Borrell Openly Blames Israel for Gaza Famine

Josep Borrell on Monday demanded Western governments clearly name Israel as the reason famine has been identified in at least two of Gaza’s five governorates.

EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in 2022. (European Parliament, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By Julia Conley
Common Dreams

The European Union’s top foreign affairs official on Monday said that after more than five months of Israel’s blocking of humanitarian aid and bombardment of Gaza, the U.S.-backed government has pushed the enclave into famine.

Josep Borrell, the E.U.’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, demanded that Western governments clearly state the reason that at least two of Gaza’s five governorates have now been identified by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification global initiative (IPC) as experiencing famine “with reasonable evidence.”

“In Gaza we are no longer on the brink of famine; we are in a state of famine, affecting thousands of people,” Borrell said in Brussels at a meeting on humanitarian aid for the besieged enclave. “This is unacceptable. Starvation is used as a weapon of war.”

“By whom? Let’s dare to say by whom. By the one that prevents humanitarian support entering into Gaza,” he said, adding that “Israel is provoking famine.”

Borrell’s remarks signify that the E.U. has now accepted that “that Israel is starving Gaza,” said journalist Owen Jones, with “straightforward genocidal intent.”

The IPC, which was established in 2004 by the United Nations and international humanitarian groups, said Monday that since the analysis it conducted in December — in which it warned of famine by May if a cessation of hostilities did not take place — the conditions needed to prevent such a catastrophe have not been met. 

Famine in Gaza’s northern governorates is now projected to take hold between mid-March and May, the IPC said. 

“According to the most likely scenario, both North Gaza and Gaza Governorates are classified in IPC Phase 5 (famine) with reasonable evidence, with 70 percent  (around 210,000 people) of the population in IPC Phase 5 (catastrophe),” said the initiative. 

The group uses the famine classification when at least one of three conditions has been observed:

  • At least 20 percent of households have an extreme lack of food; 
  • At least 30 percent  of children suffer from acute malnutrition; and 
  • At least two adults or four children for every 10,000 people die daily from starvation or from disease linked to malnutrition. 

At least 27 children in Gaza have died of malnutrition in recent weeks, according to local authorities, as Israel has attacked civilians seeking humanitarian aid numerous times and has blocked deliveries.

The E.U. said Monday that just 100 tonnes of aid per day are reaching Gaza, compared with 500 tonnes that entered the enclave daily before Israel’s current bombardment.

The entire population of 2.2 million people is now facing high levels of “acute food insecurity,” according to the IPC. 

Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, head of the pediatric department at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, told Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) that the facility is seeing the daily effects of Israel’s blocking of aid. 

“Amid the famine in the north, there are many cases of elderly people and especially children showing symptoms of dehydration and malnutrition,” said the doctor.

Twenty-five to 30 children are admitted to the hospital on a daily basis, with half of them suffering from dehydration and malnutrition. One child, 2 months old, died today because of dehydration and malnutrition. Other children are on the same trajectory unless the situation is addressed soon.”

Meanwhile, he said, medical workers themselves are “suffering from physical weakness and extreme exhaustion” as they try to treat people injured in relentless bombings and gunfire. 

“As a medical team managing the hospital, we have not been able to secure even one meal,” said Abu Safiya. “Our staff are worn out working 24/7 without food.”

Borrell pointed to recent comments by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Scholz warned: “We cannot stand by and watch Palestinians starve.”

“This famine is not a natural disaster. It is not a flaw. It is not an earthquake. It is entirely man-made,” said Borrell.

“Chancellor Scholz is saying Europeans cannot sit and watch Palestinian starving, when on the other side of the border there is food for months accumulated in stocks, while on the other side of the road there are people dying of hunger.”

Rose Caldwell, CEO of children’s rights group Plan International, added that the “entirely man-made catastrophe should be a source of shame for the international community.”

“After months of unimaginable trauma and indiscriminate bombing, the children of Gaza are now facing the horror of starvation and the threat of imminent famine,” said Caldwell.

“There can be no excuses: preventing access for humanitarian aid is a clear violation of international humanitarian law. The starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is illegal and immoral.”

The IPC has classified only two other humanitarian crises as famines: one in Somalia, which killed 490,000 people in 2011, and one in South Sudan, which killed 80,000 people in 2017. 

At least 31,726 Palestinians have been killed by the Israel Defense Forces since it began its bombardment.

“Before the war, Gaza was the greatest open air prison,” said Borrell. “Today it is the greatest open air graveyard.”

Melanie Ward, CEO of MAP, noted that the organization warned in January that its physicians were seeing evidence of severe malnutrition in children.

