Noten 22 t/m 24/Israelische Terreur




United Nations S/RES/2417 (2018) Security Council Distr.: General 

24 May 2018   

  Resolution 2417 (2018)

 Adopted by the Security Council at its 8267th meeting, on 24 May 2018 The Security Council, 

Recalling all relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 1296 (2000), 1894 (2009), 2175 (2014), and 2286 (2016) and its Presidential Statement of 9 August 2017 (S/PRST/2017/14), 

Deeply concerned about the level of global humanitarian needs and the threat of famine presently facing millions of people in armed conflicts, as well as about the number of undernourished people in the world which, after decades of decreasing, increased over the last two years, with the majority of food insecure people and seventy-five percent of all stunted children under the age of five living in countries affected by armed conflict, amounting to 74 million people facing crisis food insecurity or worse in situations of armed conflict,

  Noting the devastating impact on civilians of ongoing armed conflict and related violence, and emphasising with deep concern that ongoing armed conflicts and violence have devastating humanitarian consequences, often hindering an effective humanitarian response, and are therefore a major cause of the current risk of famine,

Expressing concern over the growing number of armed conflicts in different geographic areas all over the globe, and underlining the urgent need for redoubled efforts for their prevention and resolution, addressing where pertinent the regional dimensions of armed conflicts with specific emphasis on regional diplomacy and arrangements, 

Reiterating its commitment to pursue all possible avenues to prevent and end armed conflicts, including through addressing their underlying root causes in an inclusive, integrated and sustainable manner, 

Recognising the need to break the vicious cycle between armed conflict and food insecurity, 

Reiterating its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and, in this connection, its commitment to address conflict-induced food insecurity, including famine, in situations of armed conflict, 

Reaffirming the full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, 

Recognising that armed conflict impacts on food security can be direct, such as displacement from land, livestock grazing areas, and fishing grounds or destruction of food stocks and agricultural assets, or indirect, such as disruptions to food systems and markets, leading to increased food prices or decreased household purchasing power, or decreased access to supplies that are necessary for food preparation, including water and fuel, 

Noting with deep concern the serious humanitarian threat, posed to civilians by landmines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices in affected countries, which has serious and lasting social and economic consequences for the populations of such countries and their agricultural activities, as well as of personnel participating in law enforcement, humanitarian, peacekeeping, rehabilitation and clearance programmes and operations, 

Stressing the particular impact that armed conflict has on women, children, including as refugees and internally displaced persons, and other civilians who may have specific vulnerabilities including persons with disabilities and older persons, and stressing the protection and assistance needs of all affected civilian populations, 

Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution, 

Recalling the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, and the obligation of High Contracting Parties and parties to armed conflict to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in all circumstance s, 

Underlining that using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare may constitute a war crime, 

Stressing that responding effectively to humanitarian needs in armed conflict, including the threat of conflict-induced famine and food insecurity in situations of armed conflict, requires respect for international humanitarian law by all parties to conflict, underlining the parties’ obligations related to protecting civilians and civilian objects, meeting the basic needs of the civilian population within their territory or under their effective control, and allowing and facilitating the rapid and unimpeded passage of impartial humanitarian relief to all those in need, 

Recalling its intention to mandate United Nations peacekeeping and other relevant missions, where appropriate, to assist in creating conditions conducive to safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian assistance, 

Demanding that all parties to armed conflicts fully comply with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law, as applicable, and international humanitarian law, in particular their obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the obligations applicable to them under the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977 and 2005, to ensure the respect and protection of all medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, 

Reaffirming the obligation of all parties to an armed conflict to comply with international humanitarian law, in particular their obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the obligations applicable to them under the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977, to ensure the respect and protection of all humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel, as well as with the rules and principles of international human rights law and refugee law, 

Reaffirming the need for all parties to armed conflict to respect the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence in the provision of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance, and reaffirming also the need for all actors engaged in the provision of such assistance in situations of armed conflict to promote and fully adhere to these principles, 

Stressing that the fight against impunity and to ensure accountability for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes has been strengthened through the work on and prosecution of these crimes in the national and international criminal justice system, ad hoc and mixed tribunals as well as specialized chambers in national tribunals, 

Reaffirming the primary responsibility of States to protect the population throughout their whole territory, 

