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Fears of famine grow in the Gaza Strip, still under bombs

Photo: Said Khatib Agence France-Presse On Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk denounced the “blockade and siege imposed on Gaza” by Israel which could “represent the use of famine as a method of war” which is, a- he recalled, a “war crime”.

Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Emmanuel Duparcq – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem

1:25 p.m.

  • Middle East

The Israeli army continues on Saturday to bombard the Gaza Strip where fears of famine are growing due to the lack of vital humanitarian aid for the Palestinian population, after more than four months of war between Israel and Hamas.

The humanitarian situation continues to worsen in the besieged territory where 2.2 million people, the vast majority of the population, are threatened with “mass starvation”, due to lack of sufficient supplies of water and food, according to the UN.

Humanitarian aid, entry through the Rafah crossing in the far south of Gaza is subject to Israel's green light, is still insufficient and its delivery to the north is difficult due to destruction and fighting.

And if the fighting has so far spared them, “it is hunger that is killing us” now, says Abou Gibril, who took refuge with his family in Jabaliya (north) after the destruction from his house a few kilometers away.

This 60-year-old Palestinian farmer had to resolve to slaughter his two draft horses to feed his family and neighbors.

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Disquiet in Rafah

The Hamas Ministry of Health said on Saturday that a two-month-old child, Mahmoud Fatouh, had died of malnutrition at al-Chifa hospital in Gaza.

On Friday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk denounced the “blockade and siege imposed on Gaza” by Israel which “represents the use of starvation as a method of war” which is, he recalled, a “war crime”.

Concern is also growing in Rafah, on the closed border with Egypt, where at least 1.4 million people, most of them displaced, are massed in precarious conditions and are threatened with a large-scale land military operation. wanted by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Before dawn, Israeli bombings cost the lives of at least 103 Palestinians, said the Hamas Ministry of Health, which daily reports around a hundred deaths in Gaza in what is the largest offensive in Israeli history.

At least 29,606 Palestinians have died there, the vast majority civilians, since the start of the war on October 7, according to the latest report from the same ministry.

That day, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack of unprecedented violence in southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, the majority of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.

During the attack, some 250 people were also kidnapped and taken to Gaza. According to Israel, 130 hostages, 30 of whom are believed to have died, are still being held there after the release of around a hundred during a truce at the end of November, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

“No safe place”

Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007 and which it considers, like the United States and the European Union, to be a terrorist organization.

After carrying out a campaign of bombing by land, sea and air against the cramped territory, the Israeli army launched a ground offensive in the northern Gaza Strip on October 27. Military operations against the urban guerrillas led by Hamas are now concentrated in Khan Younes, in the south.

The army announced on Saturday that its soldiers had eliminated “dozens of terrorists”, seized weapons and destroyed a tunnel opening in Khan Yunis, which was transformed into a field of ruins.

The Hamas government reported “more than 70 strikes in the last 24 hours” in Deir al-Balah (north), Khan Younes, Rafah, Gaza and Jabaliya.

“There is no safe place in the entire Gaza Strip. We are all targeted, wherever we are,” Hassan Hamad Qeshta told AFP, after a strike that destroyed a building in Rafah.

The head of Mossad in Paris

Determined to continue the war until the elimination of Hamas, Benjamin Netanyahu presented to his cabinet on Thursday a “post-war” plan, which provides for the maintenance of Israel's “security control” over the territory that this country had occupied from 1967 to 2005.

This plan was rejected by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

It sparked criticism from the United States, Israel's main ally, whose head of diplomacy, Antony Blinken, reaffirmed his country's opposition to any “Israeli reoccupation” of Gaza.

Faced with the diplomatic blockage, new negotiations have been held since Friday in Paris to try to obtain a truce accompanied by the release of hostages, while the families of hostages continue to demand from the government to do everything for the return of their loved ones.

A Western source close to the matter told AFP that “discussions continued” on Saturday, without giving details of their content.

The head of Mossad, the Israeli secret service, David Barnea, arrived in the French capital on Friday at the head of a delegation. At the end of January, he met his American and Egyptian counterparts and the Prime Minister of Qatar, the main mediators in the conflict.

According to a Hamas source, the plan then called for a six-week break and the release of 200 to 300 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 35 to 40 hostages.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116