With no chance to celebrate Ramadan, Gazans gather at soup kitchens

By Thomson Reuters Mar 20, 2024 | 5:25 AM

By Mahmoud Issa

JABALIA, Gaza (Reuters) – In the Jabalia refugee camp, hungry Gazans hold out pots to receive soup during the holy month of Ramadan.

As other Muslims around the world consume traditional Ramadan meals and desserts to break their fast after sunset, residents of the besieged strip are lucky to find a few scraps of food, or sips of water, after more than five months of Israeli bombardment in its war with Hamas.

The United Nations human rights chief on Tuesday said Israel’s restrictions on humanitarian aid for Gaza may amount to a starvation tactic that could be a war crime, after a U.N.-backed report found famine is likely by May without an end to the fighting.

Israel has denied blocking aid to Gaza.

“The children of Palestine are innocent, they need the basic necessities of life, and all this is due to the siege and the destruction of homes and all that,” said Bassam al-Hilou, a resident of the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza.

He called on human rights organisations to take action to end the siege for the “dignity” of the Palestinian people and for an end to the Israeli military campaign, which shows no sign of easing despite mediation efforts by Qatar and Egypt.

Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials, and reduced much of the enclave to rubble.

The campaign was triggered by Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, in which Israel said 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage.

Children walk away from the crowded aid stations with enough food in their pots, perhaps for a few hours, until hunger sets in again.

(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Sharon Singleton)