  1. Recalls the link between armed conflict and violence and conflict-induced food insecurity and the threat of famine, and calls on all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law regarding respecting and protecting civilians and taking constant care to spare civilian objects, including objects necessary for food production and distribution such as farms, markets, water systems, mills, food processing and storage sites, and hubs and means for food transportation, and refraining from attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, agricultural assets, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, and respecting and protecting humanitarian personnel and consignments used for humanitarian relief operations;

2. Stresses in this regard that armed conflict, violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and food insecurity can be drivers of forced displacement, and, conversely, forced displacement in countries in armed conflict can have a devastating impact on agricultural production and livelihoods, recalls the relevant prohibition on the forced displacement of civilians in armed conflict, and stresses the importance of fully complying with international humanitarian law and other applicable international law in this context; 

3. Stresses the need for humanitarian assistance to be gender- and agesensitive, and to remain responsive to the different needs of the population, ensuring that these needs are integrated in the humanitarian response; 

4. Calls on all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, and underlines the importance of safe and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to civilians in armed conflicts, calls upon all parties concerned, including neighbouring States, to cooperate fully with the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations agencies in providing such access, invites States and the Secretary-General to bring to its attention information regarding the unlawful denial of such access in violation of international law, where such denial may constitute a threat to international peace and security, and, in this regard, expresses its willingness to consider such information and, when necessary, to adopt appropriate steps; 

5. Strongly condemns the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in a number of conflict situations and prohibited by international humanitarian law; 

6. Strongly condemns the unlawful denial of humanitarian access and depriving civilians of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supply and access for responses to conflict-induced food insecurity in situations of armed conflict, which may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law; 

7. Urges all parties to protect civilian infrastructure which is critical to the delivery of humanitarian aid and to ensure the proper functioning of food systems and markets in situations of armed conflict; 

8. Urges those with influence over parties to armed conflict to remind the latter of their obligation to comply with international humanitarian law; 

9. Recalls that the Council has adopted and can consider to adopt sanction measures, where appropriate and in line with existing practice, that can be ap plied to individuals or entities obstructing the delivery o 

10. Strongly urges States to conduct, in an independent manner, full, prompt, impartial and effective investigations within their jurisdiction into violations of international humanitarian law related to the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, including the unlawful denial of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in armed conflict, and, where appropriate, to take action against those responsible in accordance with domestic and international law, with a view to reinforcing preventive measures, ensuring accountability and addressing the grievances of victims; 

11. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide information on the humanitarian situation and response, including on the risk of famine and food insecurity in countries with armed conflict, as part of his regular reporting on countryspecific situations; 

12. Further requests the Secretary-General to report swiftly to the Council when the risk of conflict-induced famine and wide-spread food insecurity in armed conflict contexts occurs, and expresses its intention to give its full attention to such information provided by the Secretary-General when those situations are brought to its attention; 

13. Further requests the Secretary-General to brief the Security Council every twelve months on the implementation of this resolution within his annual briefing on the protection of civilians.




18 DECEMBER 2023

Evidence Indicates Civilians Deliberately Denied Access to Food, Water

  • The Israeli government is using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in the Gaza Strip, which is a war crime.
  • Israeli officials have made public statements expressing their aim to deprive civilians in Gaza of food, water, and fuel – statements reflected in Israeli forces’ military operations.
  • The Israeli government should not attack objects necessary for the survival of the civilian population, lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, and restore electricity and water. 

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli government is using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in the occupied Gaza Strip, which is a war crime, Human Rights Watch said today. 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.

Since Hamas-led fighters attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, high-ranking Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Yoav GallantNational Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Energy Minister Israel Katz have made public statements expressing their aim to deprive civilians in Gaza of food, water and fuel – statements reflecting a policy being carried out by Israeli forces. Other Israeli officials have publicly stated that humanitarian aid to Gaza would be conditioned either on the release of hostages unlawfully held by Hamas or Hamas’ destruction.

“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, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch. “World leaders should be speaking out against this abhorrent war crime, which has devastating effects on Gaza’s population.”

Human Rights Watch interviewed 11 displaced Palestinians in Gaza between November 24 and December 4. They described their profound hardships in securing basic necessities. “We had no food, no electricity, no internet, nothing at all,” said one man who had left northern Gaza. “We don’t know how we survived.”

In southern Gaza, those interviewed described the scarcity of potable water, the lack of food leading to empty shops and lengthy lines, and exorbitant prices. “You are on a constant search for things needed to survive,” said a father of two. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reported on December 6 that 9 out of 10 households in northern Gaza and 2 out of 3 households in southern Gaza had spent at least one full day and night without food.

