Food Insecurity Bulletin - Issue 29 Autumn and Winter 2023

author: Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute - MAS
year: 2024

This issue of the Bulletin comes at a time when the genocidal war waged by the Israeli occupation has been going on for five months. This war, in which various international laws and conventions intended to safeguard the rights of peoples in wars and armed conflicts are violated, has left over 30,000 dead, over 71,000 wounded, and approximately 2,000,000 displaced persons. This is not to mention the targeting of hospitals, medical staff, and ambulances, resulting in a significant shortage of health facilities and depriving Gazans of accessing necessary medical treatment.

Given these disastrous conditions witnessed by the Strip, this Issue has been retitled as the Food Insecurity Bulletin, to shed light on the deployment by the Israeli occupation of starvation as a weapon
in the war it is waging on the Strip, and Palestine.

The Israeli aggression is characterized not only by the scale of using excessive military force against unarmed civilians but also by the utilization of brutal collective punishments intended to render Gaza uninhabitable, such as domicide and war by starvation, thus creating conditions favorable to the spread of diseases and epidemics. In particular concerning the provision of edible food as a  fundamental component of human life, the Israeli occupation has used starvation as a weapon of warfare, rendering the whole population of the Gaza Strip in near-famine conditions, as stated by relevant international institutions. All of this has been accompanied by the targeting of agricultural land and fishing boats as part of a systematic plan designed to undermine the production infrastructure in the Strip. 

This war marks the culmination of the long-term colonial policies that have contributed to the deprivation of the population of the Gaza Strip of clean potable water and targeted the livelihoods and food basket of the Strip. Moreover, this issue of the Bulletin reviews the most salient developments concerning global and local food prices, with local food prices being largely affected following the prevention by the Israeli occupation of the entry of foodstuffs into the Strip, whether through commercial importing or in the form of humanitarian aid. Prices have been also affected locally in the West Bank markets given the state of uncertainty pertaining to the war on the Gaza Strip and the impact on traditional food supplies largely associated with the Israeli occupation. While the Bulletin primarily references data through the first three months of the war, the course of the war in subsequent months and immediate prospects regrettably confirm the grim outlook and the shocking numbers  reviewed here.

In its third section, the Bulletin revisits the theoretical discussion in relevant literature on the use of starvation as a weapon in instances of war, with a focus on the use by the Israeli occupation of the policy of blockade, considered a major threat to food security, through undermining the various components of food security. This section also refers to the documents clarifying the Israeli occupation policy since 2007 intended to starve the population of the Gaza Strip without causing a famine. Under this policy, the Israeli occupation calculates the calories needed to only ensure the  subsistence of the population of the Gaza Strip and accordingly allows the entry of a certain number of truckloads of food into the Strip. This section also addresses a set of rules in international law “governing” instances of occupation, including the obligations of the occupying state vis-à-vis the occupied. It examines several studies that have referred to the deployment by the Israeli occupation of starvation as a weapon in the wars it has launched against the Gaza Strip, including in the ongoing war.


download attachment