FIAN International, as member of the Global Network for the Right to Food and Nutrition (GNRtFN), stands in solidarity with the people of Gaza against the total siege imposed by Israel on Gaza.
Since 1948, Palestinians have been living under Israeli occupation, enduring systemic discrimination, violence, and countless deaths. An illegal blockade and closure imposed on Gaza in 2007 restricted Palestinians’ access to food, water, and other essential needs to lead a dignified life, imposing an apartheid state on Palestinians. Food and water have consistently been weaponized by Israel, forcing 77% of the people in Gaza to become dependent on aid in the form of food and cash. 75% of the population of Gaza are refugees or displaced persons, and the access to the already small territory had been reduced from between 300 - 1000 meters of the perimeter fence, taking up 29% of the arable farming land. And while the world is currently watching the attacks on Gaza, the West Bank - specifically “Area C” - continues to face systemic discrimination, attacks, and murder by Israeli forces and settlers. Farmers are also being prevented access to their lands having immediate impacts on livelihood, and long-term impacts on Palestinian food security and food sovereignty.
Following Hamas attacks on 7 October 2023, during which around 1300 persons - many of them civilians - were killed, the government of Israel has doubled down on its closure of the Gaza Strip and is committing war crimes. As hostilities entered the 17th day, heavy Israeli bombardments on Gaza, from the air, sea and land, have continued almost uninterrupted, killing 4651, including at least 1873 children and displacing one million people in the Gaza Strip (OCHA updates). Israeli airstrikes continue to destroy essential infrastructure and medical facilities.
The people of Gaza are trapped and under heavy siege with no way to exit the territory. Consequently, the civilian population of Gaza is affected the most by current Israeli airstrikes and a possible ground invasion. Persons under medical care in hospitals or with other medical or mobility restrictions cannot evacuate. Additionally, fuel and power reserves have run out in some places and are at the brink of running out in others, including those that power live-saving machines in hospitals. Israel is blocking entry to Gaza of life-saving aid and supplies. The loss of civilian life continues to climb each day Gaza remains under siege.
Israel is weaponizing food through its blockade and ongoing siege, which is illegal under international law. Prior to these attacks, and due to the Israeli blockade, Gaza had limited food imports and scarce potable water resources. Gaza’s sole water aquifer was almost fully contaminated prior to the siege; now Israel has cut off the only water pipeline to Gaza, and due to electricity cuts, wells and water pumping stations are out of service. Fears of dehydration in Gaza are already surfacing. Farmers cannot safely access their lands, which are largely near the perimeter fences and heavily militarized. Fisherfolk are constantly being fired upon, arrested, and expelled from the sea.
The UN has consistently called Israel to lift blockades, as well as to end violence in Gaza and the other Occupied Palestinian territories- however Israel continues to act with impunity, backed by powerful financial and political powers. The USA and other western states in particular have not deterred Israel from committing crimes, but have assured their unconditional support. Several UN Special Rapporteurs have alerted that the escalation of the crimes against humanity in Gaza is perpetuating the risk of genocide against the Palestine people.
Collective punishment and attacks on civilians amount to war crimes. We strongly condemn the deliberate killings of innocent civilians and persons being taken hostage by Hamas. We denounce the actions of the Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Forces, which are in violation of international law. Israel has legal obligations to Palestinians as an occupying force, including the protection of the population in the territories it occupies. The ongoing aggression will lead to ongoing instability and potentially further conflict in the region and internationally. The atrocity unfolding can and must be stopped. In line with the Geneva Conventions, the Charter of the United Nations and subsequent human rights instruments, all states have international obligations to prevent war crimes and take joint and separate action to achieve the full realization of human rights in Gaza and the West Bank.
The only means towards ending decades of violence and oppression, while also ensuring justice for Palestinians, is through addressing the root causes of the conflict including through ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and recognising the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. As members and supporters of the Global Network for the Right to Food and Nutrition, we, the undersigned organisations, demand states to take actions to immediately:
- Immediately establish a ceasefire and end the bombing and attacks in Gaza;
- Ensure the provision of food, water and medical supplies to people in Gaza;
- Lift blockages preventing the flow of people and goods into Gaza;
- Release hostages taken by Hamas and Palestinians arbitrarily detained by Israel;
- Ensure justice and reparation for victims;
- Support the work of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel to collect and preserve evidence on war crimes committed by all sides, and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. This should include investigating the responsibilities of all states who have failed to deter conflict parties from committing those crimes or provided support;
- Take concrete steps toward addressing the root causes of violence and finding a solution to the conflict, which secures the rights of Palestinians and ends the current apartheid and colonial occupation of Palestine.
Brazilian Forum for Food Sovereignty and Food and Nutritional Security (FBSSAN), Brazil
Center for Social Development, India
Defensoría del Derecho a la Salud, Mexico
Focus on the Global South
FIAN Sri Lanka
Habitat International Coalition - Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN)
Indonesia for Global Justice (IJG)
Movement of Organic Agriculture of Lanka (MAEL), Sri Lanka
National Fisheries Solidarity Organization (NFSO), Sri Lanka
Masifundise, South Africa
Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC), Pakistan
Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity, India
Right to Food Campaign, India
Society for International Development (SID)
Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia
Sri Lanka Nature Group (SLNG), Sri Lanka
UBING (Policy Research for Alternative Development), Bangladesh
Youth Forum for the Protection of Human Rights, India
Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity (ZAAB), Zambia
Anne C. Bellows PhD, Syracuse University, Syracuse, Italy