Gaza Remains on the Brink of Famine

As students come back from the winter break, the ongoing situation in Gaza saw no pause. After now more than 100 days, the devastation has resulted in more than 24,000 confirmed Palestinian deaths, while thousands more are presumed dead under the rubble. One in every 100 people in Gaza are dead. On average, 250 people are dying a day, far higher than all other major conflicts of the 21st century, according to Oxfam.

The devastation has been severe for the children of Gaza. Over 9,000 children have died. That is three times more than all of the killings of children in global armed conflicts in 2022. United Nations (UN) workers have also been victims at an unprecedented scale. In late December, “136 of our colleagues in Gaza have been killed in 75 days — something we have never seen in UN history,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

A record number of journalists, 78 so far, have also been killed by Israel. This has been the deadliest period for journalists since the Committee of Protect Journalists began gathering data in 1992. The Israel Defense Force has said they cannot guarantee the safety of journalists operating in Gaza.

Photo Courtesy | Emad El Byed via Upsplash

Famine Warnings

In spite of all these already catastrophic numbers, many are worried that this is just the beginning. The World Health Organization has warned disease could become a bigger killer than bombs in Gaza. Over 85% of the population is internally displaced. The population of 2.3 million, half of which are children, have been forced into the southern half of Gaza. Israel has told everyone in Gaza to evacuate to an area that is 5.22 square miles, the size of an airport.

 Israel continues its blockade on Gaza and is preventing much-needed food, water and medicine from reaching Gaza. The World Food Program’s chief economist, Arif Husein, told the New Yorker, “There are about 700,000 people in the world currently facing catastrophic hunger… 577,000 of them are in Gaza.” B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, and Human Rights Watch both have accused Israel of deliberately using starvation as a weapon of war. Along with preventing aid from reaching Gaza, they provide evidence that Israel is bulldozing farmland.

Brink of Regional War

All this comes as the war is spreading to regional neighbors. In response to Israel’s violence in Gaza, the Houthis, the de facto government of Yemen, have been boarding and shooting missiles at ships passing through the Red Sea. They are demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and have insisted they won’t stop until one has been achieved. Their actions have yet to result in any casualties or deaths.

The U.S. has retailed with strikes on Yemen. The Houthis and the U.S. Government have shown no signs of stepping down. There has been bipartisan condemnation in Congress of Biden’s action since he is bombing a country without going to Congress. They argue that this violates the Constitution.

Israel has also bombed a Hamas leader in neighboring Lebanon. Many worry that continued escalation with Hezbollah in Lebanon could result in all-out war, as Iran backs Hezbollah. The US and Israel have continued to bomb Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria. Likewise, Iran has continued to bomb US personnel in Iraq and Syria.

Israel Genocide Trial

At the International Court of Justice, Israel faces a legal battle over whether or not their actions are considered Genocide under international law. Brought by South Africa, the case is the most high-profile attempt to legally recognize the actions as genocidal. Israel has regularly boycotted UN and International investigations but has sent a very high-profile team for this case.

South African Lawyers have demanded that the court order a stop to Israeli military actions in Gaza. That decision could take weeks as the final ruling is expected to take years. The court’s eventual findings still have little to no serious enforcement mechanisms. The ruling, however, could be beneficial for other criminal proceedings.

The U.S. and President Biden have supported Israel in its legal defense. This comes as President Biden and other government officials face their own legal hearings domestically. The Center for Constitutional Rights has sued the administration for “complicity in genocide.” This lawsuit is among many targeted toward the Biden administration. The Biden administration has yet to without any support to Israel and has continued to support giving Israel billions more in aid.

Calls for Cease-Fire Grow

As the humanitarian conditions in Gaza continue to deteriorate rapidly, the calls for a cease-fire have only been increasing. Recent polling shows that 68% of Americans support Israel calling a ceasefire to negotiate. Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, World Food Program and the UN Children’s Fund are just some of the increasing list of non-profits and organizations calling for a cease-fire.

Local solidarity continues to grow with events in support of Palestine. A vigil will be held for Palestinians at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 106 7th St S., Moorhead. Palestinians living in the community will be holding an information event called “Palestinian Voices” at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 28, at Knutson Campus Centrum, Concordia College, 624 9th Ave. S, Moorhead.

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