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Rights groups make urgent call for official declaration of famine in Gaza Strip

Palestinians line up for a meal in Rafah (A photo by AP)

Seventy organizations in a joint statement have called on relevant authorities and global institutions to formally recognize a famine in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, the International Lawyers Organization, the International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Union of Arab Jurists, and the Arab Organization for Human Rights were among the rights bodies, which made the call amid alarming reports of widespread famine in the territory.

“The entire population in the Gaza Strip, including the governorates of Deir al-Balah, Khan Yunis, and Rafah, are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity, with half of them in… the disaster/famine stage,” the statement said.

The monitor contends that food insecurity is escalating within the besieged Palestinian territory, attributing it to Israel’s use of starvation tactics as a “weapon of war” against the Palestinian people.

They called on Israel to act immediately to implement the precautionary measures announced by the International Court of Justice regarding the opening of the Rafah crossing to provide basic services and much-needed humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.

The Israeli military continues its offensive in Rafah despite a Friday order by the International Court of Justice to halt its military operation there.

Food security levels have significantly declined due to the Israeli army’s ground invasion of Rafah which began on May 7, the organization said. Such actions, the organizations argue, are equal to genocide.

The majority of goods entering the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom (Kerem Abu Salem) crossing are intended for merchants, and the residents, many of whom have lost their livelihoods, must purchase them.

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With the crossings closed and humanitarian aid being prevented from entering, the threat of famine and acute malnutrition has resurfaced and swiftly spread, affecting the 2.3 million people living in the Gaza Strip, half of whom are children.

Israel pushes ahead with its indiscriminate bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip, claiming the lives of more Palestinian women and children.

More deaths and destruction have been reported as the Israeli regime keeps pounding civilian structures across the Gaza Strip with airstrikes and artillery.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 46 people were killed in the past day across the besieged strip. Nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed since last October when the Israeli genocide began, mostly women and children. More than 80,000 others have been also injured.

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