Geneva - Israel has intensified its war of starvation against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said on Wednesday, as a means of subjugation during the bloody 40-day war.

Euro-Med Monitor strongly condemned the Israeli army’s artillery shelling of the Al-Salam Mill in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza—the Strip’s only operating wheat mill—forcing it to shut down. Israel’s targeting of the mill came as part of its attempt to deepen the food crisis for Palestinian civilians following its bombing of dozens of bakeries, most of them in Gaza City and the Strip’s northern regions.

Due to structural damage, lack of fuel, water, and wheat flour, bakeries have not been operating in Gaza City or the Strip’s northern areas for more than a week now. Wheat flour is no longer available in any local markets.

As several major water tanks have been destroyed, Euro-Med Monitor considers the Israeli air and artillery attacks to be attacks on Palestinian civilians, especially children, who are in desperate need of water.

With more than 1.6 million people internally displaced due to Israel’s forced evacuation of Gaza City and its surrounding areas into the southern Gaza Valley, the Strip’s central and southern regions face a complete collapse, given that all water wells have ceased operations.

According to the Euro-Med Monitor team, 10 water wells, which are considered the only source of water in Rafah City, recently stopped pumping. The southern Khan Yunis desalination plant, meanwhile, which supplies drinking water to approximately 100,000 people, has ceased operations due to a fuel shortage.

Sixty water wells in the central and southern Gaza Strip and the two main desalination plants in the middle area and Rafah, in the south, have all ceased operations, summarised the human rights organisation. The group warned of a complete interruption of drinking water sources throughout all governorates of the Gaza Strip.

The severe water shortage faced by Gaza’s residents poses a serious threat to public health. It greatly increases the risk of disease, as residents are forced to drink potentially contaminated water due to the growing use of unsafe sources such as private agricultural wells and water purification plants that are not in operation.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reminded its readers that, under international humanitarian law, starvation is a strictly forbidden weapon and amounts to warfare against civilians.

The Geneva-based human rights organisation stressed that Israel, as the occupying power in Gaza, is required by international humanitarian law to protect and meet the needs of the people living there.