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Israeli forces attacking known aid worker locations - HRW

Israeli attack on World Central Kitchen convoy, April 1, 2024

In a press release from 14 May Human Rights Watch said that Israeli forces have carried out at least eight strikes on aid workers’ convoys and premises in Gaza since October 2023, despite aid groups having provided their coordinates to Israeli authorities to ensure their protection. 

Israeli forces have killed at least 15 people including 2 children in attacks on convoys or buildings used by humanitarian organizations. According to the UN, Israeli authorities did not issue warnings to any of the aid organizations before striking them. 

The eight attacks on aid organizations identified by HRW include: 

- Attack on World Central Kitchen convoy, April 1, 2024

- Attack on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors without Borders) convoy, November 18, 2023

- Attack on a guest house of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), December 9, 2023

- Attack on an MSF shelter, January 8, 2024

- Attack on an International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) guest house, January 18, 2024

- Attack on an UNRWA convoy, February 5, 2024

- Attack on an MSF guest house, February 20, 2024

- Attack on a home sheltering an American Near East Refugee Aid Organization (Anera) employee, March 8, 2024

HRW has raised concerns regarding Israel’s commitment and capacity to comply with international humanitarian law. 

Associate crisis, conflict, and arms director at Human Rights Watch, Belkis Wille said, “Israel’s allies need to recognize that these attacks that have killed aid workers have happened over and over again, and they need to stop.” 

Weapons from the US and the UK were reportedly used in at least one of the 8 attacks on aid organizations. 

HRW has called on Israel’s allies to suspend military assistance and arms sales to Israel so long as its forces commit systematic and widespread laws-of-war violations against Palestinian civilians with impunity. 

In a recent trip to Cairo and northern Sinai, near the border between Egypt and Gaza HRW met with staff from 11 humanitarian organizations operating in Gaza. 

The aid staff told HRW that Israeli attacks on aid workers have severely restricted their ability to carry out life-saving work in Gaza. One senior employee said, “I can’t risk sending more staff into Gaza because I cannot rely on deconfliction as a way of keeping them safe.”

HRW has emphasized that the eight incidents reveal fundamental flaws with the deconfliction system intended to protect aid workers. The rights organization recommends that a group of international experts conduct an independent review of the humanitarian deconfliction process. 

HRW has also called on Israel to make public the findings of investigations into attacks that have killed and injured aid workers, and attacks that have caused civilian casualties. 

On 1 May, HRW sent a letter to Israel requesting specific information about the 8 attacks on aid organizations. Israel has not responded. 

Read HRW article here 

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