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UN expert urges Israel to end 'starvation campaign' in Gaza


A United Nations (UN) expert on Thursday condemned Israel's destruction of the food system in Gaza and urged an end to the "starvation campaign" there.

At a meeting of the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Michael Fakhri said nearly 75 percent of Gaza's fishing sector had been devastated by Israeli bombardment.

"Israel has mounted a starvation campaign against the Palestinian people in Gaza ... by targeting small-scale fishers," the independent rights expert said.

Since October 7, Israel has denied all access to the sea, he said.

"Israeli forces decimated the Port of Gaza, destroying every single fishing boat and shack," he said. "In Rafah, only two out of 40 boats are left. In Khan Younis, Israel destroyed approximately 75 small-scale fishing vessels."

The destruction of fishing livelihoods in the enclave had undermined the right to food for people in Gaza and pushed them into hunger and starvation, Fakhri said.

Several other countries have criticized Israel for the growing hunger in the enclave, including Egypt and Iraq.

Yeela Cytrin, a legal adviser at the Israeli mission to the UN, called the allegations against it a "blatant lie".

"Israel utterly rejects allegations that it is using starvation as a tool of war," she told the council and then walked out in protest.

On Tuesday, UN experts condemned the violence of Israeli troops that fired on crowds of Palestinians gathered to collect flour in the southwest of Gaza on February 29. At least 112 people died and some 760 were injured, according to a UN press release.

(With input from Xinhua, Reuters)

(Cover: Palestinian people with empty pots receive food distributed by charity as Gaza faces hunger crisis as situation worsens amid blockade due to the ongoing Israeli offensive on February 29, 2024, in Deir al Balah, central Gaza. /CFP)

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