Thursday, January 8, 2009

Red Cross: Israel Letting Palestinian Children Starve in Gaza

Ha'aretz, January 9, 2009 - The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday accused Israel of delaying ambulance access to the Gaza Strip and demanded it grant safe access for Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to return to evacuate more wounded.

Relief workers said they found four starving children sitting next to their dead mothers and other corpses in a house in a part of Gaza City bombed by Israeli forces, the Red Cross said on Thursday

"This is a shocking incident," said Pierre Wettach, ICRC chief for Israel and the Palestinian territories."The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded," Pierre Wettach said in a statement. "Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded." More details on this story from USA Today:

Rescuers eventually received permission to go to the site Wednesday, four days after it was hit by Israeli shells, the international Red Cross said. They found 15 dead and 18 wounded in three houses, including the children who were too weak to stand.

The organization said requests to be allowed to reach other destroyed houses in this neighborhood, reportedly containing more wounded, were refused by the Israeli army. The Geneva-based group said it believes "that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded."

"It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable," the group's statement said.

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