"We didn't want to hear the word 'calories'" : rethinking food security, food power, and food sovereignty : lessons from the Gaza closure
Aeyal Gross, Tamar Feldman
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Berkeley journal of international law, Vol. 33, issue 2, 2015, p. 379-441
In the summer of 2007 Israel imposed a yet-to-be lifted closure on the Gaza Strip, restricting the movement of goods and people into and out of Gaza. Israel holds its closure policy to be legal under international law so long as it meets the humanitarian minimum standard and allows the entry of what is necessary for the subsistence of Gaza's population. Israel has repeatedly asserted that since there is no starvation in the Gaza Strip, there is no humanitarian crisis and no violation of international law. This stance disregards power relations and the broader contexts of the closure and its effects. Food power is exercised not only through direct control over food supply and food availability, but also by impacting people’s access to adequate food. The restrictions on the inflow of raw materials and construction materials, exports, and the movement of people have had a significant long-term effect. By crippling the Gaza economy, Israel’s closure policy has impoverished the civilian population and considerably diminished food security. Analyzing the situation through the framework of international humanitarian and human rights law, the article examines the relationship between food security, food power, and food sovereignty and the right to food. It argues that the concept of food power should be expanded to include situations like Israel’s closure on Gaza. It also puts "sovereignty" back into the concept of "food sovereignty" and refers to it as a framework that complements, rather than replaces, food security.