Palestinian Territory - Palestinians who escaped Israeli bombing, gunfire, or starvation in the Gaza Strip have now been killed as a result of the disorderly entry of international aid, either by aid falling on their heads, drowning while attempting to reach it, or being suffocated or crushed in a stampede.

Given the Israeli crime of genocide that has been ongoing since 7 October 2023, the international community must act quickly to determine appropriate mechanisms to ensure that humanitarian supplies reach the hungry and impoverished in a way that preserves their dignity and lives. This is especially important in light of repeated casualties in Gaza City and the Strip’s north that have been brought on by the dropping of supplies from planes or trucks without providing insurance to secure recipients’ safety.

Twelve Palestinians drowned on 25 March 2024 after they were caught in the ropes of parachutes of aid packages dropped by planes into the sea off the coast of the northern Strip. Seven of the bodies were extracted, while five others remain missing and are presumed dead. In a different incident that occurred on the same day in northern Gaza, a stampede to collect aid packages dropped by another plane resulted in at least one Palestinian death and multiple injuries.

Meanwhile, 10 other people have died in separate incidents as a result of aid packages directly falling on them in Gaza City and the Strip’s northern areas in recent weeks. One incident involving the dropping of aid packages also resulted in the destruction of Baptist Hospital’s solar panels in Gaza City and comparable damage to neighbouring houses.

Dozens of individuals have been injured in these scrambles to obtain aid dropped by planes, as famine pushes residents to clamber to secure some food for their children and families.

To date, at least 563 people have been killed and hundreds more injured as a result of the Israeli army’s deliberate targeting of people waiting for aid, including popular committees or police personnel. These shootings suggest the existence of a systematic Israeli policy to deny hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip safe access to aid.

Since early February, Israel has been attacking aid warehouses and limiting the amount of humanitarian aid and other supplies that are required to maintain the civilian population at the necessary level; help reconstruct civilian infrastructure; and guarantee the security of roads, warehouses, distribution centres, and convoys.

The international community bears responsibility for failing to devise mechanisms that prevent deadly incidents, including aid dropped incorrectly by air or being introduced into trucks without insurance or a contract with the appropriate authorities.

The significance of broadening and varying the channels by which aid is delivered to the Gaza Strip, particularly to Gaza City and the Strip’s northern regions, cannot be overstated. Safeguards must be established to ensure the population’s safety and dignity, given that the random distribution of aid leads to stampedes where access to assistance is dominated by young people while vulnerable groups like women, children, and sick individuals are left behind.

Urgent measures must be taken to guarantee that aid reaches its recipients without causing harm and in a manner that upholds their human dignity as Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza enters its 173rd day. One of these measures should be to stop attacking the police and civil administration in the Strip, which are protected by international humanitarian law.