HRW Says Israel Is Starving Children to Death in Gaza

Human Rights Watch finds that "Israeli government’s use of starvation as a weapon of war has proven deadly for children in Gaza."

The Israeli government is starving children to death in the Gaza Strip with its deliberate and systematic obstruction of food aid, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Tuesday, citing firsthand accounts from doctors and families in the besieged enclave.

At least 32 people, including 28 children, have died of malnutrition and dehydration so far in northern Gaza, which is facing famine conditions due to Israel's illegal blockade.

HRW's new report builds on its December assessment that Israel was "using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare" in Gaza, with disastrous consequences for the territory's civilian population.

"The Israeli government's use of starvation as a weapon of war has proven deadly for children in Gaza," said Omar Shakir, HRW's Israel and Palestine director. "Israel needs to end this war crime, stop this suffering, and allow humanitarian aid to reach all of Gaza unhindered."

For its new report, HRW interviewed doctors who have treated malnourished patients and family members of children who have starved to death in recent weeks. The group also reviewed photographs and video footage showing emaciated children who have died of malnutrition.

Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, the head of the pediatrics unit of a northern Gaza hospital targeted by Israeli forces, said that 26 children in his facility alone have died from starvation-related health complications. Safiya told HRW that at least 16 of the children were under five months old, and one of them was just two days old.

The mother, he said, "had no milk to give him."

"Israel's allies like the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany need to press for full-throttle aid delivery by immediately suspending their arms transfers."

Already badly hindered by Israel's siege, aid deliveries to Gaza have been further disrupted by Israeli attacks on humanitarian workers and convoys. Israeli forces' killing of seven World Central Kitchen workers last week led several aid groups to suspend their operations in Gaza.


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