International humanitarian law, or the laws of war, prohibits the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court provides that intentionally starving civilians by “depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including willfully impeding relief supplies” is a war crime. Criminal intent does not require the attacker’s admission but can also be inferred from the totality of the circumstances of the military campaign.

In addition, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza, as well as its more than 16-year closure, amounts to collective punishment of the civilian population, a war crime. As the occupying power in Gaza under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has the duty to ensure that the civilian population gets food and medical supplies.

On November 17, the WFP warned of the “immediate possibility” of starvation, highlighting that supplies of food and water were practically non-existent. On December 3, it reported a “high risk of famine,” indicating that Gaza’s food system was on the brink of collapse. And on December 6, it declared that 48 percent of households in northern Gaza and 38 percent of displaced people in southern Gaza had experienced “severe levels of hunger.”

On November 3, the Norwegian Refugee Council announced that Gaza was grappling with “catastrophic water, sanitation, and hygiene needs.” Wastewater and desalination facilities were shut down in mid-October due to fuel and electricity shortages and have been largely inoperable since, according to the Palestinian Water Authority. Even before October 7, according to the UN, Gaza had virtually no potable water.

Prior to the current hostilities, 1.2 million of Gaza’s 2.2 million people were estimated to be facing acute food insecurity, and over 80 percent were reliant on humanitarian aid. Israel maintains overarching control over Gaza, including over the movement of people and goods, territorial waters, airspace, the infrastructure upon which Gaza relies, as well as the registry of the population. This leaves Gaza’s population, which Israel has subjected to an unlawful closure for 16 years, almost entirely dependent on Israel for access to fuel, electricity, medicine, food, and other essential commodities.

After the imposition of a “total blockade” on Gaza on October 9, Israeli authorities resumed piping water to some parts of southern Gaza on October 15 and, as of October 21, allowed limited humanitarian aid to arrive through the Rafah crossing with Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on October 18 that Israel would not allow humanitarian assistance “in the form of food and medicines” into Gaza through its crossings “as long as our hostages are not returned.”

The government continued to block the entry of fuel until November 15, despite warnings about the serious consequences of doing so, leading to the shutdown of bakeries, hospitals, sewage pumping stations, water desalination plants, and wells. These facilities, which have been left unusable, are indispensable to the civilian population’s survival. Although limited amounts of fuel were subsequently allowed in, on December 4, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lynn Hastings, called it “utterly insufficient.” On December 6, Israel’s war cabinet approved a “minimal” increase in fuel supplies to southern Gaza.

On December 1, immediately after the seven-day ceasefire, the Israeli military resumed bombing Gaza and expanded its ground offensive, stating that its military operations in the south would carry “no less strength” than in the north. While United States officials said that they urged Israel to allow fuel and humanitarian aid to enter Gaza at the same levels observed during the ceasefire, the Defense Ministry’s coordinator of government activities in the territories said on December 1 that it halted all aid entry. Limited aid deliveries resumed on December 2, but still at grossly insufficient levels, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Alongside the crushing blockade, the Israeli military’s extensive airstrikes in the strip have resulted in widespread damage or destruction to objects necessary for the survival of the civilian population.

UN experts said on November 16 that the significant damage “threatens to make the continuation of Palestinian life in Gaza impossible.” Notably, Israeli forces’ bombing of Gaza’s last operational wheat mill on November 15 ensures that locally produced flour will be unavailable in Gaza for the foreseeable future, as highlighted by OCHA. Additionally, the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) said that the decimation of road networks had made it more difficult for humanitarian organizations to deliver aid to those who need it.

“Bakeries and grain mills have been destroyed, agriculture, water and sanitation facilities,” Scott Paul, a senior humanitarian policy adviser for Oxfam America, told the Associated Press on November 23.

Israel’s military actions in Gaza have also had a devastating impact on Gaza’s agricultural sector. The sustained bombardment, coupled with fuel and water shortages, alongside the displacement of more than 1.6 million people to southern Gaza, has made farming nearly impossible, according to Oxfam. In a report from November 28, OCHA said that livestock in the north are facing starvation due to the shortage of fodder and water, and that crops are increasingly abandoned and damaged due to lack of fuel to pump irrigation water. Existing problems, such as water scarcity and restricted access to farming land near the border fence, have compounded the difficulties faced by local farmers, many of whom are displaced. On November 28, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said that Gaza is suffering from at least a US$1.6 million daily loss in farm production.

