On October 12, 2023, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that Israel would impose a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip, including a cutoff of water and fuel, until two Israeli soldiers captured by Hamas were released. Gallant said that the siege was in response to a mass infiltration by Hamas fighters into southern Israel on October 10.
The cutoff of water and fuel has had a devastating impact on the people of Gaza. The Gaza Strip is already facing a water crisis, with 96% of the water in the sole aquifer unfit for human consumption. The cutoff of fuel has also led to power outages, disrupting essential services such as hospitals and water treatment plants.
The United Nations has warned that the cutoff of water and fuel could lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) said that the cutoff would have a “severe impact” on the health and well-being of the 2.1 million people living in Gaza, including 500,000 children.
The cutoff of water and fuel has also been criticized by human rights groups. Amnesty International said that the cutoff was a form of collective punishment and violated international law. The group said that Israel had a legal obligation to ensure that the people of Gaza had access to essential supplies, including water and fuel.
The cutoff of water and fuel is a complex issue with no easy solutions. Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself from Hamas attacks. However, the cutoff of water and fuel is a collective punishment that disproportionately harms the civilian population of Gaza. The international community must pressure Israel to lift the siege and ensure that the people of Gaza have access to essential supplies.