Israeli Forces Repeatedly Target Aid Workers in Gaza: HRW

Tue May 14 2024
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JERUSALEM: Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on Tuesday revealing that Israeli forces have repeatedly targeted known aid worker locations in Gaza, even after the coordinates were provided to Israeli authorities for their protection.

According to HRW, there have been eight documented cases where aid convoys and premises were deliberately attacked, resulting in the deaths of at least 15 people, including two children. These incidents are part of a larger trend, with over 250 aid workers killed in Gaza since the conflict began over seven months ago, as reported by UN figures.

In all eight cases highlighted by HRW, the aid organizations had provided the GPS coordinates to Israeli authorities, indicating a failure of the “deconfliction system” meant to safeguard aid workers and ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

Belkis Wille, HRW’s associate crisis, conflict, and arms director, condemned Israel’s actions, stating, “On one hand, Israel is blocking access to critical lifesaving humanitarian provisions and on the other, attacking convoys that are delivering some of the small amount that they are allowing in.”

The report cited the case of the World Central Kitchen, a US-based charity, where seven aid workers were killed in an Israeli strike on their convoy on April 1. HRW emphasized that this was not an isolated incident, pointing to the seven other cases where aid convoys and premises were attacked despite prior coordination with Israeli authorities.

Among the targeted organizations were Doctors Without Borders and UNRWA, the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees. HRW noted that, according to the organizations affected, there were no military targets in the vicinity at the time of the attacks.

“If confirmed, this would make the attacks unlawfully indiscriminate or unlawful for having failed to take sufficient precautions to ensure the target was military,” HRW stated.

The report comes in the wake of another incident on Monday, where a UN staff member was killed and another injured when their clearly-marked vehicle was struck in Rafah, southern Gaza. The UN had notified Israeli authorities of the vehicle’s movements in advance.

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