2 weeks since ICJ ruling, conditions in Gaza are getting even worse

Two weeks since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling, the situation for civilians in Gaza has become even worse, Islamic Relief says.  

Israel is now intensifying its bombing in Rafah – the most crowded part of Gaza, where more than half the population is now sheltering in appalling conditions – and a ground assault there will have catastrophic consequences for civilians.  

On 26 January the ICJ ruled that Israel must end the killing of Palestinians in Gaza and enable an increase in humanitarian aid – yet since then, thousands more people have been killed and injured, and famine is becoming more likely every day as the Israeli siege continues to cut families off from food, healthcare and water.  

In the past few weeks there has been a sharp increase in malnutrition among children under five years old, with malnutrition rates now rising to critical levels.  

An Islamic Relief staff member in Gaza, whose name is withheld given the extreme insecurity, says: “Israel is starving us. We either get killed by bullets or starvation. My children and I haven’t eaten fruit or vegetables for months, and people get killed when they try to meet aid trucks arriving from the UN.  

“I just want to feed my family. We are trying to make bread with dried corn that we previously used as animal feed, as flour is extremely scarce and even if you can find it, it costs a tremendous amount of money. Often all we have for a meal is just some plain rice. My kids are never full, they always want another thing to eat. And we are relatively lucky compared to most people who don’t have anything at all.” 

Many families are going whole days or even several days without eating, and there are reports of children so hungry they are eating leaves or whatever they can find.   

Islamic Relief continues to call on world leaders and international governments to demand an immediate ceasefire and implementation of the ICJ ruling.  

Almost 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza have now been killed or injured after four months of the bombardment, during which violations of international law have become a daily occurrence. The past few days have seen more fierce attacks across Gaza, including in and around hospitals and schools where displaced families have sought refuge, against civilians as they try to get water, and against ambulances and aid convoys providing vital food and medical care.  

Islamic Relief staff and partners on the ground are providing thousands of families with daily hot meals and other vital aid. Yet despite the ICJ ruling, nowhere near enough aid is reaching people in need, due to a combination of the extreme insecurity and Israeli restrictions. Hundreds of thousands of people in northern Gaza are almost completely inaccessible to humanitarian agencies, with convoys there repeatedly denied permission to enter the area. This week only around 200 aid trucks a day have been able to enter Gaza – compared to the 500 trucks that used to enter daily even before the escalation.   

As hospitals continue to face attacks, not a single hospital in Gaza is now classed as fully functioning. The few that are still partly operational are desperately short of fuel, surgical supplies and essentials such as oxygen, with doctors reporting that civilians have died as a direct result.