Dear Mr. Trudeau


The Famine Memorial, Dublin. Designed by Rowan Gillespie. Photo: Bernd Thaller

Duty to Prevent

GPM # 55

Seven months into Israel’s assault on Gaza, starvation in the besieged enclave is widespread. In north Gaza, famine is “projected and imminent.”

These are the latest findings of a UN-affiliated group of food security experts, released on March 18.

The Famine Review Committee based itself on something called the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, or IPC system. According to IPC metrics, famine has begun when at least 20% of households face an extreme lack of food, at least 30% of children suffer from acute malnutrition, and two out of 10,000 are dying each day from starvation, or the interaction of malnutrition and disease.

The “famine threshold for acute food insecurity has already been far exceeded” in Gaza, accompanied by a “major acceleration of death and malnutrition,” the Committee declared.

Fifty-five percent of North Gaza households are currently experiencing catastrophic food insecurity, it said, a figure projected to rise to 70% by mid-July.

According to Al-Jazeera, 27 Gazans have died of hunger since Israel’s assault began, 23 of them children.

On a related matter, this past week, the Irish government announced that it will be intervening in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, and that it will be calling on the UN’s top court to include forced starvation in its definition of genocide.

The GPM spoke about all this with Michael Fakhri, Special UN Rapporteur on the right to food. In a March 5 statement, Fakhri and five other UN experts declared that Israel has been “intentionally starving” Gaza.”

Michael Fakhri is a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. Listen to our conversation in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Unknown photographer. Please reveal yourself.

Speaking of genocide – the so-called crime of crimes; a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – a group of Canadian lawyers and legal scholars have submitted a letter to the Canadian government, demanding that it “take all actions within its power to prevent the commission of genocide in Gaza” – something they say the Trudeau government is not doing.

Specifically, the group is calling on Ottawa to halt arms sales to Israel, and Canada’s importation of Israeli arms and weapon systems.

It also wants Ottawa to suspend military cooperation with Israel, to ban the importation of products produced in Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to impose sanctions on Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, his cabinet ministers and top military chiefs, to withdraw their ambassador, to prosecute individuals and groups recruiting Canadians to serve in the Israeli military, and to prohibit Canadian enlistment.

That’s just part of their list of demands, on behalf of three Palestinian-Canadians who’ve lost family members in Gaza. One of them has lost 74 members of his extended family in the course of Israel’s bombing campaign, soon to enter its seventh month.

The GPM spoke about the Demand for Action letter with two of its authors. Dimitri Lascaris is a private attorney, journalist and activist. Faisal Bhabha is an attorney with the Legal Centre for Palestine. Listen to our conversation in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Thanks to Dan Weisenberger for his outstanding guitar instrumentals.