Palestinians starve as Gaza war rages

Palestinians starve as Gaza war rages amid fears of exodus into Egypt

/ 07:16 AM December 12, 2023

Palestinians starve as Gaza war rages

A child stands next to a cooking woman, as displaced Palestinians, who fled their houses due to Israeli strikes, shelter in a tent camp near the border with Egypt amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 11, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

GAZA/CAIRO — Israel on Monday denied it intended to push Palestinians seeking refuge from its bombardment of Gaza over the border into Egypt as international relief agencies said hunger was spreading among the besieged enclave’s civilian population.

Amid the worsening humanitarian crisis, Hamas fighters and Israeli troops fought across the territory, with the militants trying to block Israeli tanks from advancing through the shattered streets.


The Gaza health ministry said 18,205 people had now been killed and 49,645 wounded in Gaza in just over two months of warfare – hundreds since the United States vetoed a proposal for a ceasefire at the United Nations Security Council on Friday.


Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes and residents said it is impossible to find refuge or food in the densely populated coastal enclave.

READ: Battles rage across Gaza, Israel willing to fight for months to beat Hamas

One Palestinian told Reuters he had not eaten for three days and had to beg for bread for his children.

“I pretend to be strong but I am afraid I will collapse in front of them at any moment,” he said by telephone, declining to be named for fear of reprisals.

UNRWA, the United Nations body responsible for Palestinian refugees, said some people were arriving at its health centers and shelters carrying their dead children.


“We are on the verge of collapse,” it said on X.

Over the weekend, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he feared a mass displacement into Egypt and UNRWA commissioner general Philippe Lazzarini said that pushing Gazans closer to the border pointed to attempts to move them over it.

READ: Palestinians in Gaza struggle to follow Israeli evacuation order

Jordan also accused Israel of seeking “to empty Gaza of its people.” The border with Egypt is the only way out of Gaza at present, but Cairo has warned it will not allow Gazans into its territory, fearing they would not be able to return. On Monday, the Israeli government denied this was its aim. Spokesperson Eylon Levy called the accusation “outrageous and false” and said his country was defending itself from the “monsters” who attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

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In that raid, the deadliest in Israel’s history, Hamas gunmen killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took 240 hostage, according to Israeli tallies. About 100 have since been freed.

The Hamas attack triggered an Israeli retaliatory assault and brought the bloodiest period of warfare of the decades-long Israel-Palestinian conflict.

TAGS: crisis, Hunger, Israel-Hamas war, United Nations

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