GAZA CITY: The Gaza Strip is grappling with a severe food crisis as Israel’s aggressive military campaign, displacement, and targeted bombings of bakeries exacerbate the humanitarian situation. The closure of crossings to Gaza, coupled with the displacement of thousands and the deliberate bombing of essential infrastructure, has led to widespread food shortages.
Samar Rabie, a mother of four hosting displaced families in her home in Khan Younis, expresses concern about feeding the 15 people under her care. The scarcity of basic items like bread, sugar, legumes, cheese, and dairy products has left the shelves empty. With a tripled increase in food prices since the onset of the conflict, families like Rabie’s are grappling with deprivation of staple foodstuffs.
As the conflict hampers access to farmlands due to constant Israeli bombing, Mahmoud Sharab from Khan Younis highlights the destruction of local farmers’ livelihoods. With farms destroyed, accessing fresh produce becomes increasingly challenging.
Israel’s War of Starvation in Gaza
Sharab, who searches daily for food, emphasizes that the situation amounts to a “war of starvation” imposed on Palestinian citizens, including children. Deliberate bombings of bakeries have led to long queues, with people waiting for six or seven hours to obtain a bag of bread.
The United Nations reports that no bakery in the northern Gaza Strip has been operational since November 7 due to a lack of fuel, water, and wheat flour, along with structural damage. Eleven bakeries in Gaza have been completely destroyed, while others struggle to operate due to shortages of flour, fuel, and electricity.
Negative coping mechanisms are emerging due to food scarcity, including reduced meals, unconventional eating practices, and the use of unsafe methods for making fire, according to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Since Israel imposed a total siege on Gaza on October 7, aid convoys have faced significant obstacles, providing only a fraction of the necessary assistance to the 2.3 million Palestinian people in the territory.