Gaza’s Ramadan Commences Amidst Deepening Hunger Crisis

Gaza's Ramadan Commences Amidst Deepening Hunger Crisis
RAFAH, GAZA - FEBRUARY 10: People inspect the damage to their homes following Israeli air strikes on February 10, 2024 in Rafah, Gaza. Whilst a new ceasefire deal is negotiated between Israel and Hamas, there are mounting concerns over an IDF ground invasion of Gaza's southern city of Rafah where some 1.4 million internally displaced Palestinians are sheltering, and the UN warns of a "large scale" loss of life. (Photo by Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

Gaza’s Ramadan Commences Amidst Deepening Hunger Crisis

Palestinians commenced their Ramadan fast on Monday amidst stagnant cease-fire talks, escalating hunger in Gaza, and an ongoing five-month conflict with Israel. Residents expressed a somber mood, highlighting the challenging circumstances after months of war resulting in over 30,000 Palestinian casualties and significant destruction in Gaza.

The traditional joy associated with breaking the daily fast during Ramadan has been dampened. Accessible food options are limited to canned goods, often priced beyond the means of many families. In a weekly cabinet meeting, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh lamented the dire situation in Gaza, urging the International Court of Justice to intervene and halt the ongoing “genocide crimes.”

Some Palestinians anticipate increased hostilities during Ramadan, mainly focusing on resistance and concerns related to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Efforts to broker a cease-fire involving Qatar, Egypt, and the United States before Ramadan faced a setback last week. Hamas seeks guarantees for a comprehensive agreement leading to the end of the conflict. At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains committed to the offensive until achieving “total victory” against the militant group.

The war’s toll has displaced approximately 80% of Gaza’s 2.3 million population, pushing hundreds of thousands to the brink of famine. Health officials report at least 20 deaths, primarily children, attributed to malnutrition and dehydration in northern Gaza. Israeli restrictions, ongoing hostilities, and the breakdown of law and order have complicated the delivery of essential food aid, particularly in areas primarily sealed off by Israeli forces since October.

The latest update from Gaza’s Health Ministry indicates that the conflict has resulted in at least 31,112 Palestinian casualties, with 67 bodies brought to hospitals in the past 24 hours. The region remains in a state of crisis as the international community watches closely for any potential diplomatic breakthroughs or interventions to alleviate the suffering in Gaza.

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