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Common Dreams: Human Rights Watch Says Countless More Children Will Die If Israel Doesn’t End Gaza Siege

This article by Jack Johnson appeared October 19, 2023, on the Common Dreams website.

It mentions a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) , published October 18, 2023, that warned “Israel’s total siege of the Gaza Strip has put more than a million children at “grave risk,” depriving them of access to basic necessities and leaving hospitals without sufficient fuel to treat scores of Israeli airstrike victims.”

The article can be read in full on the Common Dreams website.

The following are excerpts from the article:

  • The group released its report after Israel agreed to allow limited quantities of food, water, and medicine to reach southern Gaza via the Egyptian border, a slight crack in the complete blockade that was imposed on October 9. 
  • HRW argued that the aid agreement “falls short of meeting the needs of Gaza’s population” because it excludes people in northern Gaza who are unable or unwilling to comply with Israel’s evacuation order. The deal also won’t restore Gaza’s electricity supply or allow fuel into the territory, leaving hospitals in a state of crisis as they rely on dwindling diesel generators.
  • Bill Van Esveld, HRW’s associate children’s rights director, said in a statement that “Israel’s bombardment and unlawful total blockade of Gaza mean that countless wounded and sick children, among many other civilians, will die for want of medical care…  …U.S. President Joe Biden… should press Israeli officials to completely lift the unlawful blockade and ensure the entire civilian population has prompt access to water, food, fuel, and electricity.”
  • Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed more than 1,000 children— roughly one every 15 minutes—since October 7, the day the bombing campaign began following a deadly Hamas attack.
  • Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel and Palestine director, wrote on social media Thursday that “by cutting off most basic goods/services necessary for survival, Israel is putting lives of 1 million+ kids in Gaza at risk and committing a war crime… …States must urgently act—every hour that this blockade continues costs lives”


Note: On October 19, 2023 HRW released an update to their report:
President Joe Biden announced that the United States mediated an agreement allowing the movement of up to 20 trucks of food, medicine, and water into Gaza. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has urged negotiators to raise their “level of ambition.” OCHA reported that, in August 2023 alone, 12,072 truckloads of “authorized goods entered Gaza through the Israeli and Egyptian-controlled crossings.” After the total siege on the civilian population on October 9, a single dispatch of 20 truckloads does not adequately address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, Human Rights Watch said. Israel’s international partners should press the Israeli government to restore water and electricity supplies and lift its unlawful restrictions on aid delivery and closure.
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