Food is Not a Weapon – Family Farm Defenders Solidarity Statement on Gaza Feb. 14th, 2024

The human right to food is sacred and protected under international law. Family Farm Defenders maintains the principles of food sovereignty, including the right to food, as a guide to our response to ongoing and escalating violence, destruction, and loss of life in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel.

Therefore, in good conscience, we must speak up now, joining the millions of voices from around the world who are calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the suffering and starvation that is being inflicted on the civilian population of Gaza.

Family Farm Defenders is proud to be part of a global movement advocating for food justice and human rights. John Kinsman, one of our founders, was a tireless champion of civil rights, social justice, and food sovereignty both in the US and around the world. As he once stated, “the seven principles of food sovereignty are the finest recipe for global food, social and environmental justice that exist today.”

Due to decades of occupation and restrictions imposed by Israel, the ability of Palestinian farmers, fishers, and pastoralists to feed their people, has been greatly diminished.

Since the horrific attacks on Israeli communities on October 7, 2023, Israel’s military response, with US support, has created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Medical supplies, food, clean water, and energy are all in very short supply. The ongoing bombardments and attacks have shattered the lives of its 2.3 million residents and killed over 28,000.

Food production and distribution has been severely affected. In addition to United Nations agencies, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a winner of the USFSA Food Sovereignty Prize in 2014 and member of La Via Campesina, has created a “Stop Gaza Starvation” campaign. Members have put their own lives at risk to provide food and other supplies.

Even so, the situation is increasingly dire, marked by widespread hunger, relentless blockades, and continuous bombardment.

In January, the International Court of Justice ruled Israel must take all possible measures to prevent acts of genocide. La Via Campesina stated that “this ICJ decision is an initial step in holding the occupation accountable for its heinous crimes and unprecedented use of starvation as a weapon in its war against civilians in Gaza.”

For the people of Gaza, time is running out.

In fact, now, in early February 2024, instead of responding to the ICJ ruling to prevent genocide, Israel is ramping up its attacks and has begun to implement plans for a ground invasion of the last “safe zone” – Rafah – which has become a massive refugee camp. Experts are warning of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza with millions of people facing starvation, the cruelty of which is unimaginable.

Family Farm Defenders recognizes our responsibility to speak for peace and justice, for food sovereignty, and for human rights. We call on the United States government to demand an immediate ceasefire, the safe release of all hostages and political prisoners, and the stoppage of its own military support to any country or entity violating international law. Our government must end its imperialist ambitions and join the global community, accepting its humanitarian duty, and work toward a just and lasting peace in all regions of the world. Ceasefire, now!

For those interested in supporting food assistance to folks in Gaza, we suggest donating to: 

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