Lack of food is a daily reality for people in Gaza (Picture: WHO)

The Israeli state is intensifying its policies of starvation and disease as well as the use of missiles, bombs, shells and bullets against the people of Gaza.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organisation (WHO) director general, tweeted on Friday, “As people continue to be massively displaced across the south of Gaza, with some families forced to move multiple times and many sheltering in overcrowded health facilities, my WHO colleagues and I remain very concerned about the increasing threat of infectious diseases.

“Since mid-October until mid-December, people living in shelters have continued to fall sick.” He said there were “close to 180,000 people suffering upper respiratory infections, 136,400 cases of diarrhoea—half of these among children aged under five and 126 cases of meningitis.”

Meanwhile, hunger and malnutrition grow in Gaza, deliberately created by Israel. According to the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), 40 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants are “at risk of famine.” The UN has activated a Famine Review Committee for Gaza “due to evidence surpassing the acute food insecurity Phase 5,”  described as the “catastrophic threshold.”

An angry statement this week from UNRWA said, “For the first two weeks of the war, the Israeli Authorities imposed a hermetic siege on the Gaza Strip, banning the entry of all supplies including food, water, medicine and fuel.  

“The first delivery of humanitarian aid was allowed on 21 October following a complicated and lengthy verification process including re-routing trucks via Israel. Since then, despite some increase in the trucks mostly from Egypt and through the Rafah crossing, it has remained derisory in the face of immense humanitarian needs.”

At the same time, there is no let-up in the bombardment from the air and artillery. The horrific Christmas Eve massacre at the Maghazi refugee camp was so brazenly murderous that an Israeli military official has now said that the death toll was the result of the use of “improper munitions”.

They did not elaborate on what form of blasting apart bodies might be appropriate for a  packed refugee camp. The official told the Israeli Kan public broadcaster that the Israeli army was “working to learn lessons from the incident.”

That sickening lie was exposed the next day when Israeli bombs killed at least 35 people —in Nuseirat and Maghazi refugee camps. Israel is not making “mistakes”. Its forces are killing Palestinians as part of a genocidal strategy of exterminating resistance and ethnic cleansing.

Addressing the UN security council this week, Palestinian representative Majed Bamya said Israel wants “to make sure that life in Gaza is no longer possible, with one aim, what they call ‘voluntary migration’ —the codename for forced displacement. 

“These are the options for Palestinians—destruction or displacement, death or displacement,” he said.

Protests against the killing in Gaza continue. Over 100 people joined a vigil in Liverpool on Saturday and other actions are set for Sunday. It’s crucial to restart the solidarity movement at a level that reaches and surpasses the levels seen earlier.

Local demonstrations for Palestine across Britain, Saturday 6 January
Next national demonstration, Saturday 13 January, 12 noon, London.
Stop the War London Activists’ Meeting,  Monday 8 January, 6:30pm, Mander Hall, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD 

US uses emergency  procedure to arm Israel 

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has approved the sale to Israel of 155mm artillery shells and related equipment without congressional review, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Blinken determined that an emergency exists that requires the immediate sale to Israel, thereby waiving congressional review requirements.

Such decisions show the emptiness of US “pressure” on Israel to minimise civilian casualties in Gaza. The armaments are valued at over £110 million.

This is the second time this month the Biden administration has skipped a congressional review of a weapons sale to Israel. On 9 December the administration used the emergency authority to allow the sale of about 14,000 tank shells to Israel.

The failings of “international law”

The South African government invoked the international Genocide Convention and initiated proceedings against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday.

The South African statement said that it is “gravely concerned with the plight of civilians caught in the present Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip due to the indiscriminate use of force and forcible removal of inhabitants.”

The office added that it had requested the world court declare “on an urgent basis that Israel is in breach of its obligations in terms of the Genocide Convention, should immediately cease all acts and measures in breach of those obligations and take a number of related actions.”

Such moves may embarrass Israel, but they are essentially meaningless. A year ago, the UN General Assembly voted in favour of requesting an advisory opinion on the legality of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Nothing has followed to halt Zionist oppression.

The International Criminal Court opened an investigation into the human rights situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in March 2021. Its chief prosecutor, the British barrister Karim Khan, has gone along with Israeli crimes.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions national committee accused Khan in November of complicity in enabling genocide in Gaza by failing to issue arrest warrants or even issue statements aimed at deterring the commission of crimes against humanity.

In 2004, the court ruled that Israel’s construction of a massive wall in the occupied West Bank was illegal and must be stopped immediately and that reparations should be made for damage caused.

The 2004 advisory opinion had little effect on the ground in Palestine and is one of many recommendations made by UN organs concerning Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights that Israel and other states have spurned.

Hamas is not defeated

Hamas and other resistance groups continue their operations against Israel and its Western backers. As an example, on 29 December the resistance groups announced they had:

Detonated a minefield consisting of four bombs and an anti-personnel mine among an Israeli military’s infantry force and several regime’s military vehicles north of the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, causing many casualties.
Targeted a D9 bulldozer with an Al-Yassin 105 shell north of the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, striking it directly.
Targeted Israeli military forces holed up in a building north of the Bureij refugee camp with missiles and engaged in clashes, resulting in deaths and injuries in the enemy camp.
Shot down a Skylark-2 reconnaissance drone that was on a spying mission in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.
Destroyed two Merkava tanks with Al-Yassin 105 shells in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.
Targeted an assembly of vehicles and soldiers east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza with mortar shells.
Engaged in fierce clashes with the Israeli military forces in the Al-Sha’af and Jabal Al-Rayes areas, east of Gaza City, detonated an anti-personnel device among an infantry force, and targeted regime forces holed up in a building with a TBG shell, resulting in a large number of casualties.
Targeted Israeli regime soldiers and vehicles at the Al-Tuffah and Al-Daraj neighbourhoods in Gaza City.
Launched a barrage of rockets barrages at the Israeli-occupied territories.

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