UN expert exposes starvation policy
Source Jim Devine
Date 03/10/11/01:10

UN expert Jean Ziegler has documented how Israeli policies are preventing
Palestinians from having food and water, and thus causing a catastrophic
humanitarian situation.  His report was prepared for the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights, to be presented at the UN General Assembly
next month.  Now Israel and the U.S. are seeking to block this report,
and Israel is even demanding that Ziegler be "disciplined"!  Below are
two articles; one dealing with Ziegler's findings, the next with Israel's
blocking reaction.

UN Expert reports on Israel's Starvation Policy
Compiled by from AP and Aljazeerah reports - Sept. 18,

A UN human rights expert is preparing to submit a report to the UN
General Assembly that charges Israel of triggering a "humanitarian
catastrophe" in the Palestinian territories, newspaper reports said

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, said in a
draft report that the Israeli military is preventing Palestinians
reaching food and water with restrictions on movement in the territories,
according to Swiss newspaper Le Temps and news agency ATS.

"There is a permanent, grave violation of the right to food by the
occupying forces. There is a catastrophic humanitarian situation, and
really it is absurd," said Jean Ziegler, UN special expert on the right
to food.

Ziegler, a Swiss university professor, visited the occupied Palestinian
territories in July and spent 10 days there to gather material for a
report to the UN General Assembly.

Palestinian villages are circled by troops, preventing food deliveries
from getting in and farmers from reaching their fields, he said. Many
villages are forced to buy their water because their previous sources
have been cut off.

Ziegler also cited the destruction or confiscation of fertile Palestinian
land for military zones or Jewish colonies. "We saw thousands of olive
trees destroyed by bulldozers," he said.

Trucks of food sent to Palestinian villages either as aid or for sale are
stopped at roadblocks and unloaded. Villagers must find another truck to
load the food again after inspection and complete the journey.  "The
economy is in ruins," he said.

"Markets don't function, peasants don't go to the field, and they are
humiliated in a very, very shocking way," Ziegler said.  More than half
of Palestinian families eat only once a day, "they are reduced to
begging" by Israeli military action, and Israel is breaching
international law by failing to provide much-needed aid, he said.

According to the World Bank, almost one child in 10 in Gaza and the West
Bank is suffering from severe malnutrition, and 15 percent of children
aged below 5 are acutely anemic, preventing brain cells from developing

Ziegler said that a future Palestinian state should not be "cut up into
separate 'bantustans'" - a reference to all-black enclaves in apartheid
South Africa with limited autonomy - and called on Israel to end
"obstruction of humanitarian relief services".

"The humanitarian catastrophe that is emerging in the Occupied
Territories must be reversed," the Swiss sociologist and UN expert was
quoted as saying in the draft. "There can be no justification for harsh
internal closures that prevent people from having access to food and
water, otherwise the imposition of such military measures are amounting
to what has been called a 'policy of starvation'.  Provoking hunger and
malnutrition as a side effect of security measures is totally
unacceptable and disproportionate and constitutes collective punishment",
the draft said.

Israel Accused of Starving West Bank
By Charles Laurence and Kim Willsher - Gulf News / The Telegraph, Oct. 5,

A United Nations report which blames Israel for causing starvation in
Gaza and the West Bank has prompted a furious diplomatic row with the
Israeli government of Ariel Sharon.

The leaked report by Jean Ziegler, a Swiss sociologist and UN special
envoy, blames Israel's security policies for "collective punishment" of
the Palestinians. Ziegler spent 10 days in the occupied territories in
July and was due to present his report to the UN General Assembly in New
York on November 18.

Furious Israeli officials, however, have denounced the report as "highly
political", saying that Ziegler had gone beyond his mandate. With support
from American diplomats at the UN, Israel has called for the report to be
rejected before it reaches the floor of the Assembly, and asked the UN
Human Rights Commission, for whom Ziegler was working as a food rights
specialist, to discipline him.

According to newspaper reports in France, Ziegler's report will not now
be published until the spring.

Tuvia Israeli, Israel's deputy representative to the UN, said: "Ziegler's
behaviour has been a bitter blow to our relations with the UN which were
already extremely strained." He said that Ziegler's silence about the
rampant corruption at the heart of the Palestinian Authority was

Privately, UN officials in Geneva, where the Human Rights Commission is
based, also expressed frustration at having "wasted a golden opportunity"
to improve cooperation with the Israeli government. They regretted that
Ziegler had been "carried away by his indignation".

Ziegler appeared yesterday ready to lock horns with the UN. "It is a very
explosive report about the silent tragedy behind the visible tragedy of
the Palestinian territories," he said.

In the 25-page report, a copy of which has been seen by The Sunday
Telegraph, Mr Ziegler says 22 per cent of Palestinian children under the
age of five suffer severe malnutrition, and most families have only one
meal a day.

He describes that as "absurd" in a historically fertile land, blaming the
"apartheid" security fence, the seizing and destruction of Palestinian
farmland, and roadblocks for preventing food from reaching Palestinian

"The Occupied Palestinian Territories is on the verge of humanitarian
catastrophe as a result of the extremely harsh military measures imposed
by the occupying Israeli military forces since the outbreak of the second
Intifada in September 2000," the report warns.

Ziegler became one of the first UN envoys to be allowed to report on
conditions in the occupied territories with co-operation and assistance
from Israel.

Israel wants the report to be dismissed on technical grounds, claiming
that Ziegler breached protocol because the report was leaked to the
French newspaper, Liberation, before their government had a chance to
lodge a reaction.

Ziegler defended his report yesterday as "the truth" and said the leak
had been beyond his control. He said that the draft report had been sent
to Israeli agencies that had helped his research at the same time as it
was submitted to the Human Rights Commission.

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