On November 28, the Palestine Food Security Sector, led by the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization, reported that over a third of agricultural land in the north had been damaged in the hostilities. Satellite imagery reviewed by Human Rights Watch indicates that since the start of the Israeli military’s ground offensive on October 27, agricultural land, including orchards, greenhouses, and farmland in northern Gaza, has been razed, apparently by Israeli forces.

The Israeli government should immediately cease using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, Human Rights Watch said. It should abide by the prohibition on attacks on objects necessary for the survival of the civilian population and lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip. The government should restore water and electricity access, and allow desperately needed food, medical aid, and fuel into Gaza, including via its crossing at Kerem Shalom.

Concerned governments should call on Israel to end these abuses. The United States, the United KingdomCanadaGermany, and other countries should also suspend military assistance and arms sales to Israel as long as its forces continue to commit widespread and serious abuses amounting to war crimes against civilians with impunity.

“The Israeli government is compounding its collective punishment of Palestinian civilians and the blocking of humanitarian aid by its cruel use of starvation as a weapon of war,” Shakir said. “The deepening humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza calls for an urgent and effective response from the international community.”


The Hamas-led attacks in southern Israel on October 7 killed at least 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, with more than 200 people taken hostage, acts amounting to war crimes. The resulting Israeli bombardment and ground offensive resulted in more than 18,700 Palestinians killed, including more than 7,700 children, according to Gaza authorities.

UN experts stated on November 16 that half of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure had been destroyed. OCHA reported that as of December 10, over half of Gaza’s housing units had been damaged or destroyed, as provided by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza as well as hospitals, schools, mosques, bakeries, water pipes, sewage, and electricity networks. On November 4 and 5 alone, according to OCHA, seven water facilities across the Gaza Strip were directly hit and sustained major damage, including water reservoirs in Gaza City, the Jabalia refugee camp, and Rafah. 

The Israeli military’s repeated, apparently unlawful attacks on medical facilities, personnel, and transport are further destroying Gaza’s healthcare sector, thereby affecting the population’s ability to access life-saving treatment, including to prevent diseases, wasting, and deaths linked to malnutrition, exacerbating the dire ramifications of starvation. “We will see more people dying from disease than from bombardment if we are not able to put back together this health system,” the World Health Organization’s Margaret Harris said on November 28.

Humanitarian Consequences

On October 13, Israeli authorities issued an order for more than a million people to evacuate northern Gaza within 24 hours – an order that was impossible to comply with. Since then, and as conditions in the north worsened, hundreds of thousands have been displaced to Rafah and Khan Younis governorates in the south, where it has become increasingly difficult to secure the means to survive. Under international humanitarian law, evacuations must be carried out under conditions that ensure those displaced have access to unimpeded humanitarian aid, including sufficient food and work, otherwise they may amount to forcible displacement. Evacuations that would increase the likelihood of starvation are prohibited.

The humanitarian consequences of Israel’s military actions in Gaza have been severe. During the first eight weeks of hostilities, northern Gaza was the focus of the Israeli military’s intense air and, later, ground offensive. Except for the seven-day ceasefire that began on November 24, during which UN convoys brought in limited quantities of flour and high-energy biscuits, aid access to the north had been largely severed. Between November 7 and at least November 15, none of the bakeries in the north were operational due to the lack of fuel, water, wheat flour, and structural damage, according to OCHA.

According to the WFP, there is a serious risk of starvation and famine in Gaza. UN officials have said that 1.9 million people, over 85 percent of Gaza’s population, are internally displaced, adding that the conditions in an ever-shrinking southern area of the Gaza strip could become “even more hellish.”

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths stated on December 5 that the Israeli military campaign in southern Gaza had led to “apocalyptic” conditions, making meaningful humanitarian operations impossible.

As of December 6, the only water desalination plant in northern Gaza was nonfunctional and the pipeline supplying water to the north from Israel remained closed, increasing the risk of dehydration and waterborne diseases arising from the consumption of water from unsafe sources. Hospitals have been particularly hard hit, with only 1 of 24 hospitals in northern Gaza functional and able to admit new patients, although services are limited, as of December 14.

