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Israel's aid restrictions to Gaza 'could constitute war crime'

Photo: Agence France-Presse A woman and two children flee an area of ​​central Gaza bombarded by Israel on Monday.

France Media Agency in Geneva


  • Middle East

Israel's severe restrictions on the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza and the possible use of hunger as a weapon could “constitute a war crime”, the UN said on Tuesday.

“The extent of Israel's restrictions on the entry of aid into Gaza, as well as the manner in which it continues to conduct hostilities, may amount to the use of starvation as a method of war, which constitutes a war crime,” said Jeremy Laurence, a spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the regular UN briefing in Geneva.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk clearly designates Israel as responsible for the food situation in the Gaza Strip, and particularly in the north of the Palestinian territory.

“The situation of hunger and famine is the result of Israel's extensive restrictions on the entry and distribution of humanitarian aid and commercial goods, the displacement of most of the population, as well as the destruction of crucial civilian infrastructure”, underlines Mr. Türk in a press release read by the spokesperson, adding: “time is running out”.

In a statement sent shortly after to the media, the Israeli representation to the United Nations in Geneva affirmed on the contrary that “Israel is doing everything in its power to flood Gaza with aid, including by land, air and sea.”

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The High Commissioner “seeks once again to blame Israel for the situation and completely absolve the UN and Hamas of responsibility,” the Israeli statement emphasizes.

One in two residents in the Gaza Strip are experiencing a catastrophic food situation, particularly in the north where famine will rage by May in the absence of “urgent” measures, warns Monday the specialized agencies of the UN.

“Israel, as the occupying power, has the obligation to ensure the provision of food and medical care to the population according to their needs and to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations to provide this assistance,” underlines the High Authority. -Commissioner.

Ultimately more than 200 deaths per day

More than 1.1 million Gazans face “a catastrophic hunger situation”, bordering on famine, “the highest number ever recorded” by the UN, which is based on report of the Integrated Food Security Classification Framework (IPC) published on Monday.

If nothing changes, this will ultimately mean “more than 200 people dying of hunger every day,” warned a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jens Laerke.

“War crimes are being committed and they must stop,” Mr. Laurence continued. “This situation is entirely the result of human action,” lamented a spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Harris, alongside him, affirming that WHO missions in Gaza “are often refused” by Israel.

“Medical staff tell us that they are seeing the effects of famine more and more,” said Ms. Harris, who noted that the WHO had set up “a nutritional stabilization center » in southern Gaza and hoped to do the same in the north.

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack in southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally compiled from sources official Israeli sources.

In retaliation, Israel promised to annihilate the Palestinian Islamist movement, which has taken power in Gaza since 2007 and which it considers a terrorist organization, as have the United States and EU.

Israeli military operations that allowed it to advance from north to south have so far left 31,819 dead in Gaza, the majority civilians, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116