Palestinian children are walking past the rubble of the al-Bukhari mosque in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on March 2, 2024, following an overnight Israeli air strike amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Photo by Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Gaza 200 days at risk of genocide and famine

As we approach the 200th day of this unprecedented and devastating conflict on April 24, over two million people in the occupied Gaza Strip remain at risk of genocide and famine. More than 33,000 Palestinians have already been killed in Israel’s relentless bombardment and at least 31 have starved to death, 28 of them children. Almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip has been displaced, many repeatedly. Nowhere is safe.

Amnesty International’s fieldworker in Gaza continues the difficult work of gathering evidence:

“We work amid ongoing, ceaseless bombardment and we ask about the most deadly cases where civilians and displaced people were killed. Under these dangerous conditions, we are still working on the ground to document violations and war crimes.

I meet with those who have lost their entire families, women, children, the elderly. Hearing about the horror of the crimes, I can no longer write. I go away for a while to take a breath and cry, and then resume my work.

I’m proud of my work with Amnesty International. Please pray for our survival.”

Israel’s authorities must immediately halt their brutal bombing campaign and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Civilian hostages held by Hamas and armed groups must be immediately released. All Palestinians arbitrarily held in Israeli prisons, including civilians from Gaza, must also be released.

What you can do to help

Trying to get a basic understanding of things? Read the blog Understanding the long roots of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel.

Want a deep dive into the current crisis and Amnesty’s work on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories? Check out the toolkit on our website.

Show your solidarity! Organize or join events in your community on or around the 200 day mark on April 24. Signs for public events can be downloaded here.

Looking for inspiration to organize an event? Check out the event Voices Unveiled: Unpacking Israel’s Apartheid organized by the Ottawa-Gatineau Amnesty group.

Interested in taking action? Amplify Amnesty’s three key actions on calling for a ceasefire, humanitarian aid and an end to arms sales.

Ceasefire Now!

An immediate and sustained ceasefire by all parties remains the only way to truly relieve the toll on civilians and address the mass devastation and suffering in Gaza. Humanitarian workers have also repeatedly said that a ceasefire is essential to allow them to provide anywhere near sufficient levels of aid, particularly given that, with levels of hunger this severe, more food, more water and urgent medical care is needed, against the backdrop of a health sector that has been devastated by Israeli military operations.

On December 12, 2023, Canada finally announced support for “urgent international efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire.” We continue to press Canada and the international community to make that ceasefire call a reality.

Sign and share our online petition urging the international community to call for an immediate ceasefire.

Ensure humanitarian aid

On March 28, the International Court of Justice ordered additional provisional measures to prevent genocide in light of the worsening situation in Gaza. The court acknowledged that famine in Gaza is no longer a risk but it is “setting in” and it ordered Israel to take tangible measures to allow urgently needed humanitarian aid to reach those in need. While two new land corridors were recently opened, this is not nearly enough to tackle the scale of the catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

The conflict in Gaza has been deadly for aid workers, with over 200 killed since October, the vast majority of them Palestinian.

Sign and share our online action Israel: Allow Aid into Gaza.

Stop all arms sales to Israel

Israel’s military campaign has destroyed a substantial portion of Gaza’s homes, schools, hospitals, water infrastructure, shelters, and refugee camps.

Amnesty International has documented damning evidence of war crimes by Israeli forces in their intense bombardment of Gaza, including direct or indiscriminate attacks as well as other unlawful attacks and collective punishment of the civilian population. One Amnesty investigation found that US-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) were used by the Israeli military in two deadly, unlawful air strikes on the al-Najjar and Abu Mu’eileq family homes in Deir al-Balah in the occupied Gaza Strip. Amnesty did not find any indication that there were any military objectives at the sites of the two strikes or that people in the buildings were legitimate military targets. The air strikes – which killed a total of 43 people (19 children, 14 women and 10 men) – were either direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks and must be investigated as war crimes.  

In January, the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel is committing potential genocide in Gaza. There is a clear risk that weapons and military equipment directly or indirectly exported to Israel will be used to commit serious crimes against civilians in Gaza. Any state continuing to transfer military equipment violates international rules on arms trade and risks becoming complicit in violations of international humanitarian law – including war crimes – and a plausible genocide.

In February, UN experts warned that any sale and supply of weapons to Israel that risk being used in Gaza would violate international humanitarian law and must be stopped immediately. In early April, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling on states to “cease the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel.”

Over 250 humanitarian and human rights organisations have called on states to stop arms transfers to Israel and Palestinian armed groups.

Although Canada stopped issuing new permits for military exports to Israel in early 2024, transfers can continue on existing permits as well as via the United States. Between October 7 and December 6 alone, $28.5 million of new military exports to Israel were approved – more than all the permits issued in 2022.

Sign and share our online action calling on Canada to close the loopholes and stop all arms sale to Israel.

Questions? Want to get more involved?

For more information, please contact Hilary Homes, Crisis and Tactical Campaigner, at the national office:

Header image: Palestinian children walk past the rubble of the al-Bukhari mosque in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on March 2, 2024, following an overnight Israeli air strike amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Photo by Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images.