February 22, 2024

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The fighting in Gaza, the civilian situation and more

The fighting in Gaza, the civilian situation and more

Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of using hunger as a “weapon of war” in Gaza. Israel calls it a lie

A group of people gather to get food in Rafah, southern Gaza, on December 2, 2023. (Credit: Ibrahim Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

Human Rights Watch accused Israel of using hunger as a weapon of war in Gaza, calling it a “war crime” in a report released on Monday, which an Israeli government spokesman accused of being a “lie”.

Omar Shakir, regional director of Human Rights Watch, told CNN that Israeli authorities “have been deliberately depriving the people of Gaza of food and water for months, deliberately blocking humanitarian aid, and deliberately destroying essential items for survival, such as bakeries, mills, grain and water. Sanitation facilities, and Agricultural areas that are obviously disastrous.

The report is based on interviews with 11 Palestinians displaced in Gaza, public statements by members of the Israeli government, and reports from organizations such as the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Program, Oxfam and the Norwegian Refugee Council. .

“Statements by senior Israeli officials demonstrate that this is a deliberate policy of starving civilians as a weapon of war,” Shakir said.

The Human Rights Watch report notes, “High-ranking Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Yoav Galant, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, and Energy Minister Israel Katz, have issued public statements expressing their intent to deprive Gaza’s citizens of food, water, and fuel.” And this “policy” is “Israeli.” Implemented by forces.

Other Israeli officials have publicly announced that humanitarian aid to Gaza “will be conditional on the release of hostages illegally held by Hamas or the destruction of Hamas,” Human Rights Watch added.

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“This is an abhorrent war crime, collective punishment of Palestinian civilians and denial of humanitarian aid, as well as war crimes,” Shakir told CNN. “World leaders must speak up and take urgent action to prevent further atrocities – hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance.”

Israel says: Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy strongly rejected the organization’s claims on Monday, saying any shortages in Gaza were to blame for Hamas.

In his response to Shakir’s post on social networking site X, he said, “This is false.” “Israel has sufficient capacity to inspect twice as many aid trucks as are entering Gaza. We continue to pump water into Gaza through two pipelines and have no restrictions on the entry of food and water,” Levy said. “Direct your anger at Hamas, which smuggles aid.”

Human Rights Watch noted a United Nations World Food Program assessment of food security in Gaza released on December 6, which found that nine out of 10 households in northern Gaza and two out of three households in southern Gaza had gone home for at least one day. A night without food.

CNN could not independently verify these figures.

Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the deliberate starvation of civilians is a war crime, including “deprivation of the essentials of survival and the intentional prevention of relief,” Human Rights Watch said in its report.