The United Nations expert on the right to food said today that Israel should be condemned for the effects that its policies of occupation are having on the nourishment of Palestinian children.
Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the right to food, has issued a report after touring the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in July.
At a press briefing in New York, Mr. Ziegler said 9 per cent of Palestinian children under the age of five suffer some form of brain damage because of chronic malnutrition caused by the Israeli occupation.
He said that closures, curfews and the hindrance of the movement of people and merchandise within the occupied territories meant that access to food was lacking for many Palestinians - "the main reason for this dramatic situation."
Mr. Ziegler said too many Palestinians were cut off from the land they need for their livelihoods, thanks to the establishment of military zones, the construction of a security fence and what he described as a Bantustan-style policy of separating communities.
But the Special Rapporteur told the briefing he was not saying Israel had a policy of starving Palestinians into submission, and he said Israeli authorities, particularly the Defence Ministry, had been extremely helpful to him during his visit.