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Food cannot be a weapon of war in Gaza

Updated: Apr 3

March 12, 2024

Food Security Organizations Coalition Statement on the siege of Gaza

We, the undersigned organizations, condemn the catastrophic situation now unfolding in Gaza, in which food is illegally being denied to civilian populations. Under no circumstance can it be justified to use food as a weapon of war.

Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip is depriving essential food, fuel, water, electricity and medicine to 2.2 million Palestinian people, nearly half of whom are children. Moreover, the continued air strikes prevent safe access to what few provisions arrive in the Gaza Strip. Early in the morning of 29 Feb, more than 100 people were massacred by Israeli forces and at least 700 others wounded in northern Gaza as they waited for food aid to be delivered.

The denial of access to food and water is a violation of international humanitarian law relating to the protection of civilians in times of war, including the Geneva Conventions and their protocols. The International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to do everything in its power to avoid committing genocide, which it has considered “plausible” given the statements of fact provided by South Africa.

In 2018, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2417, which strongly condemns the starving of civilians as a method of warfare, as well as the unlawful denial of humanitarian access depriving civilians of “objects indispensable to their survival”. This includes food and water. Five years on, we note that the deplorable situation in Gaza is the latest example of food being continually weaponized in conflicts around the world.

Gaza had already endured a devastating 16-year blockade and long-standing occupation, where 62% of the population required food assistance. On 19 October, UN experts expressed serious concerns about the tightening of the siege and recalled that “the UN Security Council has repeatedly condemned the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, which is prohibited under international humanitarian and criminal law.” Withholding food and water from an entire population, as Israel is now inflicting on Gaza, amounts to collective punishment – also illegal under international law.

This vicious cycle of conflict and food insecurity needs to be broken. The right to food is a fundamental and universal human right

To avert further catastrophic impacts, we call for safe, unimpeded and sustained access to food, water and other humanitarian assistance to be restored for civilians in Gaza. Aid flows must urgently be sped up and scaled up, and must include fuel for running hospitals and operating water pumps. We support the reinstatement of funding for UNRWA, as the best organization to provide humanitarian assistance, according to even Israeli and US officials. Mark Miller, US State Department spokesperson said  “There is no other humanitarian player in Gaza who can provide food and water and medicine at the scale UNRWA does.” 

Further, we call for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the violence and the return of hostages and prisoners, as precursors to a just political process that will enable sustainable peace and security and build a basis for lasting food security.

Finally, we call for the respect of international law and for an end to the use of food as a weapon of war.

With thanks to the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) who released a statement upon which we base this text, updated from the original released on 24 Oct

NOTE: Please ensure you have approval from your organization if you endorse as an organization. Otherwise, your endorsement as an individual is very welcome.

ENDORSEMENTS as of April 2, 2024



Centre for Feminist Research, York University, Toronto, ON

Community Fridges HamOnt, Hamilton, ON

Community Fridges of Toronto

Creative Food Research Collaboratory, Toronto, ON

Dartmouth Community Fridge, Dartmouth, NS

Food Not Bombs Hamilton, ON

FoodBridge, Montreal, QC

Food Secure Canada

FoodShare Toronto

Green Majority Radio, Toronto, ON

Green Thumbs Growing Kids, Toronto, ON

Karma Co-op, Toronto, ON

Labour4Palestine, Victoria, BC

Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, Lund, Sweden

Miinikaan Innovation and Design Inc., Toronto, ON

Motherdough Mill & Bakery, Toronto, ON

National Farmers Union

Peterborough Community Medicine Garden


Shade of Miti, Peel Region, ON

Sprightly Sprouts Co-op, Guelph, ON

The Abibiman Project, Toronto, ON

The Greenhouse Eatery, Toronto, ON


Wild Path Farm, Keswick, ON



  1. Nimra Abid Accountant, Juffair

  2. Rachel Adjei Entrepreneur, Toronto, ON

  3. Suman Ali Chef, Toronto, ON

  4. Sabah Alnasseri Associate Professor, Toronto

  5. Nil Alt PhD Candidate, Toronto, Ontario

  6. Nicole Andre National Farmers Union, Stratford, ON

  7. Sarah Ayoub Mississauga, ON

  8. Nahiyan Bakht Student, York University, Toronto, ON

  9. Patricia Ballamingie Professor, Geography & Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON

  10. Deborah Barndt York University, Earth to Tables Legacy Project, Toronto, ON

  11. Marina Bazalitskaya L4P Victoria, BCGEU worker, Victoria, BC

  12. Micheline Beaudry Professeure retraitée de nutrition publique (U Laval), Mouvement allaitement du Québec (MAQ)l, Laval, Qc

