Israeli massacre of starving Palestinians prompts Biden to promise air-dropped food

Starving-Palestinians-line-up-for-food-Gaza-030124-by-Ashraf-Amra-Anadolu, Israeli massacre of starving Palestinians prompts Biden to promise air-dropped food, World News & Views
Starving Palestinians line up for hours to receive food distributed by charitable organizations in Deir Balah, Gaza, on March 1, 2024. Bernie Sanders says, “Israel MUST open the borders and allow the United Nations to deliver supplies in sufficient quantities.” – Photo: Ashraf Amra, Anadolu

Breaking news from Al Jazeera and Democracy Now!

From Al Jazeera:

Speaking to reporters at the White House [on Friday, March 1], Biden said the US’s humanitarian aid drops into Gaza will begin in the “coming days.”

He also said the US was continuing to work towards a ceasefire that would allow even more aid to flow into the enclave. However, he previously acknowledged that the killing of at least 115 aid-seekers in northern Gaza on Thursday – after Israeli forces opened fire in the area – could complicate these efforts.

The current amount of aid getting into Gaza, Biden said, is not enough to meet people’s needs, and he wants to see “hundreds” more aid trucks get in.

Yousri Alghoul, a Palestinian author who witnessed the mass shooting of aid seekers by Israeli forces, says people facing hunger in northern Gaza often head to the Nabulsi area in southwest Gaza City, where assistance trucks occasionally arrive during the absence of UNRWA and other humanitarian agencies.

He said Israeli forces target Palestinians there daily, but the scale of the violence early on Thursday was unprecedented as Israeli soldiers methodically opened fire at people with the aim to kill.

Alghoul told Al Jazeera in a voice note that Israeli snipers shot hundreds of victims in their upper bodies – in the chest and the head.

“It was a massacre, which is incredible. We were waiting just to get food,” he said. “We don’t have food. There’s starvation here in north Gaza. Even the food of animals, we don’t find it. We’re just eating plants.”

From Democracy Now!:

In Gaza City, at least 104 Palestinian refugees [115 at latest count] were killed Thursday, Feb. 29, when Israeli troops opened fire on a crowd waiting for food aid. “This isn’t the first time people have been shot at by Israeli forces while people have been trying to access food,” says the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, who accuses Israel of the war crime of intentional starvation.

This comes as reports grow of Palestinians resorting to animal feed and cactus leaves for sustenance and as experts warn of imminent agricultural collapse. “Every single person in Gaza is hungry,” says Fakhri, who emphasizes that famine in the modern context is a human-made catastrophe. “At this point I’m running out of words to be able to describe the horror of what’s happening and how vile the actions have been by Israel against the Palestinian civilians.”

Nermeen Shaikh: Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid in Gaza are coming under fire from Israeli forces in Gaza as acute hunger and severe malnutrition are spreading. In the latest attack earlier today, over a hundred Palestinians were killed and more than 700 wounded in Gaza City when they came under fire from Israeli tanks and drones.

Over half a million people in Gaza are on the cusp of starvation, while virtually the entire population of 2.3 million people is in desperate need of food as a result of the continued Israeli bombardment, ground attacks and ongoing siege. According to the United Nations, the amount of aid reaching the Palestinian territory dropped by 50% in February compared to the previous month.

This is Ramesh Rajasingham, coordination director of the U.N.’s humanitarian office, speaking at the Security Council on Wednesday.

Ramesh Rajasingham: In December, it was projected that the entire population of 2.2 million people in Gaza would face high levels of acute food insecurity by February 2024 — the highest share of people facing this level of food insecurity ever recorded worldwide. And here we are at the end of February with at least 576,000 people in Gaza, one-quarter of the population, one step away from famine.

Amy Goodman: The U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, says Israel is intentionally starving Palestinians and should be held accountable for war crimes. Michael Fakhri joins us now from Eugene, Oregon. He’s a professor of law at the University of Oregon.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Michael Fakhri. Why don’t you lay out what you understand is happening? And what is international law around the right to food?

Michael Fakhri: Yes. Thank you, Amy.

Every single person in Gaza is hungry right now. A quarter of the population, so that’s a half a million people, are starving. And famine is imminent. We’ve never seen an entire population, 2.2 million people, made to go hungry this quickly and this completely. And people’s health is rapidly declining. What’s really concerning now is we’re starting to hear reports of children dying from dehydration, malnutrition and starvation. We’ve never seen children pushed into malnutrition so quickly. In the almost five months of war, there have been more children, more journalists, more medical personnel, more U.N. staff killed more than anywhere else in the world in any conflict.