Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of using 'starvation' as weapon

HRW claims Israeli forces are 'deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel while willfully impeding humanitarian assistance'

Representative image (photo: IANS)
Representative image (photo: IANS)
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International rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday (18 December) accused Israel of "using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in the Gaza Strip, which is a war crime".

HRW claimed that Israeli forces were "deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel while willfully impeding humanitarian assistance." The human rights watchdog said it was part of "a policy spurred on or endorsed by high-ranking Israeli officials and reflecting an intent to starve civilians as a method of warfare." 

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the HRW report, but Israel has denied targetting civilians throughout the war with Hamas, the Islamist militant group ruling Gaza that is listed as a terrorist organization by the US and EU, among other countries. 

Israel declared a "complete siege" of Gaza shortly after the Hamas October 7 terror attacks. However, it has allowed aid to come into the Palestinian territory through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. 

The Cabinet has also approved the temporary reopening of Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing for humanitarian aid. 

The UN World Food Program said last week that following a food assessment, around half of all Gazans "are starving."

Aid agencies have been calling for a significant increase in humanitarian assistance, which the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) said is necessary to "help avoid a deepening of the already dire humanitarian situation."

Possible explosion reported off Yemen

Two shipping agencies have reported a possible explosion off the coast of Yemen.

The British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations agency issued a warning of a potential explosion that hit near a vessel that was passing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait between Yemen and the Horn of Africa.

Maritime security firm Ambrey quoted the captain of the ship as saying that "the 'explosion' [occurred] two nautical miles off one of the vessel's quarters while it was transiting."

The two organizations said they had received information of the possible explosion occurring 30 nautical miles (55.56 nautical kilometers) south of Yemen's port of Mokha.

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