ISRAEL’S genocidal onslaught on Gaza is a moral abomination and a human catastrophe.

After six months of slaughter and destruction – all with the complicity of our governments, with the notable exception of Scotland – it is worth taking stock of what may prove the deadliest facet of this historic crime.

Last week, our Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, issued a letter which should be regarded as one of the most important documents published since October 7. Written to Alicia Kearns – the Tory chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, who has done an infinitely better job at holding the government to account over Gaza than the Labour front bench – it made the case that Israel was deliberately starving the Palestinian people.

Disputing official Israel claims, Cameron made clear aid was being blocked from entering Gaza because of arbitrary delays, lengthening clearing procedures – which could take weeks – and narrow opening windows in daylight hours. The crucial Kerem Shalom crossing was closed by Israel because of the Sabbath. Israel was refusing to open more land routes, and the Ashdod Port, a crucial entry point for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, was not fully open.

Put simply, the people of Gaza are being deliberately starved to death. If that does not qualify as genocidal, then a valid question is what exactly does?

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As the CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians, Helensburgh-born Melanie Ward, puts it, Gaza is suffering “the fastest decline in a population’s nutrition status ever recorded. What that means is children are starving at the fastest rate than the world has ever known.”

Or as a pre-eminent expert on hunger, Alex de Waal, put it, the most intense famine since the Second World War beckons.

According to the Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Phase Classification (IPC) report two weeks ago, between now and mid-July, more than 1.1 million Palestinians will be classed as having “catastrophic” levels of hunger, with 876,000 classed as being in emergency, with the rest in “crisis” or “stress”.

Indeed, as Unicef spokesperson James Elder – now in besieged Rafah – said, in Gaza “every person, the first thing they want to tell me in English or Arabic is, ‘We need food’.”

It is difficult to absorb the gravity of such a crime – to repeat, the deliberate mass starvation of an entire people. According to Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Israel is provoking famine and using starvation “as a weapon of war”.

The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk, said it was “plausible” Israel was indeed inflicting mass hunger as a weapon of war, and if that if intent was proven, this would amount to a war crime.

Given that Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant declared at the start that there would be a total siege imposed on all life’s essentials – on the grounds Israel was fighting “human animals” – this is hardly difficult to prove.
The National: Israeli soldiers move into a neighbourhood in Gaza City (AP Photo/Moti Milrod, Haaretz)Israel's starvation policy has many facets. It’s not just the fact that much less aid is entering Gaza than before this horror began. Gaza previously had the ability to produce its own food. Now its agriculture has been ruined. Farms and half of the territory’s trees have been wrecked.

All of this is intended to make Gaza permanently uninhabitable, but in the here and now, it means mass starvation.

A lack of fuel makes it hard to cook. Many of the roads have been destroyed by Israeli bombardment, and Gaza is littered with unexploded ordnance, making transporting food to those who need it challenging, without even discussing the disastrous security situation caused by a desperate starving population.

The Israeli Defence Forces are deliberately targeting police officers tasked with guarding such aid, despite protestations from the US administration. Meanwhile, UNRWA, the main humanitarian agency, has been targeted by an incessant and unevidenced Israeli smear campaign, causing multiple donor states to cut off funds, while Israel bans its personnel from giving aid to the most catastrophically devastated north.

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On the Israeli side of the border, protesters repeatedly block aid from entering without facing the sorts of clampdowns anti-government protesters in Tel Aviv have suffered.

But rather than use leverage – Israel is dependent on the weapons, aid and diplomatic support of the West – the US resorts to hand wringing and airdrops of food.

These airdrops are dangerous – they have killed multiple Palestinians, as well as insufficient – providing a fraction of what is actually needed. They are inefficient, not being targeted on the basis of need, and they are degrading – Palestinians are expected to run like animals for their food.

In February, the International Court of Justice issued provisional orders, including demanding Israel allow access to aid. Since then, it has done exactly the opposite.

This week, the court issued new orders to increase humanitarian aid. It will be ignored. This is what impunity does. Israel knows it can get away with anything, because Western states will let it get away with it.

Only a handful of Western nations stood against this unimaginable crime. This week, Ireland intervened in South Africa’s case against Israel at the ICJ, demanding the blocking of aid is included in the definition of genocide and denouncing a “blatant violation of international humanitarian law on a mass scale”.

Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, opposed “collective punishment” and the strangling of UNRWA from the start.

But over the coming weeks and months, we will watch Palestinians starve to death. This will happen because it was intended to.

You have read of the great crimes committed throughout history. You are now living through one.