“World leaders have fiddled at the edges rather than take decisive action which addresses the cause of this starvation,” said Ward.

“Now world leaders must insist that Israel immediately opens all land crossings into Gaza, particularly the Karni and Erez crossings, and allows safe and unfettered access for aid and aid workers.”

“Children in Gaza are being starved at the fastest rate the world has ever known,” she added, “and their survival depends on more food, fuel, and water entering Gaza immediately, as well as a lasting cease-fire.”

Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from Common Dreams.

10 comments for “Borrell Openly Blames Israel for Gaza Famine

  1. Anon
    March 20, 2024 at 14:58

    Absurdity and extreme cowardice abounds with respect to the criminal israeli govt and its supporters: to remain silent is support.

  2. Emma M.
    March 19, 2024 at 18:18

    Chancellor Scholz, one of the brightest and best leaders of our time and no doubt in German history, if not world history—the Bismarck of today—cannot stand to watch Palestinian children starve, as he prefers to be an active perpetrator in the genocide rather than a mere spectator. Let’s not forget that this is the man whose government effectively claimed copyright on genocide at the ICJ and begged to participate to defend Israel!

    Unrelatedly, Olaf the Wise is also one of the pair of idiots—the other of the Dumb & Dumber duet being Macron—who went to Zelensky last year trying to convince him to start peace negotiations while promising more weapons if he did, which I recall journalist Declan Hayes who reported on it comparing to trying to get your neighbour to stop beating his wife in exchange for a baseball bat.

    The great Scholz is like a character straight out of the script of a play featuring only the blackest humour—what would be a very funny one if you appreciate dark humour, I’m sure—alas, he’s a real person!

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    March 19, 2024 at 10:19

    You mean to tell us…this guy has finally grown balls??? Congratulations. Palestinians have been abused, misused, killed, persecuted, denigrated…since 1948 when the state of israel was founded. And even long before the Zionists’ intention was ethnic cleansing. Has taken all this time…but this mission must never be allowed to be accomplished.

  4. Edward Q
    March 18, 2024 at 20:21

    The West starved Iraq during the 1990’s, but it was done more quietly.

  5. hetro
    March 18, 2024 at 17:27

    The following was NOT said by Netanyahu, or any of his colleagues with equally vicious views, or Joseph Biden and his cohorts rationalizing all the savagery in Gaza as “self-defense.”

    Who then?

    “Close your hearts to pity! Act brutally! Eighty million people must obtain what is their right . . . The stronger man is right . . . Be harsh and remorseless! Be steeled against all signs of compassion! . . . Whoever has pondered over this world knows that its meaning lies in the success of the best by means of force . . .”

    The modeling here occurred in August, 1939.

    Hitler to his generals at a military conference.

    • Em
      March 18, 2024 at 23:15

      Jonathan Pollard, former American intelligence professional, who traitorously spied for Israel.
      Now, living there as a respected senior citizen, he seems to be suffering from his own delusions of grandeur, stating on a Youtube interview with another overly zealous bearded Rabid-eyed Zionist that “Israel Will Annex Jordan.”
      “What makes the world go round?” It’s certainly not civilization!
      A more appropriate question is: What makes the world go aground?
      It seems, no one has the requisite wisdom to figure this out!

  6. Tim N
    March 18, 2024 at 16:20

    Israel will do nothing until it is forced to, and the US will have to do the forcing.

    • michael888
      March 19, 2024 at 06:17

      Genocide Joe “I am a Zionist!” Biden will do nothing, maybe shed crocodile tears and babble about “self defense” and “There Is No Alternative”. Biden WANTS the slaughter/ ethnic cleansing/ genocide to continue; killing innocents is integral to American warfare.

      Remember Biden (claims he) wrote the Patriot Act, and says he will sign the new law allowing the President to ban any platform like TikTok that criticizes Israel (or the US government). He destroyed the Nord stream pipeline. He can do whatever he (or Israel) wants, and no one is allowed to do anything to stop him.

      • Mike
        March 19, 2024 at 22:03

        I believe Biden’s useless foreign policy will cost him the election. Biden reminds me of LBJ when Israel viciously attacked the USS Liberty which was monitoring the 6 Day War. The USN attempted to send aircraft to assist the Liberty but they were ordered down by LBJ (another Israeli ass kisser). Despite all the evidence proving the ship was American the IDF continued to attack the basically unarmed American ship by air and sea trying desperately to sink it. The Israelis are not our friend/ally and to think otherwise is foolish.

    • Mike
      March 19, 2024 at 21:47

      You’re right but it appears Biden doesn’t have the guts to to what is right. He prefers to kiss Netanyhu’s ass instead.

Comments are closed.