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Israel blames Gaza starvation on U.N. as UNICEF says a third of Gazan infants and toddlers acutely malnourished

Israel facing scrutiny over Gaza crisis
Israel facing intense scrutiny over humanitarian crisis in Gaza 02:33

Tel Aviv — Under pressure from the U.S. and other allies to flood the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid, Israel insists it's doing everything it can, and it blames the United Nations for the starvation of thousands of Palestinians in the war-torn enclave. In a Wednesday morning social media post, the Israeli government said it had "scaled up our capabilities" and it included a video clip showing hundreds of white containers that it said were loaded with aid and waiting for collection inside Gaza.

"This is what the content of 700 aid trucks looks like. It is waiting on the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom to be picked up by UN agencies," COGAT, the Israeli government agency that handles affairs in the Palestinian territories, said in the post. "All the UN did was make up excuses. Aid needs to be collected and delivered. The UN needs to do its job."

The United Nations says it's not just about getting food into Gaza, but distributing it once it reaches the territory. U.N. aid agencies say those operations have been severely hindered by the almost total destruction of Gaza's civilian infrastructure. Many roads have been blown up, along with health, water, sanitation and food production facilities.

Protests across the U.S. call for Gaza cease-fire 02:13

"The problem is that famine is much more complex," said Andrea De Dominico, who heads the U.N. office for humanitarian affairs in the Palestinian territories. "It's much bigger than simply bringing in flour and baking a few loaves of bread."

In the north of Gaza, Israel said Tuesday that two bakeries had been brought back to life for the first time in six months, after receiving fuel and flour. For many they are a lifeline.

"It had reached the point where we were eating animal feed," said Gaza resident Wissam Dawad.

But it's not enough.

Palestinians Receive Food Rations
Displaced Palestinians wait to receive cooked food rations at a donation point in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, April 16, 2024. Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Getty

Khaled al-Ghoula said he'd "waited six hours for bread."

Humanitarian workers do what they can. The demand to fill bowl after bowl at emergency food distribution points is never ending.

Still, a third of children under the age of two in Gaza are currently acutely malnourished, according to the U.N. children's charity UNICE. Prior to Israel launching its war against Hamas in Gaza in response to the group's Oct. 7 terror attack, UNICEF did not consider there to be any acutely malnourished children in the Palestinian territory.

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