17 Palestinian children starve to death in Gaza

Mar 07, 2024
Children carry kitchen utensils as they walk toward a food distribution point in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on March 7, 2024. (Photo: AFP)

Ramallah, March 7, 2024—At least 17 Palestinian children have starved to death in Gaza amid the Israeli military’s campaign of genocide against the Palestinian people.

21 Palestinians in Gaza, including at least 17 children, have died of malnutrition and dehydration, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The true death toll due to starvation is feared to be much higher as many Palestinians, particularly in northern Gaza, face famine and are almost entirely cut off from the limited humanitarian aid entering Gaza through the southern Rafah crossing.

“It is unthinkable that in 2024, in a world that produces more than enough food for all people, that Palestinian children are starving to death,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at Defense for Children International - Palestine. “The starvation of children is a hallmark of genocide and a deliberate political choice by Israel, backed by the Biden administration. It is complete madness that Israeli authorities continue to prohibit and restrict food and other life saving supplies to a starving population while the international community stands by.” 

Yazan Kafarneh, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy with cerebral palsy, died on March 4 of malnutrition and lack of healthcare. Young children, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of malnutrition and dehydration.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health death toll accounts for Palestinians who die at hospitals or whose families report their deaths to the ministry. Due to the telecommunications blackout, collapse of the medical system, Israeli ground invasion, and continued Israeli aerial bombardment, many Palestinians are not able to reach hospitals. 

Israeli authorities have repeatedly blocked and severely restricted the amount of humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza.

Israeli forces killed at least 118 Palestinians attempting to get aid from a convoy in Gaza City on February 29 in what was dubbed the Flour Massacre. At least 750 additional Palestinians were injured.

The United States recently delivered two airdrops of aid alongside the Jordanian military to northern Gaza. The airdrops contained a total of 74,800 meals and were widely criticized as a public relations move as the Biden administration faces increased criticism for its complicity in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians. 

International criminal law prohibits serious atrocities, including core crimes of genocide, the crime of aggression, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and provides for individual criminal responsibility for perpetrators. The crime of genocide constitutes the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group, in whole or in part. Genocide can result from killing or by creating conditions of life that are so unbearable it brings about the group’s destruction. Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is an underlying act of genocide and amounts to a war crime.

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