Palestinian Territory - A new Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor report titled “Killing starving Palestinians and targeting aid trucks: A deliberate Israeli policy to reinforce famine in the Gaza Strip” reveals the killing of 563 Palestinians and the injury of 1,523 more due to Israel’s targeting of people waiting for aid, distribution centres, and workers responsible for organising, protecting, and distributing aid.  

   The use of starvation as a weapon has been an official political decision from the first day of the war, as declared by the Israeli Minister of Defense, and was implemented in integrated stages   

According to the report, between 11 January and 23 March 2024, 256 people were killed in the Kuwait Roundabout area, in the southeast of Gaza City, 230 on Al-Rashid Street, in the southwest of the city, and 21 due to the targeting of aid distribution centres. Documentation also shows that 41 police officers and People’s Protection Committee members who were in charge of overseeing aid distribution were killed, along with 12 aid distribution workers, two of whom were from UNRWA.

The report concludes that Israel’s policies, and the collective punishments it imposes on the Gaza Strip, directly and explicitly aim to starve the Strip’s entire Palestinian population. Israel’s policy of deliberate starvation is not only an attempt to ethnically cleanse the enclave and apparent weapon of war—a war crime in itself—but is intended to expose Palestinian civilians to the risk of actual death. These actions are a crucial component of the genocide that Israel has been committing against the people of the Gaza Strip since 7 October 2023.

The use of starvation as a weapon has been an official political decision from the first day of the war, as declared by the Israeli Minister of Defense, and was implemented in integrated stages, which have included tightening the siege and closing the border crossings; preventing the entry of commercial goods; destroying all components of local production and food sources; increasing the Gaza Strip population’s reliance on humanitarian aid; and turning it into their main source of food.

Israel has been a major obstacle to humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip, targeting aid in storage and distribution facilities as well as on trucks. It has also targeted people waiting for the aid and those in charge of distributing it. All of these actions have been taken on a regular and severe basis.

This has prevented the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from receiving aid, even just to the extent necessary to satiate their hunger or reduce their risk of dying from it. 

Additionally, Israel's targeting of personnel involved in overseeing and securing aid distribution, along with its refusal to cooperate with international organizations, has led to a persistent state of chaos and internal conflict. These actions, coupled with Israel's attempts to dissolve UNRWA, the primary international organization responsible for introducing and distributing humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip, have exacerbated the situation, further deepening the famine in the Strip.

The report states that while Israel has permitted some aid to enter the Strip, it has placed restrictions on the amount of aid, kind of aid, and locations of entry, and has targeted starving civilians waiting for humanitarian aid and those working to distribute, secure, and protect it.

According to the report, Israel also uses starvation, aid restrictions, and the killing of hungry individuals as part of its forced displacement crime against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, especially the northern Gaza Strip. As a result, famine has spread throughout northern Gaza, where nearly all food supplies have run out in the markets, resulting in a rise in the number of fatalities from starvation, malnourishment, dehydration, and related illnesses, particularly among children and infants.

In the midst of intense attacks, raids, and bombardment across the air, land, and sea—during which Israel’s army has used thousands of tons of explosives—the Israeli army methodically started targeting every aspect of life in the Gaza Strip and has not stopped. This includes bombing mills, bakeries, grocery stores, shops, and markets; destroying crops and agricultural lands; killing livestock; and targeting boats and fishing equipment, water tanks, and their extensions; i.e. completely denying access to food resources and potable water to all 2.3 million residents of the Strip, half of whom are children, and depriving them of their already limited ability to produce food locally. This comes amid a complete closure of the border crossings, which were closed for weeks before being partially reopened under harsh Israeli conditions on 21 October following the application of international pressure.

The report includes seven parts: The first deals with the number of humanitarian aid convoy victims, while the second reviews the most prominent crimes involving the targeting of starving civilians waiting for humanitarian aid. The third examines the Israeli targeting of humanitarian aid distribution centres, while the fourth sheds light on crimes related to targeting humanitarian aid convoys. The fifth deals with the targeting of workers distributing humanitarian aid, the sixth sheds light on the targeting of those responsible for securing and protecting humanitarian aid, and the seventh deals with Israel’s attempts to evade responsibility for the massacres. The report also presents a set of conclusions and recommendations.

Euro-Med Monitor’s report concludes by highlighting the significance of facilitating the entry of necessary humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip without delay in order to stop the famine from spreading there. It stresses that Israel, as the occupying power, bears the primary responsibility for supplying food, medical supplies, and other necessities to the Strip’s residents in accordance with international law.

The report also urges the international community to fulfill its legal and moral obligations to the people residing in the Gaza Strip, ensuring that international law, as well as the rulings of the International Court of Justice, are respected and implemented, and to halt the genocide that the Court declared likely to have occurred in Gaza in January, which has been ongoing for nearly six months. It calls for immediate international pressure to be put on Israel to stop its starvation campaign against the people of the Strip, the complete lifting of the siege on the Strip, and the establishment of appropriate mechanisms to ensure the safe, effective, and rapid arrival of humanitarian supplies.

The report also demands the opening of an independent investigation into the killing of starving people, especially the horrifying massacres which Israel has tried to evade responsibility for.

 

​Full report here