Israel-Palestine conflict: Gaza hunger crisis worsening, UN says

The UN's World Food Program said only lasting peace can prevent human suffering in Gaza. Meanwhile, Joe Biden urged condemnation of sexual violence from Hamas during the October 7 terror attack

Humanitarian groups were able to distribute aid in Gaza during the seven-day truce, which has now ended. (photo: DW)
Humanitarian groups were able to distribute aid in Gaza during the seven-day truce, which has now ended. (photo: DW)


  • The World Food Program said renewed fighting in the Gaza Strip could undo "desperately needed progress" that was made during the seven-day truce

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with freed hostages and relatives of those still held by Hamas militants in what local media described as a tense meeting

  • US President Joe Biden has called on the world to condemn reports of sexual violence by Hamas militants against Israelis during the October 7 terror attack

Netanyahu meets freed hostages and families of those still held by Hamas

Freed Israeli hostages as well as relatives of those still held by by Hamas militants reportedly stormed out of a "tense" meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, 5 December.

The meeting took place 60 days after the October 7 terrorist attack saw Hamas militants kidnap around 240 people from Israel.

It was the first time Netanyahu's war cabinet had heard directly from recently released hostages.

Netanyahu said the former hostages testified about abuse at the hands of Hamas, which is considered a terror group by the US, Germany and other countries.

"I heard stories that broke my heart, I heard about the thirst and hunger, about physical and mental abuse," the Israeli prime minister said at a press conference afterwards.

"I heard and you also heard, about sexual assault and cases of brutal rape unlike anything."

However, Israeli media described the sit-down as tense and participants said it came to an end when around half of them walked out of the room.

"I won't go into the details of what was discussed at the meeting but this entire performance was ugly, insulting, messy," Dani Miran, a father of one of the hostages who walked out of the meeting, told Israeli television.

"They say 'we've done this, we've done that.' [Hamas' Gaza leader Yahya] Sinwar is the one who returned our people, not them. It angers me that they say that they dictated things. They hadn't dictated a single move."

Jennifer Master, whose partner Andrey is a hostage, added that "it was a very turbulent meeting, many people yelling."

Biden urges world to condemn Hamas sexual violence

US President Joe Biden has called for global condemnation of "horrific" sexual violence by Hamas in the October 7 attacks in Israel.

His comments come after campaigners in Israel criticised what they view as a hushed international response to gender-based violence during the attacks in which some 1,200 people were killed.

"The world can't just look away at what's going on," Biden told his audience at a campaign event in Boston.

"It's on all of us — government, international organizations, civil society and businesses — to forcefully condemn the sexual violence of Hamas terrorists without equivocation."

"Over the past few weeks, survivors and witnesses of the attacks have shared the horrific accounts of unimaginable cruelty," including rape, mutilation and the desecration of bodies, he said.

"Hamas terrorists inflicting as much pain and suffering on women and girls as possible and then murdering them. It is appalling."

In response, Israel has vowed to destroy the group, which is classifed as a terrorist group by the US, Germany and EU among others.

Israel has carried out airstrikes and a ground offensive that, according to Gaza's Hamas-run government, have killed more than 16,200 people, mostly women and children.

Speaking on Tuesday, 5 December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had heard stories of sexual abuse at a meeting with hostages returned from Gaza by Hamas during a recent pause in the fighting.

"I heard, and you also heard, about sexual abuse and incidents of brutal rape like nothing else," he told a news conference.

World Food Program warns of 'catastrophic hunger crisis' in Gaza

The World Food Program (WFP) has warned that the resumed fighting in the Gaza Strip will intensify the "catastrophic hunger crisis" in the territory.

During the seven-day truce when some aid was allowed into the Gaza Strip, the WFP said it was able to scale up its distribution network and reach around 250,500 people.

"Tragically, this desperately needed progress is now being lost," the WFP said in a statement late on Tuesday, 5 December.

"The renewed fighting makes the distribution of aid almost impossible and endangers the lives of humanitarian workers. Above all, it is a disaster for the civilian population of Gaza, more than 2 million people, whose only lifeline is food assistance."

The WFP said that humanitarians require "safe, unimpeded and sustained access" to the Gaza Strip in order to deliver life-saving aid.

"But only a lasting peace can end the suffering and avert the looming humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza," the organization added.

"WFP calls for a humanitarian cease-fire and urges all leaders to work with the utmost urgency to find political solutions that can end the suffering of families on all sides of this harrowing conflict."

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Published: 06 Dec 2023, 9:07 AM