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Palestinians examine the ruins of a 14-story residential tower, called the Palestine Tower. Photo: Mohammed Zaanoun/ Activestills

Palestine & Israel

The people of Gaza are Starving; for Food and for Justice

For the last long 6 months, the world has watched while a murderous military offensive has been executed by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) resulting in unprecedented death and destruction in the Gaza Strip. Only in recent weeks has the UN Security Council agreed to call for a conditional ceasefire. What a shameful indictment of our common humanity!

The attacks by Hamas on October 7th were clearly a war crime, but the shockingly disproportionate response by Israel, which has resulted in the loss of more than 33,000 Palestinian lives and an unfolding famine, should never have been tolerated.

Caoimhe de Barra, Trócaire’s CEO asked the question, “How many more international laws will be breached by Israel before the tide turns and the USA’s military support of Israel will end? The IDF’s deliberate and indefensible targeting of civilians, hospitals and aid workers has brought outrage. But these are just empty words if not followed by action.

Today’s (5th April) announcement that the Erez Gate in northern Gaza will be temporarily re-opened for the first time in 6 months, and Ashdod Port will also be opened for some humanitarian deliveries is a welcome step but how much aid will be allowed into Gaza remains
to be seen. More than half of the population will experience famine before mid-May unless there are drastic changes introduced immediately.

Mr Mahmoud Shalabi, Programme Director of Trócaire’s partner Medical Aid for Palestinians
(MAP) in Gaza said the following “Let there be no mistake, the Israeli government is using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza. This is an entirely preventable human-made crisis and can be ended right now.”

The suffering of the Palestinian people is on a scale the world has not seen this century as the 2.23million people are now facing famine by the summer months. Parents are sacrificing
everything for whatever food they can get for their starving children, but doctors no longer see healthy babies being born. Instead, there are many neonatal deaths caused by malnutrition and dehydration and distressingly, there is insufficient anaesthetic for caesarean sections.

For Trócaire and many of our partner agencies and their staff in Gaza, this has been the darkest 6 months of a 16-year campaign of oppression in Gaza. Palestinians have been subjected to systematic violence, oppression and discrimination by Israel and there has been no accountability or answerability demanded from the international community for these outrages. Not only does Israel pay no price for these actions, but rather it is rewarded through support and beneficial trade relations.

The Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF – Ireland’s national pension fund), invests internationally. Some of these investments are in companies and banks that are complicit in human rights violations including the war on Gaza. There can now be no justification or
excuse for continuing this.

In Dáil Éireann, the Government should unblock the Occupied Territories Bill and support the immediate passage of the Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill. This would enshrine in law that taxpayer money, such as that managed by the ISIF, is not invested in companies
connected with Israel’s settlements which are illegal under international law.

Such actions are commensurate with Ireland’s stance on the war on Gaza and would further show national leadership to make us proud that Ireland acted on the right side of history in these dark days.

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