Top EU diplomat says Israel has provoked ‘famine’ in Gaza

Joseph Borrell accused Israel of using starvation as a weapon of war during European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels


High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell speaks to the media ahead of a Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 18, 2024. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has accused Israel of provoking a famine during a speech at the European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels on Monday.

Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, said during a conference on humanitarian aid for Palestine that “starvation is used as a weapon of war.”

“In Gaza we are no longer on the brink of famine, we are in a state of famine, affecting thousands of people.

“This famine is not a natural disaster,” said Borrell. “It’s not a flood, it’s not an earthquake. It is entirely manmade.”

“Hundreds of trucks are waiting to enter. We send parachutes to a place that is one hour by car from the next airport. Why don’t you send it by airport? Because they don’t [allow it]. This is unacceptable.”

Reports from a number of international organisations have indicated that up to half the population in Gaza is facing starvation as a result of the war with Israel.

However, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz refuted Borrell’s statement on Monday, writing on X: “Israel allows extensive humanitarian aid into Gaza by land, air, and sea for anyone willing to help.”

“Despite Hamas violently disrupting aid convoys and UNRWA’s collaboration with them, we persist.”

He adds that Borrell should “stop attacking Israel and recognize our right to self-defense against Hamas’s crimes.”

Several countries have airdropped aid packages to Gaza as concerns over the population’s humanitarian situation have intensified. Israel has been accused of blocking the passage of trucks carrying aid through its border crossings.

On Monday, British-Israeli spokesman Eylon Levy tweeted about these accusations in a post on X, writing: “Yesterday 8 million lbs. of food entered Gaza by land. That's ~4LBS. OF FOOD PER CAPITA. That's not famine, starvation, or catastrophic food insecurity. I'm sorry if the facts are awkward for your efforts to help Hamas rapists survive 10/7 and live to fight another day.”

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