Across Gaza, the humanitarian crisis deepened with a persistent electricity blackout since October 11 as well as several communications shutdowns that denied people access to reliable safety information, emergency medical services, and severely hindered humanitarian operations, with OCHA saying on November 18 that the telecommunications blackout between November 16 and 18, the fourth such blackout since October 7, “brought the already challenging delivery of humanitarian assistance to an almost complete halt, including life-saving assistance to people injured or trapped under the rubble as a result of airstrikes and clashes.” Another telecommunications blackout took place on December 14.

Since the beginning of the Israeli military’s ground offensive on October 27, satellite imagery reviewed by Human Rights Watch indicates that orchards, greenhouses, and farmland in northern Gaza have been razed, apparently by Israeli forces, compounding concerns of dire food insecurity and loss of livelihood. Satellite imagery indicates that the razing of agricultural land continued in northern Gaza during the seven-day ceasefire, which began on November 24 and ended on December 1, when the Israeli military was in direct control of the area.

While the Israeli government allowed a steady and slightly increased stream of humanitarian aid, including cooking gas for the first time since October 7, to enter the Gaza Strip during the seven-day ceasefire that ended on December 1, it deliberately hindered the entry of relief supplies at the scale needed for over a month prior, while it imposed a siege affecting the entire civilian population. This contributed to a catastrophic humanitarian situation of far-reaching consequences with over 80 percent of the population internally displaced, many of whom have been sheltering in overcrowded, unhealthy and unsanitary conditions at UN shelters in the south. The aid that entered during the ceasefire “barely registers against the huge needs of 1.7 million displaced people,” said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric on November 27.

Some 200 trucks, including four tankers carrying up to 130,000 liters of fuel and four tankers of cooking gas, entered Gaza each day of the ceasefire. In comparison, an average of 500 trucks of food and goods entered Gaza each day before the conflict and 600,000 liters of fuel are needed in Gaza per day just to operate water and desalinization plants. As the bombardment resumed and Israeli forces advanced south, aid access was again severely hindered. On December 5, for the third consecutive day, OCHA reported that only Rafah governorate in Gaza received limited aid distributions. In the adjacent Khan Younis governorate, it said aid distribution largely stopped due to the intensity of hostilities.

Accounts from Civilians in Gaza

Human Rights Watch spoke to 11 civilians who evacuated northern Gaza to the perceived safety of the south due to heavy bombardment, fear of imminent airstrikes, or because Israel ordered them to evacuate. Several said they were displaced a number of times before reaching the south, as they struggled to find suitable shelters and safety along their journey. In the south, they found overcrowded shelters, empty markets and soaring prices, and long lines for limited supplies of bread and drinking water. To protect their identities, Human Rights Watch is using pseudonyms for all those interviewed.

“I have to walk three kilometers to get one gallon [of water],” said 30-year-old Marwan, who fled to the south with his pregnant wife and two children on November 9. “And there is no food. If we are able to find food, it is canned food. Not all of us are eating well.”

“We don’t have enough of anything,” said 36-year-old Hana, who fled her home in the north to Khan Younis in the south with her father, his wife and her brother on October 11. She said that in the south they don’t always have access to clean water, forcing them to drink nonpotable, salty, water.

Bathing has become a luxury, she said, due to the lack of means to heat water, requiring them to scavenge for wood. In desperate situations, she said, they even resort to burning old clothes for cooking. The process of making bread poses its own challenges, given the scarcity of ingredients that they cannot afford. “We make bad bread because we don’t have all the ingredients and we cannot afford it,” she said.

Majed, 34, who fled with his wife and four surviving children to the south on or around November 10 said that while the situation in the south was dire, it was incomparable to what he and his family had to endure while staying in the north. They had been in an area near al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City for just over a month after their house was bombed on October 13, killing Majed’s 6-year-old son:

“In those 33 days we didn’t have bread because there was no flour,” he said. “There was no water – we were buying water, sometimes for [US]$10 a cup. It wasn’t always drinkable. Sometimes, [the water we drank] was from the bathroom and sometimes from the sea. The markets around the area were empty. There wasn’t even canned food.”

Taher, 32, who fled south with his family on November 11, described similar conditions in Gaza city in the first weeks of November. “The city was out of everything, of food and water,” he said. “If you find canned food, the prices were so high. We decided to eat just once a day to survive. We were running out of money. We decided to just have the necessities, to have less of everything.”

