Human Rights Watch Says Israel Is Using Starvation as Weapon of War

HRW says the Israeli tactic is a war crime

Human Rights Watch released a report on Monday that said Israel is committing a war crime in Gaza by using starvation as a weapon of war against civilians.

HRW said Israeli forces are “deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, while willfully impeding humanitarian assistance, apparently razing agricultural areas, and depriving the civilian population of objects indispensable to their survival.”

The report pointed to comments from Israeli officials expressing their aim to deprive Palestinian civilians of food and other basic necessities. At the beginning of the onslaught, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced a “complete siege” on the already-blockaded Gaza Strip and said the Israeli military was fighting “human animals.”

Israel has since allowed limited aid deliveries through Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt, but HRW said the amount of aid is “at grossly insufficient levels.” UN officials have said the increased Israeli military operations in south Gaza have made relief efforts impossible.

“For over two months, Israel has been depriving Gaza’s population of food and water, a policy spurred on or endorsed by high-ranking Israeli officials and reflecting an intent to starve civilians as a method of warfare,” said Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel and Palestine director. “World leaders should be speaking out against this abhorrent war crime, which has devastating effects on Gaza’s population.”

Earlier this month, the UN’s World Food Program said that nine out of 10 households in northern Gaza and two out of three households in southern Gaza had spent at least one full day and night without food. Besides the food deprivation in Gaza, the disease is also spreading due to the lack of clean water and other conditions caused by the Israeli siege.

The Israeli bombardment and ground invasion have killed over 19,000 Palestinians, including over 7,500 children. As the onslaught continues, the risk of Palestinians dying of disease and starvation en masse continues to grow. Despite the Israeli atrocities, the US is still providing unconditional military support for the massacre.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.