  13. Megan Bennett Program Coordinator, Toronto, ON

  14. Genet Berhe Toronto, ON

  15. Meredith Bessey PhD Candidate, University of Guelph, Halifax, NS

  16. Fatoumata Binta Balde Registered dietitian, MSc candidate, Montréal, QC

  17. Merran Blair Lecturer, Monash University, Melbourne, AUS

  18. Marianne Bloudoff Registered Dietitian, Victoria, BC

  19. Ohemaa Boateng Executive Director, Toronto, ON

  20. Michaela Bohunicky Public Health Dietitian, Thunder Bay, ON

  21. Luke Brennan Toronto, ON

  22. Dalt Cann Holland Landing, ON

  23. Nancy Chad Health Promoter, ON 

  24. Claudia Chaufan University Professor, Toronto, ON

  25. Joni Cheung Artist, Montreal, QC

  26. Mun Cho Dietitian, ON

  27. Andrea Clark Victoria, BC

  28. Bryan Dale Assistant Professor, Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, QC

  29. Paul DeCampo Toronto, ON

  30. Maia De Graff Hamilton, ON 

  31. Conely de Leon Toronto, ON

  32. Janet Deacon Toronto, ON

  33. Leticia Ama Deawuo Ottawa, ON

  34. Joe Durand Toronto, ON

  35. Sara Edge Associate Director, Centre for Studies in Food Security, Toronto, ON

  36. Stephanie Enevoldsen Saanichton, BC

  37. Rachel Engler-Stringer Professor, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

  38. Elaine Eppler Dietician, Vancouver, BC

  39. Fleur Esteron Lecturer and student, Hamilton, ON

  40. Karen Fediuk Nutrition Researcher, Victoria, BC

  41. Nicole Fernandez Toronto, ON

  42. Carole Ferrari Baker, Miller, Toronto, ON

  43. Kathryn Firth Toronto, ON

  44. Lesley Frank Canada Research Chair in Food, Health, and Social Justice, Wolfville, NS

  45. Harriet Friedmann Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

  46. Hillary Fry Dietitian, Northern Health, Kitimat, BC

  47. Katie Gauthier Student, George Brown College, Placement @ Green Thumbs Growing Kids, Toronto, ON

  48. Ashley Genz-Sandoval Clinical Dietician, Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, CA, USA

  49. Jacqui Gingras Professor, Sociology (founder Journal of Critical Dietetics), Toronto, ON

  50. Jill Glessing CUPE 3904, World Beyond War, Davenport for Ceasefire, Samudra choir, Toronto, ON

  51. Rachel Globensky Bayes Healthy Kids Program Coordinator, TBDHU, Thunder Bay, ON

  52. Raul Gutierrez Brampton, ON

  53. Nasseem Hakimian Project Manager NFU, Montreal, QC

  54. Hiba Hamze Victoria, BC

  55. Grace Harding Keswick, ON

  56. Sunday Harrison Executive Director, Green Thumbs Growing Kids, Toronto, ON

  57. Meredith Hayes Toronto, ON

  58. Alana Haynes Stein Sacramento, California, US

  59. Karen Hébert Associate Professor, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON

  60. Zoë Heyn-Jones Post-Doctoral Fellow, Toronto, ON

  61. Jahlea Henry Pastry Chef, Ten Restaurant

  62. Stefan Hostetter Co-Host, Green Majority Radio, Toronto, ON

  63. Beth Hunter Montreal, QC

  64. Saira Hussain Vaughan, ON

  65. Khalid Jamal

  66. Lorraine Johnson Toronto, ON

  67. Matt Johnstone Executive Director, FoodShare Toronto, Toronto, ON

  68. Iris “Ike” Karuna Board Vice-Chair, Green Thumbs Growing Kids, Walkerton, ON

  69. Jen Knoch Toronto, ON

  70. Mustafa Koc Director, Centre for Studies in Food Security, Toronto, ON

  71. Bryan Koivisto Associate Professor, Toronto, ON

  72. Monika Korzun Postdoctoral Fellow, Greenfield, NS

  73. Rebecca Laycock Pedersen Postdoctoral Researcher, Lund, Sweden

  74. Charles Levkoe Canada Research Chair in Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems, Thunder Bay, ON

  75. Mariela Libedinsky Food Security Worker, Toronto, ON

  76. Catherine Littlefield Food Systems Researcher, Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Development Corporation, Ottawa, ON

