crossing has severely restricted the flow of food, medicine, and other vital supplies into the territory amid Israel’s ongoing assault on the strip.

According to the post, over one million Palestinians in Gaza now live under the "grim shadow of famine."

The International Court of Justice had previously ordered Israel to take measures to ensure the protection of the civilian population in Gaza, including facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid.

United Nations agencies warned last week that over 1 million Palestinians in Gaza could experience the highest level of starvation by the middle of next month if the Israeli war continues.

The World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization said in a joint report that hunger is worsening because of heavy restrictions on humanitarian access and the collapse of the local food system in the nearly eight-month Israeli war on Gaza.

The report states "Over 1 million people – half of the population of the Gaza Strip – is expected to face death and starvation."

It says the situation remains dire in northern Gaza, which has been surrounded and largely isolated by Israeli troops for months. Israel recently opened land crossings in the north but they can only facilitate truck loads in the dozens each day for hundreds of thousands of people.

Israel's incursion into Rafah has meanwhile severely disrupted aid operations in the south. The report states that the continuation and expansion of the Rafah invasion "is expected to further aggravate an unprecedented death toll, widespread destruction and displacement of nearly the total population in the Gaza Strip."

The chief of the United Nations' food programme had warned of a "full-blown famine" in northern Gaza and reiterated calls for a ceasefire.

"There is famine, full-blown famine in the north and it's moving its way south," Cindy McCain, executive director of the World Food Programme, said in an interview excerpt published Friday.

"What we are asking for and what we've continually asked for is a ceasefire and the ability to have unfettered access to get in safe... into Gaza – various ports, various gate crossings," McCain continued.

Israeli troops seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt closing the vital aid passage in early May after launching an incursion into the eastern sector of the city.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed 37,124 Palestinians and wounded more than 80,000 others, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry.


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