UN expert: Israel is destroying Gaza’s food system as part of ‘starvation campaign’

Around 80 percent of Gaza’s fishing sector has been destroyed since Oct. 7, according to a UN expert.

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A UN expert said on Thursday that Israel was destroying Gaza’s food system as part of a broader “starvation campaign” in its war against Hamas militants.

Aid officials have warned of looming famine five months into the campaign against the Palestinian group, while hospitals in the isolated northern part of the enclave say children have started dying from malnutrition.

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“Israel is not only denying and restricting the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Israel is destroying the food system in Gaza,” Michael Fakhri, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, said in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council.

“Israel has mounted a starvation campaign against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” he added, saying that included targeting small-scale fishermen.

Israel denies restricting relief into Gaza and has since last week begun working with private contractors to deliver aid.

It also denies waging war on civilians, saying its fight is with Hamas whose fighters killed 1,200 people and seized 253 hostages during its Oct. 7 attacks.

Israel participates in human rights council debates as an observer and may address the forum later on Thursday.

Fishing sector hit

Fakhri, a Lebanese-Canadian law professor, is one of dozens of independent human rights experts mandated by the United Nations to report and advise on specific themes and crises.

He was due to speak about fishing and climate change but used much of the first part of his speech to the 47-member Geneva council to address the Gaza situation.

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He alleged that Israel is targeting small-scale fishers by denying them access to the sea and destroying boats and shacks.

Around 80 percent of Gaza’s fishing sector has been destroyed since Oct. 7, he said, adding that every boat had been demolished by Israeli forces in the main port of Gaza City.

Reuters could not verify that, though images from Oct. 8 showed smoke billowing from a boat at that port after Israeli strikes.

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