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US Slammed For Providing Israel With ‘License To Kill’ Palestinians

Above photo: United Nations Photo.

Three UN agencies warned that over half a million Palestinians face famine by May if Israel continues to prevent humanitarian aid supplies to Gaza.

And if a ceasefire is not in place.

According to three different agencies of the UN, over half a million Palestinians are on the verge of famine if heavy interruption of humanitarian aid persists and a ceasefire does not take effect in Gaza soon. The fear was echoed by several countries who also held the US equally responsible for such a catastrophe.

The World Food Program (WFP), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) representatives briefed the UN Security Council on the situation in Gaza at a special meeting called by Guyana, Switzerland, Algeria, and Slovenia on Tuesday, February 27.

According to the OCHA, around 576,000 people are facing “catastrophic levels of deprivation and starvation” with the majority of the people in Gaza being forced to rely on “woefully inadequate humanitarian food assistance to survive.”

Addressing the UNSC, Carl Skau, WFP Deputy Executive Director, said that almost the entire population of Gaza of over 2.2 million is dependent on food aid already and if the current situation persists by May, at least 500,000 of them will face famine.

“Gaza is seeing the worst level of child malnutrition anywhere in the world” with one in every six children under the age of two acutely malnourished, he informed the Council.

Skau observed that more than a lack of enough supplies, the actual cause for the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is obstructions caused by the continued war and lack of security for the staff involved in providing relief to people.

It was a clear rebuttal to Israel’s claim that it is not blocking any aid delivery in Gaza. Israeli representative Brett Jonathan Miller had denied that humanitarian aid is withheld by his country and claimed his country has allowed more aid than ever before to flow into Gaza in recent days. He blamed the UN for the deficiency and called its delivery system inefficient.

“We need a safe and functioning operating environment for humanitarian staff” with more ports opened and a functioning communication system for a better and efficient humanitarian aid delivery system, Skau underlined.

Hundreds of UN staff have been killed and scores of shelter homes run by UN agencies targeted by Israel since the beginning of the war in Gaza on October 7. Israel has repeatedly attacked aid convoys as well.

Skau also emphasized that the humanitarian aid delivery would be meaningful only if basic services such as water supply, hospitals, electricity and sanitation start functioning.

Israel’s indiscriminate air strikes have destroyed almost all public delivery systems in Gaza. Its forces have also targeted and attacked hospitals and medical staff regularly in the last five months killing scores of staff and destroying hospitals, ambulances, and other medical facilities.

Skau noted that the normal functioning of UNRWA is essential for most of the services in the besieged territory.

Several other countries such as China and Russia demanded that the world should resume the funding of UNRWA so that it can function normally as it cannot be replaced by any other agency.

The United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) which caters to the needs of the majority of refugees in the occupied territories including Gaza, has faced a fund crunch since Israel launched an attack against the agency in January alleging it collaborated with Palestinian resistance groups during the attacks on October 7.

UNRWA has launched an investigation into the Israeli allegations. However, several countries such as the US, France, Germany, and others have already cut or completely halted their funding to the agency despite Israel failing to substantiate its allegations.

US Provides Israel License To Kill Palestinians

Speaking in the meeting, Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia claimed that the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza has nothing to do with shortage of aid supply. He said that the deliberate delays created by Israel and its refusal to stop the hostilities inside Gaza are primarily responsible for the shortage in the delivery of food and other essential commodities to Palestinians.

Nebenzia underlined that an immediate ceasefire is the only way to prevent humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and alleged that it is not being achieved due to the US blocking all efforts to bring peace.

The US has vetoed UN resolutions demanding a ceasefire in Gaza at least three times since October, including last week. It has also defended Israel’s attacks on hospitals and the humanitarian aid delivery system in Gaza and reiterated Israeli allegations of them being used by Hamas.

US representative Robert Wood defended such attacks on Tuesday as well.

Nebenziya also criticized the draft recently presented by the US in the Security Council which calls for a “temporary” rather than permanent ceasefire in Gaza. He called it yet another “license to kill” Palestinians. He asked other members to reject the draft and instead consider sanctions against Israel to make it comply with international law and earlier resolutions adopted.

Chinese ambassador Dai Bing also demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“We call on Israel to earnestly fulfill its obligations as the occupying power under the Geneva convention, fully cooperate in the implementation of the Security Council resolutions, open up all land, sea and air access routes and ensure the safe, rapid and unimpeded entry of humanitarian supplies,” Bing said.

Bing also asked Israel to implement the provisional measures prescribed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) during its hearing on South Africa’s plea on Genocide in Gaza. The court had asked Israel to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and take measures to prevent any genocide.

Israel is weaponizing food in order to force Palestinians to leave the occupied territory, stated Riyad Mansour, Palestinian representative in the UN. The charge was made by the Algerian ambassador as well, who called for urgent action by the international community.

“The ongoing attack on Gaza is not a war against Hamas; it is collective punishment for the Palestinian civilian people. Our silence grants a license to kill and starve the Palestinian population. The Council must urgently call for a ceasefire as our inaction equals complicity in this crime,” Algerian ambassador Amar Bendjama said.

Mansour demanded an immediate ceasefire, greater access to humanitarian aid, and accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity which Israel is committing against Palestinians.

Close to 30,000 Palestinians, including over 10,000 children, have been killed and over 70,000 have been wounded by Israel since the beginning of the war. The Israeli war has also displaced almost 2 million people who are forced to live in unhygienic, overcrowded places with inadequate food, water, medicine and sanitation.

Israel has continued to attack temporary shelters as well and is threatening to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, where around 1.4 million, mostly displaced people, are taking shelter in a narrow stretch of land.

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