The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) today warned of rising hunger and malnutrition among Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – a situation the agency blamed largely on Israeli policies and practices.
“The total blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has paralyzed the Palestinian economy, which is so vulnerably dependent on Israel and already severely weakened by frequent border closures, to such an extent that it is now in a deep recession, with millions of people severely impoverished and extremely food insecure,” FAO said in a special alert, which was issued in Rome.
That 2002 prediction proved wrong with The Economist's obesity rankings – for the latest year available,1999 - 2003 – showing 23.9 percent of West Bank and Gaza males and 42.5 percent of women as obese. The starvation non-crisis is confirmed by 2008 WHO figures for "Palestine" showing 7.3 percent of newborns with low birth weights and 5.5 percent of children underweight – by comparison, the low birth weight figure for Egypt is 12.1 percent and underweight children is 7.5 percent.
A new video responds to continuing claims of an impending humanitarian disaster in Gaza: