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Siege of Gaza is creating a humanitarian crisis

Israel says it won't allow aid to Gaza until hostages are released, cutting off food, water, power and more.
Siege of Gaza is creating a humanitarian crisis
Posted at 6:35 PM, Oct 13, 2023

As Gaza enters another day without power and cut off from food and water, the international community is questioning Israel's war tactics.

"As we have stressed, civilians must never be used as bargaining chips. Yet, we continue to receive heartbreaking messages of helplessness from people in Gaza," said Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In the days following the horrific attack on Israel by Hamas, the Israeli Defense Minister announced a "complete siege on Gaza."

"There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel, everything will be closed. We are fighting against human animals, and we are acting accordingly," said Yoav Gallant, the Israeli Defense Minister.

The last power plant in the Gaza strip ran out of fuel Wednesday, leading some to worry about hospitals in the area.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says "hospitals risk turning into morgues" without electricity.

"No fuel, food, water or medical supplies are being allowed in, placing the entire population of Gaza at risk. Such collective punishment of civilians is strictly prohibited by international law," said Shamdasani. 

"Collective punishment" is a tactic by which a country or army punishes a group of people for the actions of a few.

Some human rights advocates have accused Israel of collective punishment — by cutting off food, water and essential aid to Palestinians in Gaza in response to the weekend's Hamas' terror attacks.

The Secretary General of the United Nations called for "rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access now."

Nevertheless, Israeli's Energy Minister expressed plans to stay the course: "No electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home. Humanitarian for humanitarian. And no one will preach us morals."

More than 420,000 people in Gaza have already been displaced and at least 2,800 people, including civilians, have already been killed in both Israel and Gaza.

But as Israel warns over one million Gazans to evacuate ahead of a potential ground invasion, both numbers are expected to rise.

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