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War on Gaza: Israel air drops Ramadan leaflets on Gaza amid widespread starvation

Move is denounced as a form of ‘psychological torture’ as several aid agencies have declared Gaza as being on the brink of famine
The leaflets call on citizens to 'feed the needy and speak kindly' (Screengrab/X)
The leaflets call on citizens to 'feed the needy and speak kindly' (Screengrab/X)

Palestinians have denounced Israel's air dropping of leaflets on Gaza marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as a form of "psychological torture".

The leaflets, call on citizens to “feed the needy and speak kindly" during a time when hundreds of thousands in the besieged territory are at risk of starvation because of the Israeli blockade on food and water.

At least 20 people have died because of dehydration and malnutrition since the start of the war on 7 October, following Israel’s decision to cut off all food, aid, electricity and fuel for the besieged enclave. 

The leaflet, which is written in Arabic, has images of lanterns typically used as Ramadan decorations.

It includes a prayer asking God that “fasts are accepted and sins are forgiven", and that Palestinians in the region have a "delicious breaking of the fast".

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Journalists and activists denounced the leaflets and pointed out that hunger would not be so widespread in Gaza if not for Israel.

Human rights lawyer May el-Sadany called the move “deeply depraved”, adding that Israel is “responsible for the starvation of the Palestinian people”. 

Palestinian journalist Hebh Jamal called it “psychological torture”.

“Feed the needy? So like, the entire of Gaza? Which they can’t because Israel cut off their food supply?” another responded.

Brink of famine

Ramadan is due to start next week, with around two million Palestinians in Gaza displaced according to the UN. Many are seeking shelter in camps for the displaced, schools and makeshift shelters. 

At least 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since 7 October, and at least 70,000 people wounded, leaving many apprehensive about the start of the holy month. 

Gaza is on the brink of famine, the head of the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (Unrwa) warned in late February.

“The last time Unwra was able to deliver food aid to northern Gaza was on January 23,” Philippe Lazzarini wrote on social media.

At least 500,000 people are facing famine while nearly the entire population of Gaza, 2.3 million people, is experiencing acute food shortage, figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs show.

This is not the first time Israel has dropped leaflets on Gaza ahead of Ramadan.

In June 2018, Israeli forces dropped leaflets using drones on the territory amid the Great March of Return protests, during which at least 223 Palestinians were killed.

“Residents of the Gaza Strip! Greetings, and may Ramadan bring you blessings,” the leaflets said.

 “A wise man considers the results of his actions in advance and chooses the action whose benefits outweigh the costs. If you consider this with regard to approaching or crossing the fence, you’ll reach the conclusion that this act isn’t worthwhile and is even harmful.”

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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