Geneva – The latest instance of the Israeli army opening direct fire on Palestinians waiting for humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza City and the Strip’s northern areas has resulted in the killing of 20 people and injury of numerous others. The horrific crime was strongly denounced by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, which called it part of the Israeli strategy to starve and terrorise civilians across the Gaza Strip and impose additional restrictions on the entry and distribution of the already limited aid allowed to enter the besieged enclave.

Euro-Med Monitor highlighted that Israeli forces deliberately targeted dozens of starving Palestinian civilians with artillery shells at the Kuwait roundabout leading to Gaza City, killing at least 20 individuals and wounding more than 150 others, many of whom remain in critical condition.

The humanitarian crisis that the Palestinian people are facing amid Israel’s creation of a famine in the Strip has already had dire consequences, the human rights organisation noted. It stated that Palestinian civilians are paying a heavy price while the international community and its capable institutions continue to ignore calls to stop Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza, including hungry people seeking humanitarian supplies.

Similar incidents were reported by Euro-Med Monitor on Monday 22 January, after hundreds of starved civilians gathered on Salah al-Din Road, southeast of Gaza City, were targeted by Israeli artillery shells as they waited for UN relief trucks, resulting in several casualties.

Israeli quadcopter drones had previously opened fire on Palestinians on 11 January, said the rights group. The civilians had gathered to receive flour via United Nations trucks on Al-Rashid Street, in the west of Gaza City. Nearly 50 Palestinians were killed and numerous others were wounded in the attack.

The Israeli army is intentionally using starvation as a weapon of war against civilians in Gaza City and the Strip’s northern areas, contended Euro-Med Monitor. This is demonstrated not only by Israel’s prevention of aid from reaching these areas, but also by its killing and injuring people attempting to receive such aid—aid which the rights group reiterated is extremely limited. These actions are part of Israel’s ongoing genocide against the Strip’s population.

The Israeli army has purposefully created a state of chaos and targeted those in charge of setting up the distribution of humanitarian supplies in the Gaza Strip, according to Euro-Med Monitor. At the same time, Israel’s army and its officials use this chaos before international forums as a pretext to obstruct the entry of further humanitarian aid.

The Geneva-based organisation warned of frequent bombing and shooting by the Israelis of aid convoys, particularly when they are entering Gaza City and the Strip’s northern areas, pointing to the deliberate targeting of civilians as well as security crews who are in charge of protecting and distributing the aid.

A vehicle transporting officials in charge of organising aid distribution in Gaza was targeted on 21 January, for example, said Euro-Med Monitor. As a result, three individuals were killed, including Imad Jamal Abu Mansour, Head of the Emergency Committee of the Ministry of Social Development in the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli army previously targeted a group of police officers on 9 January as they attempted to secure the entry of humanitarian supplies into Gaza City, killing and injuring many of them.

The Israeli army has been systematically attacking teams that are organising and protecting aid convoys, said Euro-Med Monitor. This allows some individuals to steal aid and create havoc, preventing it from reaching all of the intended recipients and prolonging the starvation of civilians. Israel’s creation of a man-made famine is part of its genocide, said the rights group, which has been ongoing in the Gaza Strip for more than 100 days now.

Israel’s targeting of intensely vulnerable people awaiting aid in the east and west of Gaza is a clear indication of the UN’s unwillingness—and the world’s unwillingness—to provide adequate aid to a starving populace. It serves as a crystal-clear affirmation of Israel’s perpetration of its genocide and related starvation policy, as both unfold before the eyes of the international community without any hindrance or intervention.

Euro-Med Monitor said it holds the UN and its humanitarian agencies accountable for their inability to provide adequate humanitarian aid in a dignified manner to the hundreds of thousands of residents who are experiencing true hunger for the fourth consecutive month, as well as for their silence on the Israeli army’s killing of Palestinian civilians attempting to receive aid. It further emphasised that international humanitarian law strictly prohibits the use of starvation as a weapon of war; as an occupying power, Israel is legally obligated to provide basic needs and protection to the Gazan people.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court provides that intentionally starving civilians by “depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including willfully impeding relief supplies” is a war crime, added the rights group. Israel is also breaking its international obligations by attacking humanitarian relief workers, denying them the freedom of movement required to do their jobs, and making sure that aid is distributed to the needy without prejudice or unfair discrimination.

Israel has been committing acts of genocide against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip since 7 October 2023, stated Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and pertinent international judicial rulings. These actions include depriving the civilian population of enough potable water and food, which has severely harmed them and trapped them in living conditions meant to destroy them.