Palestinians 'reduced to begging'

AP Geneva

Saturday July 19, 2003

The Guardian,2763,1001422,00.html

Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been

"reduced to begging" by Israeli military action, and

Israel is breaching international law by failing to

provide much-needed aid, a UN expert said yesterday. 

"There is a permanent, grave violation of the right to

food by the occupying forces. There is a catastrophic

humanitarian situation," said Jean Ziegler, UN special

expert on the right to food. 

Palestinian villages are encircled by troops,

preventing food being delivered and farmers freaching

their fields, he said. Many villages had to buy their

water because sources had been cut off. 

Mr 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, he said. 

According to the World Bank, almost one child in 10 in

Gaza and the West Bank is suffering from severe



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