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UN Experts Condemn Flour Massacre, Call for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza

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Press release

Geneva – March 7, 2024


UN experts condemned the recent violence perpetrated by Israeli forces in Gaza, terming the incident as the “Flour Massacre.” The assault, which took place last week, resulted in the tragic deaths of at least 112 people who had gathered to collect flour in the southwest of Gaza City. The UN experts have labeled this event a “massacre” occurring in the backdrop of an increasingly dire humanitarian situation and the systematic destruction of the local food production system in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The experts accused Israel of deliberately starving the Palestinian people in Gaza since October 8 and underscored the targeting of civilians seeking humanitarian aid and humanitarian convoys as unacceptable. The attack on February 29, where Israeli troops fired upon crowds collecting flour, claimed 112 lives and left 760 injured. This assault followed a month-long denial of humanitarian aid into Gaza City and northern Gaza, further exacerbating the already dire conditions in the region.

Highlighting a disturbing pattern, the experts noted over 14 recorded incidents of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians seeking aid between mid-January and the end of February 2024. Despite humanitarian aid convoys sharing their coordinates with Israel, the country has reportedly opened fire on them multiple times.

The report pointed out that Israel’s actions violate international legal obligations and the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice on January 26. The court had acknowledged the plausibility of Israel committing genocide and instructed the nation to facilitate the delivery of urgently needed essential services and humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

The consequences of these actions are dire, with 15 children already succumbing to malnutrition at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza City and concerns rising for higher figures in other hospitals. The risk of famine looms large, affecting all children under five and putting 335,000 at increased risk of severe malnutrition. The experts expressed horror at the fact that children are now dying from malnutrition, dehydration, and hunger.

Recent negotiations between Hamas and Israel on a proposed 40-day ceasefire revealed commitments from Israel to allow the entry of trucks and the delivery of essential supplies. However, the experts stressed that humanitarian aid should not be used as a bargaining chip and urged an immediate and permanent ceasefire to prevent or end the looming famine in Gaza.

The report concluded with a reiterated call for an arms embargo and sanctions on Israel, emphasizing the international community’s duty to ensure respect for human rights and prevent violations of international humanitarian law.

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