Israel Rejects UN Experts’ Accusations of Gaza Starvation Campaign

Human rights experts have accused Israel of deliberately starving Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel has denied allegations by a UN human rights expert group that it has intentionally starved Palestinians in Gaza. The group claims that 34 Palestinians in Gaza have died of malnutrition since October 7, most of whom were children. They accuse Israel of carrying out a “targeted starvation campaign” against the enclave.

The Israeli mission to the UN in Geneva rejected the report, calling its authors “as much accustomed to spreading misinformation as they are to supporting Hamas propaganda and shielding the terrorist organization from scrutiny.”

Israel pointed to a recent report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, which stated that the famine predicted in March had not materialized. The mission claimed that Israel has delivered humanitarian aid to Gaza, but members of Hamas “intentionally steal and hide aid from civilians.”

The expert group, led by special rapporteur on the right to food Michael Fakhri, has argued that the situation in Gaza de facto amounts to a famine, despite the UN not formally classifying it as such.

“Israel’s intentional and targeted starvation campaign against the Palestinian people is a form of genocidal violence and has resulted in famine across all of Gaza,” the experts said in a . They called on the UN to prioritize the delivery of humanitarian aid “by any means necessary,” as well as “end Israel’s siege, and establish a ceasefire.” 

“Inaction is complicity,” the group said.

Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza nine months ago, following the deadly October 7 raid by Hamas that resulted in the deaths of some 1,200 people, while 250 or so were taken captive. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to fight until Hamas is “completely eradicated,” rejecting any possibility of peace with the Palestinian militants.

A weeklong truce in November resulted in the freeing of 105 hostages from Gaza and 240 Palestinian prisoners. Talks mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the US have failed to secure a new ceasefire. 

As of Tuesday, at least 38,243 Palestinans have been killed and 88,033 wounded in the course of the conflict, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. A recently published study in the medical journal Lancet has the death toll could be as high as 186,000 after factoring in “indirect deaths” from hunger, thirst, disease, and exposure.