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Gaza War Robs Muslim World of Ramadan Joy: Hunger and Fear Worsening

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
16 March 2024 | 17:15 CAT

A Palestinian child plays with traditional fanous lanterns as Muslim devotees prepare for the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip © SAID KHATIB / AFP

Dying, under siege and starving. That is how the Muslims in Gaza started the holy month of Ramadan, with no truce in sight between Israeli forces and Hamas, while the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip continues to get worse daily.

According to reports, a Spanish charity ship with food aid is preparing to sail from Cyprus with food prepared to the coastal Gaza Strip, an area where the UN has repeatedly warned of famine. But, according to aid groups, only a fraction of the supplies required to meet basic humanitarian needs have been allowed into Gaza since Israel placed it under near-total siege last year in October.

The brutal war on Gaza has entered its sixth month. The assault on Gaza has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians, including 13,000 children. Aid delivery to the north of Gaza is being restricted, resulting in the starvation of many more.

Worse still is the Israeli threat to launch a ground operation in Rafah during Ramadan, where more than 1.5 million people are crammed in, many displaced from other parts of Gaza. What was previously a “safe zone” declared by the Israeli army is now a densely populated refugee camp. Rafah has a surface area of around 63 square kilometres (24sq miles). The average population density is now more than 22,200 people per square kilometre (57,276 per square mile). That is twice the density of New York City.

Attacking Rafah would be a bloodbath. The entire world – even the United States – has warned against the operation. Still, according to rhetoric from Israeli government officials, there seems little chance the attack on Rafah will not be carried out.

The United States, Qatar and Egypt had hoped to broker a cease-fire ahead of the normally joyous holiday that would include the release of dozens of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners and the entry of a large amount of humanitarian aid, but the talks have stalled.

The war has driven around 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people from their homes and pushed hundreds of thousands to the brink of famine. Health officials say at least 20 people, mostly children, have died from malnutrition and dehydration in northern Gaza.

Israeli forces have largely sealed off the north since October, and aid groups say Israeli restrictions, ongoing hostilities, and the breakdown of law and order have made it nearly impossible to safely deliver desperately needed food in much of the territory.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said Monday that at least 31,112 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, including 67 bodies brought to hospitals in the past 24 hours.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with Mufti Yusuf Moosagie and Alie Komape of Africa for Palestine.


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1 Comment

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