  77. Anan Lololi Food Activist, Toronto, ON

  78. Orlando Lopez Gomes Community Food Growing Senior Manager, FoodShare Toronto, Toronto ON 

  79. Charlene Lord Toronto, ON

  80. Christina Lu Markham, ON

  81. Kim Lucas Dietitian, Victoria, BC

  82. André Magnan Professor, University of Regina, Regina, SK

  83. Wendy Mah Culinary Professor, George Brown College

  84. Joshna Maharaj Toronto, ON

  85. Chelsea Maier Victoria, BC

  86. Nicole Mankinen Toronto, ON

  87. Nada Mansour Montreal, QC

  88. Pauline Marcombe Riffa

  89. Madeline Marmor Farmer, Restorative Justice Facilitator, Toronto/Tkaronto, Canada - Turtle Island

  90. Sarah J. Martin Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Memorial University, St. John's, NL

  91. Mary Anne Martin Post-Doctoral Researcher, Research for Social Change Lab, Trent University

  92. Audrey McDonald Food business owner, Toronto, ON

  93. Merouan Mekouar Associate Professor, York University, Toronto, ON

  94. Isabelle Michaud-LéTourneau Adjunct Professor in Public Health, Montreal, QC

  95. Sophie Mihevc Toronto, ON

  96. Marina Morrow Professor, Toronto, ON

  97. Ashley Motran Public Health Nutritionist/Registered Dietitian, Ontario

  98. Nick Mul Toronto, ON

  99. Bashir Munye Agri-Culinary Educator, Toronto, ON

  100. Colette Murphy Founder, Urban Harvest Organic Seeds, Warkworth, ON

  101. Shallen Murray Toronto, ON

  102. John Murtaugh Toronto, ON

  103. Danya Nadar PhD, Toronto, ON

  104. Carrie Ng Farmer, Toronto, ON

  105. Melanie Ng Urban Farmer, Toronto, ON

  106. Reg Noble Academic Co-ordinator, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, ON 

  107. Jeremy O'Shea Victoria, BC

  108. Alissa Overend Associate Professor, Edmonton, AB

  109. Kate Parizeau Associate Professor, University of Guelph, ON

  110. Tara Marina Pearson Toronto, ON

  111. Kristina Percy Campbell River, BC

  112. Roberto Perin Professor Emeritus, Toronto, ON

  113. Paolo Perin Toronto, ON

  114. P E Perkins Toronto, ON

  115. Claire Perttula Food Justice Projects Co-ordinator, Toronto, ON

  116. Rachel Portinga PhD Candidate, Health Sciences, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON

  117. Elaine Power Professor, Queen's University, Kingston, ON

  118. Tsilavo Ralandison Contract lecturer, Thunder Bay, ON

  119. Tara Ramkhelawan Coordinator Waterfront Good Food Market, Toronto, ON

  120. Jenelle Regnier-Davies Centre for Studies in Food Security; Canadian Association for Food Studies, Hamilton, ON

  121. Natalie Riediger Associate Professor, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB

  122. Gael Riveti Toronto, ON

  123. Katie Robinson Maple Ridge, BC

  124. Sarah Rotz Assistant Professor, Environmental and Urban Change, York University, Toronto, ON

  125. Mary Roufail Ottawa, ON

  126. Mah Salam Toronto, ON

  127. Alia Salman Bahrain

  128. Joelle Schaefer Saskatoon, SK

  129. Caitlin Scott Professor of Food Studies, George Brown College, Toronto, ON

  130. John Simoulidis Assistant Professor, York University, Toronto, ON

  131. Rav Singh Shade of Miti, Peel Region, ON

  132. Chandan Singh Toronto, ON

  133. Tammara Soma Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

  134. Nicole Spencer Vancouver, BC

  135. Philippa Spoel Professor, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON

  136. Charlotte Spring Postdoctoral Fellow, Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Waterloo, ON

  137. Lori Stahlbrand Professor of Food Studies, Toronto, ON

  138. Airin Stephens Thunder Bay, ON

  139. Nabil Tahani York University, Toronto, ON

  140. Emma Tamlin Toronto, ON

  141. Maggie Tammik Toronto, ON

  142. Tsering Tashi Toronto, ON

  143. Paul Taylor Toronto, ON

  144. Kim-Ly Thompson PhD Candidate, Simon Fraser University, Smithers, BC

  145. Jessica Tong Keswick, ON

  146. Alexa Tucker Burnaby, BC

  147. Natasha Tusikov Associate Professor, York University, Toronto, ON

  148. Mandana Vahabi Professor, Toronto, ON

  149. Anélia Victor Farmer, Toronto, ON

  150. Usha Viswanathan Associate Professor, York University, Toronto, ON

  151. Elle W Toronto, ON

  152. Jes Watson Toronto, ON

  153.  Lindsay White Gardener, Toronto, ON

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