Written by: Sameeh Muhsin

A week ago, the aggression on the Gaza Strip entered its sixth month. Palestinian civilians and civilian objects have been deliberate targets from day one. As of the writing of these lines, this war has killed over 31,000 Palestinian citizens and injured more than 72,000 others, with children and women constituting 72%, according to the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, 27 citizens have succumbed to famine, particularly prevalent in Gaza City and its northern areas.

Everything that occurred and is ongoing in the Gaza Strip since October 2023 was premeditated. In the initial press conference of the Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Galant, he proclaimed: “No water, no food, no fuel” for the Gaza Strip. This declaration exposes the Israeli agenda to wage a genocidal war on the Gaza Strip. This war has led to tragic and desperate humanitarian conditions. In the northern region of the Gaza Strip, which was the starting point of Israeli ground targeting, there is a severe shortage of food, drinking water, and healthcare. Similarly, hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the south are living in comparable conditions.

Despite efforts from the international community, including resolutions brought before the Security Council, the unjust war persists. The American administration has vetoed resolutions calling for its cessation three times. There is hope that the International Court of Justice will intervene, as demanded by the South African government in a lawsuit accusing the occupying government of genocide in the Gaza Strip. This war has undermined the capacity of international institutions to uphold the treaties and conventions they have ratified, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention concerning the Protection of Civilians in Times of War. Moreover, it has highlighted their ineffectiveness not only in stopping the war but also in facilitating the delivery of essential food aid and medical supplies to the Strip. The official Arab regime has struggled to exert significant pressure on the American administration, a key participant in this aggressive war, despite providing various forms of financial and military support to the occupying state. Additionally, it has failed to provide adequate protection in international forums to stop the war and alleviate the dire humanitarian situation, particularly in the north, where famine is a pressing reality.

Today, the northern Gaza Strip is grappling with a genuine famine. As mentioned earlier, 27 civilians have succumbed to famine, while others tragically lost their lives as a consequence of aid dropped from the air. Daily monitoring of events reveals that numerous citizens have been targeted by the occupation forces while awaiting aid, resulting in multiple casualties. Among these incidents, the most horrific was the flour massacre on Al-Rashid Street, claiming the lives of approximately 1,000 martyrs and causing numerous injuries. This method of aid provision blatantly disregards human dignity and fails to meet even the most basic needs for survival. In the north, residents have resorted to exhausting measures to sustain themselves, resorting to wild grasses, animal feed, and water unfit for human consumption. Consequently, this has led to the proliferation of diseases and epidemics. According to a report released by a coalition of international organizations, over ninety percent of young children and pregnant women in the Gaza Strip are currently facing the threat of famine. Rather than compelling the occupying state to open land crossings for aid to reach the Gaza Strip, certain countries, notably the United States of America, a major supplier of lethal weapons to the occupation and provider of military, political, and diplomatic support, have resorted to airdropping aid. While airdropping aid serves a purpose and may have political motives, it fails to adequately meet the minimal needs of citizens necessary for survival. Moreover, it constitutes an affront to their human dignity.

Recently, the American administration has proposed the establishment of a floating dock off the Gaza coast, ostensibly for transporting aid via sea with just a single truckload. However, such an initiative falls far short of meeting the needs of Gazans, who previously relied on 500 daily truckloads to address their necessities. This underscores the necessity of exerting pressure on the occupying government to facilitate aid delivery through land crossings and compel it to cease the war. Based on the aforementioned points, the sole solution to halt the ongoing aggression on the Gaza Strip is to cease the war, facilitate the entry of sufficient quantities of food aid, medicine, and fuel to combat famine, and entrust the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) with their distribution. Several reasons support this approach: (1) UNRWA possesses extensive experience in humanitarian aid delivery; (2) it currently oversees numerous shelter centers; (3) it has successfully resisted attempts to disband it and (4) it prioritizes preserving the dignity of those in need. It is essential to emphasize that while addressing immediate humanitarian needs is crucial, it must not overshadow the underlying issue: the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people and the imperative of achieving justice and fairness for them.

The Palestinian people bear the heavy toll of daily bloodshed and suffering due to the ongoing impunity of the occupying state, which operates above the law. Additionally, they shoulder this burden because of the international community's politicization of international humanitarian law and key United Nations institutions such as the Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 mandates that signatory High Powers compel states violating its provisions to adhere to its principles. Despite this, the International Criminal Court, responsible for investigating complaints against individuals, has yet to take action on the grievances brought before it. Regrettably, the Palestinian people will continue to endure this burden as long as international law and UN institutions remain politicized.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's views and not necessarily the Association's or donor's opinion.