I wrote about the Israeli government’s starvation of the people of Gaza in my new column this week:
There is a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding before our eyes in Gaza. People are not just starving, they are being starved, and it is happening with the support of our government.
Ever since the Israeli government announced the cutoff of food, water, fuel, and power to Gaza, millions of people have been living under siege conditions. This is criminal, and it threatens the population with death from hunger and disease. Even before the war, the people of Gaza lived under severe restrictions, and now conditions are far worse as their infrastructure and homes have been destroyed and they are being deprived of the most basic necessities.
As it happens, Charli Carpenter also wrote about the Israeli government’s use of starvation as a weapon. She writes:
Talk of lack of intentionality or proportionality makes little sense so long as the Israeli military is intentionally using means of warfare incapable of distinguishing civilians from combatants [bold mine-DL]. And to date, Israel has done so in at least two ways: withholding humanitarian supplies and using aerial bombardments in an urban area. And it has done so in full cognizance of the effects on civilians [bold mine-DL]. These acts not only open Israel – and the U.S., as its backer – up to public opprobrium, they likely expose Israeli defense officials and civilian leaders to potential prosecution as war criminals.
Intentionally starving civilians is a war crime explicitly prohibited in numerous instruments, including the Rome Statute, which defines the act as “depriving [civilians] of objects indispensable to their survival, including willfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions.” Nevertheless, immediately after Oct. 7, Israel cut off fuel, electricity, food and water to Gaza, willfully violating this provision of the laws of war [bold mine-DL].
Daniel Larison is a contributing editor for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.