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Photo: MSF Doctors Witout Borders

Urgent Call to Declare Gaza a Famine-Stricken Area

We the undersigned Civil Society Organizations and Coalitions, considering the ongoing genocide in Gaza for more than seven months, the people of Gaza are suffering from severe food shortages, a continuous decline in nutrition levels, widespread malnutrition among children, and increased mortality rates due to diseases caused by hunger and malnutrition, along with the difficulty of accessing medical and healthcare services. Additionally, the environmental pollution resulting from the destruction of sewage systems, the inability of municipalities to remove waste, the presence of thousands of bodies under the rubble, and the weak humanitarian response and provision of necessary aid to those in need.

The destruction of infrastructure and the fuel shortage have led to a significant halt in sanitation and waste disposal services, resulting in the spread of waste and sewage without proper disposal methods. With rising temperatures, the spread of diseases and epidemics has become a reality among Palestinians in the sector. Furthermore, the Civil Defense in Gaza suffers from a severe lack of resources, equipment, and personnel, preventing them from clearing rubble and retrieving bodies.

According to international humanitarian law and international human rights law, causing famine as a military tactic against civilians is prohibited. Article 54 of the First Additional Protocol to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1977 affirms the protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, prohibiting the attack, destruction, removal, or rendering useless of such objects, including foodstuffs, agricultural areas, crops, livestock, drinking water installations, and irrigation works if the purpose is to starve civilians or to force them to move or for any other motive.

Similarly, Article 14 of the Second Additional Protocol to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1977 prohibits the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and prohibits attacks on, destruction of, removal of, or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.

Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states that any act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group as such, constitutes genocide. Furthermore, Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, and obliges states to take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right.

The act of causing famine and destroying life-sustaining resources in Gaza also violates the interim measures ordered by the International Court of Justice, thus opening the possibility for prosecuting those responsible or delaying the delivery of aid before the International Criminal Court. The actions and policies imposed by the Israeli occupation on the people of Gaza place it in a position of criminal responsibility due to its actions that have created conditions such as direct attacks on vital installations or imposing a blockade to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the population.

The Famine Review Committee in its March 2024 report concluded that famine is likely unless there is an immediate cessation of hostilities, unrestricted access to food, water, and medicines, protection of civilians, and restoration of health services, clean water, sanitation, energy, and electricity for the population. Since March, hostilities against civilians have continued, and despite the arrival of some relief aid to northern provinces, it remains insufficient to deal with ongoing hunger.

We, the undersigned, call on the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to immediately declare Gaza a famine-stricken area due to famine, environmental pollution, and the spread of diseases. The United Nations and the Palestinian Authority must adopt this declaration and coordinate global and local efforts in partnership with Palestinian civil society to develop an immediate plan to address these impacts, elevate emergency relief levels for citizens in the sector, and push toward accountability and prosecution of the occupation for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We call on all organizations, movements, human rights defenders, and supporters to sign this petition to urge the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to declare Gaza a famine-stricken area and take the necessary measures to protect its inhabitants.

Long live the struggles of the Palestinian people! Long live a free and proud Gaza!

Ramallah, May 23, 2024

Signatory Palestinian Organizations and Movements:

Palestinian NGO’s Network (PNGO)
Civil Action Coordination Council
Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council
Medical Association - Jerusalem Center
Engineers Association - Jerusalem Center
Palestinian Journalists Syndicate
Veterinarians Syndicate
Agricultural Engineers Association
Palestinian Bar Association
Palestinian Education Coalition
Bisan Center for Research and Development
Palestinian Agricultural Relief Coalition (PARC)
Addameer prisoner support and human rights association
The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy – MIFTAH
Land Research Centre
Union of Agricultural Work Committees
The Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development
The Palestinian Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
Maan Development Center
Applied Research Institute – Arij
Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of torture 
The Palestinian Center for Independence of Lawyers and Jury- Musawah
Burj Laqlaq
Teacher Creativity Center Association
Defense for Children International- Palestine
Yafa Cultural Center
Economic & Social Development Center of Palestine
Palestinian Medical Relief Society
Center for Defense of Liberties & Civil Rights (Hurryyat)
Afkar for Educational and Cultural Development 
Health Work Committees
Association of Women's Committees for Social Work
Psychosocial- social Counseling Center for Women
The Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling
Women's Studies Center
Qader for Community Development
Palestinian Popular Resistance
Palestinian Center for Human Rights
The Civic Commission for Independence of Jury
The National Association for Rehabilitation
Gaza program for Psychological health
The Association of Union of Palestinian Womens Committees
Womens Affairs Center
Al-Najdah Social Association
Haider Abd Alhsafi Center for Culture and Development
Gaza Urban Agriculture Platform
Community Development and Media Center
Palestinian Counseling Center
Disabilities Representative Persons Network
Center for Womens Legal Research and Consulting 
Altaghreed Association for Culture and Development
Abd Shafi Association for Health and Society
Tadamon Charity Association 
Palestinian Hydrology Group
AlAhli Association for Development of Dates and Palm
Palestinian Center of Organic Agriculture 
Ma'an Development Center/Gaza
The Culture and Free Thought Association
Palestinian Developmental Women Studies Association 
The Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development
Al-Foukhary Association For Development and Culture
Al Sattar Garbee Association for Developing Countryside and Farmer
The Society of Women Graduates in Gaza Strip
Central Blood Bank Society
Gaza Culture & Development Group 
Palestinian Commission for Mental Health
Ertigaa Association for Community Development
Tulkarm Cooperative Society for Handicrafts
International Commission to support Palestinian People’s Rights
Palestinian Al-Nakheel Association for progress and development 
The Society for Care of the Handicapped 
Women's Action Association for the Rehabilitation of Women and Children
Hanan for Culture and Social Development Association 
Arab Agronomists Association
Al Ferdaus Association for Woman and Child Development
The Palestinian New Federation of Trade Unions 
Baitona For Community Development 
Mashareq Charity Association for Development and Improvement    
Science and Cultural Center
Agricultural Development Association
Mothers School Association

International Coalitions and Organizations:
The Peasants Movement, La Via Campesina
People’s Health Movement 
Viva Salud Organization 
Sheffield Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid 
Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Jordanian coalition for education
The Arab Community Movement for Teaching and Learning
Sheffield Palestine Cultural Exchange
Student Government Food Security Agency at UT Austin
Sheffield Jews Against Israeli Apartheid 
Marcha Mundial de las mujeres, Región Americas
International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India (InSAF India) 
World March of Women
The Groundwork Movement
Tierra Nativa
Alliance pour le Déménagement Durable et pour l'Environnement (ADDE)
Stoke Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Khulumani Support Group
TU Delft 4 Palestine
Confédération paysanne
Bentaleb Mustapha
European Coordination Via Campesina