Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Israel uses starvation as a war weapon, asserts UN body

Israel has failed to comply with the International Court of Justice’s court order which was pronounced in South Africa’s genocide case on 26 – Jan 2024, Human Rights Watch said. The court ordered Israel to “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian aid,” and provided a one-month time to report back. 

HRW states that Israel continues to obstruct the provision of basic services and the entry and distribution within Gaza of fuel and lifesaving aid, acts as a collective punishment.

As per the report by the United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), fewer trucks have entered Gaza and fewer aid missions have been permitted to reach northern Gaza in the several weeks since the ruling than in the weeks preceding.

93 trucks between January 27 and February 21, 2024, compared to 147 trucks between January 1 and 26, and only 57 between February 9 and 21. 

Israel used starvation as a weapon of war. The same has been found by Human Rights Watch in its 2023 December report.

The report finding states that the policy set out by Israeli officials and carried out by Israeli forces, the Israeli authorities are deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, willfully impeding humanitarian assistance, apparently razing agricultural areas, and depriving the civilian population of objects indispensable to its survival.

“The Israeli government is starving Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians, putting them in even more peril than before the World Court’s binding order,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch.

Israeli authorities have kept shut down electricity since Oct 7, and only 47 percent capacity of water is available and also the Israel authority obstructed the efforts to repair water infrastructure, the daily average number of trucks entering Gaza with food, aid, and medicine dropped by more than a third.

Several Human rights groups working in Gaza also raised concerns regarding the lack of transparency in denial and delay of entering humanitarian aid trucks.

The Israeli government blames the United Nations and Gaza police for the delay and deviation of trucks with humanitarian and medical aid.

The Israeli human rights group Gisha challenged the Israeli government’s claims that it is not obstructing entry or distribution of aid and also found that it is not complying with the ICJ order.

“The Israeli government has simply ignored the court’s ruling, and in some ways even intensified its repression, including further blocking lifesaving aid.” Said Omar.

Fewer than 20 percent of planned missions to deliver fuel and undertake assessments north of Wadi Gaza have been facilitated between January 1 and February 15, as compared with 86 percent of missions planned between October and December, Israeli authorities have also apparently destroyed the offices of at least two humanitarian organizations in Gaza after the ICJ order in 26 – Jan. Between January 26 and February 23, more than 3,400 Palestinians were killed in Gaza

The group of Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) said “This is the highest share of people facing high levels of acute food insecurity that the IPC initiative has ever classified for any given area or country,” 

Several reports raise concern over the acute poverty and food shortage in Gaza. 

“Failure to ensure Israel’s compliance puts the lives of millions of Palestinians at risk and threatens to undermine the institutions charged with ensuring respect for international law and the system that ensures civilian protection worldwide.” Said Omar. 

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