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GAZA: Palestinian children Uday and Mohammed Mahra, both suffering from malnutrition, are seen at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on July 9, 2024. - AFP
GAZA: Palestinian children Uday and Mohammed Mahra, both suffering from malnutrition, are seen at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on July 9, 2024. - AFP

Gaza kids dying in Zionist campaign of starvation

GENEVA: UN rights experts on Tuesday accused the Zionist entity of carrying out a “targeted starvation campaign” that has resulted in the deaths of children in Gaza. “(The Zionist entity’s) intentional and targeted starvation campaign against the Palestinian people is a form of genocidal violence and has resulted in famine across all of Gaza,” 10 independent United Nations experts said in a statement.

The UN has not officially declared a famine in the Gaza Strip. But the experts, including the UN special rapporteur on the right to food Michael Fakhri, insisted there was no denying famine was under way. “Thirty-four Palestinians have died from malnutrition since 7 October, the majority being children,” said the experts, who are appointed by the UN Human

Rights Council, but who do not speak on behalf of the United Nations.

The UN experts listed three children who had recently died “from malnutrition”, after a number of others were said to have starved to death in northern Gaza earlier this year. Six-month-old Fayez Ataya and 13-year-old Abdulqader Al-Serhi had died on May 30 and June 1 at Gaza’s Al-Aqsa Hospital, while nine-year-old Ahmad Abu Reida died on June 3 in the tent sheltering his displaced family in Khan Yunis, they said.

“With the death of these children from starvation despite medical treatment in central Gaza, there is no doubt that famine has spread from northern Gaza into central and southern Gaza,” they said. The experts decried that the world had not done more to avert this disaster. “When a two-month-old baby and 10-year-old Yazan Al Kafarneh died of hunger on 24 February and 4 March respectively, this confirmed that famine had struck northern Gaza,” they said. “The whole world should have intervened earlier to stop (the Zionist entity’s) genocidal starvation campaign and prevented these deaths. Inaction is complicity.”

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that 60 cases of severe acute malnutrition, also known as severe wasting — the most deadly form of malnutrition — had been detected last week at the Kamal Adwan pediatric hospital in the north of the Strip. The UN has long been warning of looming famine, especially in the north, but one has not been officially declared.

Hamas authorities issued a statement Tuesday describing a “humanitarian catastrophe and escalating famine”. They accused “the terrorist (Zionist) government” of continuing “its policy of starvation”, and “preventing the entry of food aid trucks for the 64th consecutive day”. “Continued starvation warfare threatens a humanitarian disaster and further loss of innocent children,” that statement warned.

Zionist forces in war-ravaged Gaza City pushed on with a major offensive on Tuesday that has again displaced Palestinians. Troops, tanks and fighter jets swooped on Gaza’s biggest urban area on the eve of new contacts in Qatar aiming for an eventual hostage-prisoner exchange and a truce in the war raging into its 10th month. CIA director William Burns and Mossad chief David Barnea are due to travel to Qatar on Wednesday, after Burns held talks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo.

Hamas accused Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of deliberately escalating fighting in Gaza City and Rafah, in the territory’s south, to thwart an agreement. The Islamist group’s Qatar-based political chief Ismail Haniyeh said he had made “urgent contact” with mediators, warning that the “catastrophic consequences” of the latest battles could “reset the negotiation process to square one”.

Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, described the fighting in Gaza City in recent days as “the most intense in months”. Fighters were fighting with rockets, mortars and explosives, it said. After almost two weeks of battles in Gaza City’s eastern Shujaiya district, Zionist forces have extended the fighting into the city’s east, west and south. Residents reported helicopter strikes, “explosions and numerous gun battles” in the city’s southwest.

The United Nations said tens of thousands of civilians have been affected by the surge in fighting since the first of three evacuation orders for Gaza City was declared on June 27. Thousands were seen marching down dusty roads past bombed-out buildings, with mothers carrying babies and others packing belongings onto donkey carts.

The UN Human Rights Office said it was “appalled” at the way civilians, many of whom have been displaced multiple times, have been ordered to head to areas where “military operations are ongoing and where civilians continue to be killed and injured”. Gaza City residents have now been told to move south to Deir al-Balah, which the UN office said “is already seriously overcrowded” with displaced Palestinians.

The Zionist military offensive has killed at least 38,243 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to figures from the territory’s health ministry. The toll includes at least 50 killed over the past 24 hours, said a ministry statement on Tuesday. Hezbollah on Tuesday released a video showing aerial surveillance footage it said was taken over intelligence and military positions in the Zionist-annexed Syrian Golan Heights. – AFP

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