International Standards and Evidence of Deliberate Action

Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited under article 54(1) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions (Protocol I) and article 14 of the Second Additional Protocol (Protocol II). Although Israel is not a party to Protocols I or II, the prohibition is recognized as reflective of customary international humanitarian law in both international and noninternational armed conflicts. Parties to a conflict may not “provoke [starvation] deliberately” or deliberately cause “the population to suffer hunger, particularly by depriving it of its sources of food or of supplies.”

Warring parties are also prohibited from attacking objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food and medical supplies, agricultural areas, and drinking water installations. They are obligated to facilitate rapid and unimpeded humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need, and to not deliberately block humanitarian aid or restrict the freedom of movement of humanitarian relief personnel. In each of its four previous wars in Gaza since 2008, Israel maintained the flow of drinking water and electricity into Gaza and opened the Israeli crossings for humanitarian delivery.

Evidence of intent to deliberately use starvation as a method of warfare can be demonstrated by public statements of officials involved in military operations. The following high-ranking Israeli officials could be expected to play a significant role in determining policy with respect to allowing or blocking food and other necessities to the civilian population.

On October 9, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said: “We are imposing a complete siege on [Gaza]. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel – everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we must act accordingly.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said in a tweet on October 17, “So long as Hamas does not release the hostages – the only thing that should enter Gaza is hundreds of tons of air force explosives – not an ounce of humanitarian aid.”

Energy Minister Israel Katz, who reported that he ordered the cuts to electricity and water, said on October 11:

“For years, we have given Gaza electricity, water, and fuel. Instead of a thank you, they sent thousands of human animals to butcher, murder, rape and kidnap babies, women and elderly people. This is why we have decided to cut off the supply of water, electricity and fuel, and now, the local power plant has collapsed, and there is no electricity in Gaza. We will keep holding a tight siege until the Hamas threat is lifted from Israel and the world. What has been will be no more.”

Katz said on October 12:

“Humanitarian aid to Gaza? Not a switch will be flicked on, not a valve will be opened, not a fuel truck will enter until the Israeli hostages come home. Humanitarian for humanitarian. Let no one lecture us about morality.”

He said on October 16:

“I supported the agreement between PM [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and President Biden to supply water to the southern Gaza Strip because it aligned with Israeli interests too. I am vehemently opposed to lifting the blockade and letting goods into Gaza for humanitarian reasons. Our commitment is to the families of the murdered and to the kidnapped hostages – not Hamas murderers and the people who helped them.”

On November 4, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich declared that no fuel must enter Gaza “under any circumstances.” He later called Israel’s war cabinet’s decision to permit small amounts to enter the strip “a grave mistake” and said that it “stop this scandal immediately and prevent fuel from coming into the Strip,” as reported by the Jerusalem Post.

In a video posted online on November 4, Col. Yogev Bar-Shesht, deputy head of the Civil Administration, said in an interview from inside Gaza, “Whoever returns here, if they return here after, will find scorched earth. No houses, no agriculture, no nothing. They have no future.”

On November 24, in a televised interview with CNN, Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Israel was depriving Gaza of fuel since October 7 to strengthen Israel’s position when it came to negotiating with Hamas on release of hostages. “Had we done so [allowed the fuel in] … we would never have gotten our hostages out,” he said.

On December 1, the Defense Ministry’s coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, said that the entry of fuel and aid to Gaza was halted after Hamas violated the conditions of the ceasefire agreement. His office confirmed his statement in response to a Times of Israel query, stating: “After the Hamas terror organization violated the agreement and in addition fired at Israel, the entry of humanitarian aid was stopped in the manner stipulated in the agreement.”

Other officials have since October 7 called for the limited entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza, saying that doing so serves Israel’s military aims.

Prime Minister Netanyahu on December 5 answered a question about Israel potentially losing leverage against Hamas if it allowed more humanitarian aid into Gaza, saying: “The war efforts are supported by the humanitarian effort … this is because we follow laws of war because we know that if there would be a collapse – diseases, pandemics, and groundwater infections – it will stop the fighting.”

Defense Minister Gallant said: “We’re required to allow the humanitarian minimum to allow for the military pressure to continue.”

Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s national security adviser, said at a news conference on November 17: “If there is an epidemic, the fighting will be stopped. If there is a humanitarian crisis and an international outcry, we will not be able to continue the fighting under those conditions.”

