Israel, Gaza and the Law on Starvation in War – Generic English

Related media – Connected media

In a March 15 letter to a British parliamentary committee, David Cameron, Britain’s foreign secretary, expressed his “enormous frustration” that aid supplied by the United Kingdom had been “routinely held up” on its way to Gaza. “The main blockers remain arbitrary denials by the government of Israel and lengthy clearance procedures including multiple screenings and narrow opening windows in daylight hours,” he wrote.

Before Oct. 7, around 500 trucks entered Gaza each day, carrying both aid and commercial items, Mr. Cameron said. That number fell by approximately 75 percent in the early months of the conflict, and although there has been a modest increase in April, the most recent weekly average for which figures were available was only 202 trucks per day, according to the U.N.

As of April 17, at least 28 children under 12 had died of malnutrition or related causes in Gaza hospitals, according to local health authorities, including a dozen babies under a month old. Officials believe that many more deaths outside hospitals have gone unrecorded.

According to international law, Israel has a right to do things like inspect aid convoys for items that might aid Hamas, such as weapons, and set the times and routes for humanitarian access. But the right is not limitless, experts said: Context matters.

“If there’s not a prospect of civilian starvation, one can engage in that kind of action for those military reasons other than sustenance denial,” Dannenbaum, the Tufts professor, said. But once civilians are at risk of starvation, a party to the conflict “cannot abuse the authority to inspect and set times and routes in a way that arbitrarily impedes humanitarian access to starving civilians,” he added.

Connected media – Related media