On October 18, the Office of the Prime Minister announced that Israel would not prevent humanitarian aid from entering Gaza from Egypt following pressure from the US and other international allies:

“In light of President Biden’s demand, Israel will not thwart humanitarian supplies from Egypt as long as it is only food, water and medicine for the civilian population in the southern Gaza Strip.”

Destruction of Agricultural Products and Impacts on Food Production

During ground operations in northern Gaza, Israeli forces have apparently destroyed agricultural products, exacerbating shortages of food with long-term effects. This has included razing orchards, fields, and greenhouses.

Israel’s military said it conducted military operations in the Beit Hanoun area, including in an undisclosed agricultural area in Beit Hanoun, to clear tunnels and other military objectives.

Fields and orchards north of Beit Hanoun, for example, were first damaged during hostilities following Israel’s ground operations in late October. Bulldozers carved new roads, clearing the way for Israeli military vehicles.

Since mid-November, after Israeli forces took control of the same area in northeastern Gaza, satellite imagery shows that orchards, fields, and greenhouses have been systematically razed, leaving sand and dirt. Human Rights Watch contacted the Israel Defense Forces for comment on December 8 but has not received a response.

Farmers in this area planted crops such as citrus fruit, potatoes, dragon fruit, and prickly pear, contributing to the livelihoods of Palestinians in Gaza. Other crops include tomatoes, cabbage, and strawberries. Some plots were razed in a day. Trees that yield citrus fruit, as well as the cacti that yield dragon fruit, take years of care to mature before they can yield fruit.

High resolution satellite imagery shows bulldozers were used to destroy fields and orchards. Tracks are visible, as well as mounds of earth on the edges of the former plots.

Whether by deliberate razing, damage due to hostilities or the inability to irrigate or work the land, farmland across northern Gaza has been drastically reduced since the beginning of the Israeli ground operations.

Farms and farmers in southern Gaza have also been affected. Action Against Hunger found that of 113 farmers from southern Gaza surveyed between October 19 and 31, 60 percent reported that their assets and/or crops have been damaged, 42 percent reported that they had no access to water to irrigate their farms, and 43 percent reported that they were unable to harvest their crops.


12/18/2023: This news release has been updated to reflect the October date on which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not allow humanitarian assistance “in the form food and medicines” into Gaza through its crossings “as long as [Israel’s] hostages are not returned.” 

1/15/2024: This news release has been updated to reflect the correct attribution for statistics provided regarding the damage and destruction to civilian infrastructure in Gaza.


The Israeli authorities must immediately restore Gaza’s electricity supply and suspend the increased restrictions imposed as a result of the Minister of Defence’s order of 9 October 2023 and lift its illegal 16-year blockade on the Gaza Strip. The collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population amounts to a war crime – it is cruel and inhumane”





12 OCTOBER 2023

The shutdown of Gaza’s only power plant will exacerbate an already desperate humanitarian crisis for more than 2.2 million people trapped in the Gaza Strip, amid a massive bombing campaign by Israel that has killed at least 1,350 people and injured more than 6,000 people.

The airstrikes were launched in retaliation to the attack on 7 October by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups from Gaza who fired indiscriminate rockets and sent fighters into southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 people and injuring more than 2,700 and taking hostages, including many civilians.

“The Israeli authorities must immediately restore Gaza’s electricity supply and suspend the increased restrictions imposed as a result of the Minister of Defence’s order of 9 October 2023 and lift its illegal 16-year blockade on the Gaza Strip. The collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population amounts to a war crime – it is cruel and inhumane. As the occupying power, Israel has a clear obligation under international law to ensure the basic needs of Gaza’s civilian population are met,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard.

The blackout has plunged the Gaza strip into darkness and will exacerbate an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. It will further limit communications and access to the internet. The power cuts will have a severe impact on essential services, access to clean water and will cause a public health disaster leaving Gaza’s already depleted hospitals without vital medical equipment at a time when medics are struggling to treat thousands gravely wounded in Israeli attacks. It will also endanger the lives of hospital patients, including people with chronic conditions or those in intensive care, including newborn babies on life support.

An Israeli minister said today that the authorities will not restore power or allow water or fuel to enter until Hamas releases hostages. This is an explicit confirmation that these acts have been taken to punish civilians in Gaza for the actions of Palestinian armed groups.  Amnesty reiterates that Palestinian civilians are not responsible for the crimes of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups and Israel must not, under international law, make them suffer for acts they play no role in and cannot control.  

“Palestinian armed groups’ horrific mass killing of Israeli civilians and other serious violations do not absolve Israel from upholding its obligations to respect international humanitarian law and to protect civilians.  The collective punishment of civilians in Gaza will not bring justice to the victims of war crimes by Hamas and other armed groups or security to civilians in Israel,” said Agnes Callamard.

Amnesty International is also concerned by the repeated attacks on the Rafah border crossing. It calls on Israel to facilitate the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and to allow safe passage for those in need of medical care outside the Gaza Strip. It urges the international community to work towards an agreement over humanitarian corridors. 

Israeli authorities must refrain from committing unlawful attacks that kill or injure civilians and destroy civilian homes and infrastructure. Israeli officials must refrain from incitement to violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem and ensure the safety of all civilians living under its control. All Palestinian armed groups in Gaza must release all civilian hostages unconditionally and immediately.

Amnesty International is currently investigating Israeli air strikes in Gaza, including the air strike on a residential building in al-Zeitoun neighbourhood, which killed 15 members of the same family, including seven children – five siblings and their two cousins, in addition to their elderly grandparents; the destruction of Burj Palestine, a high-rise building in al-Rimal neighbourhood in Gaza; and the bombing of a crowded market street in Jabalia refugee camp, which killed at least 69 people, including at least 15 Children.

Amnesty International is calling on Israel and Palestinian armed groups to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians, in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

This output is part of a series of articles by Amnesty International into the escalating violence and human rights violations in Israel, Gaza and elsewhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  Amnesty International has published its initial findings on war crimes committed by Hamas and Palestinian armed groups including mass summary executions, hostage-taking, and the firing of inherently indiscriminate rockets. With evidence still emerging of the violations committed in southern Israel, Amnesty International will continue its investigations to determine the full range of crimes committed under international law.  


Since 2007, Israel has imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip collectively punishing its entire population. The current fighting is the sixth major military operation Israel and Gaza-based armed groups since then.  On 9 October Israel’s minister of defence Yoav Gallant announced a “complete siege on Gaza… No electricity, no food, no water, no gas – it’s all closed,” as part of the Israeli retaliatory attack following the attack by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups that killed 1,200 people.

In June, Amnesty International published its investigation into the May 2023 offensive on the Gaza strip, finding that Israel had unlawfully destroyed Palestinian homes, often without military necessity in what amounts to a form of collective punishment against the civilian population. 

In its February 2022 report, Amnesty International set out how Israeli forces have committed in Gaza (as well as in the West Bank and Israel) acts prohibited by the Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Apartheid Convention, as part of a widespread and systemic attack against the civilian population with the aim of maintaining a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians, thereby constituting the crime against humanity of apartheid. 

Previous reports by Amnesty International on violations and crimes committed in the context of fighting between Israel and Palestinian armed groups can be found here.

Amnesty International is an impartial human rights organization and seeks to ensure that all parties to an armed conflict comply with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Accordingly, in future briefings, Amnesty International will be investigating Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip to determine whether it is complying with the rules of international humanitarian law, including by taking necessary precautions to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects and refraining from unlawful attacks and from collective punishment of the civilian population, as required under international law. Amnesty International will also continue to monitor the activities of Hamas and Palestinian armed groups.



Article 33 – Individual responsibility, collective penalties, pillage, reprisals

No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.


‘ 7 – Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to

spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the

object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.”



The seven fundamental rules which are the basis of the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols.  

 1 – Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their

lives and their moral and physical integrity. They shall in all circumstances be protected and treated humanely

without any adverse distinction.

 2 – It is forbidden to kill or injure an enemy who surrenders or who is hors de combat .

 3 – The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its power.

Protection also covers medical personnel, establishments, transports and equipment. The emblem of the red

cross or the red crescent is the sign of such protection and must be respected.

 4 – Captured combatants and civilians under the authority of an adverse party are entitled to respect for their lives,dignity, personal rights and convictions. They shall be protected against all acts of violence and reprisals. They shall have the right to correspond with their families and to receive relief.

 5 – Everyone shall be entitled to benefit from fundamental judicial guarantees. No one shall be held responsible for an act he has not committed. No one shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, corporal punishment or cruel or degrading treatment.

 6 – Parties to a conflict and members of their armed forces do not have an unlimited choice of methods and means of warfare. It is prohibited to employ weapons or methods of warfare of a nature to cause unnecessary losses or excessive suffering.

 7 – Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to

spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the

object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.

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