On May 20, 2024, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan announced that he was pursuing arrest warrants against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant. Khan alleged that both “bear criminal responsibility” for the war crime of “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.” 

As shown below, anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – many funded by European governments and some linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group – initiated the “starvation as a weapon” narrative immediately following Hamas’ brutal assault on October 7. While the IDF was still fighting Palestinian terrorists in southern Israel, and well before the ground invasion of Gaza, NGOs issued press releases and submissions to the ICC making outrageous claims of “starvation.” 

Central to this campaign were “reports” of an NGO framework known as “the Famine Review Committee of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) system.” The factual claims in IPC publications primarily reference UN agencies (UNRWA, WHO) and the PFLP-linked NGO Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) that simply repeat propaganda from the Hamas Ministry of Health. These claims were repeated by the “expert committee” appointed by Khan, referenced in the May 20 ICC statement, that served as the justification for his actions.  

For over a decade, these same NGOs have been lobbying for ICC prosecution of Israelis, pushing the Court to recognize the Palestinian Authority as a member and to expand its jurisdiction, filing complaints, representing “victims,” and submitting briefs. 

Palestinian NGOs 

Al-Haq, Al Mezan, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) (funded by Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, European Union, Norway, Netherlands, France, Denmark, UN agencies)

  • October 9, 2023: statement titled “Urgent: Israel Announces Total Warfare on Gaza’s Civilian Population, Employing Starvation as a Weapon
  • October 12, 2023 statement: “We reiterate our calls to the international community…to take concrete steps to stop the killings and starvation of Palestinian civilians…”
  • October 12, 2023 Appeal to UN officials: Describes Israeli policies as “…constitut[ing] total warfare on the civilian population, employing starvation as a weapon.”
  • October 20,2023 Letter to ICC Prosecutor Khan: accusing Israel of “unlawful means and methods, that include collective punishment…starvation…”
  • See also statements from November 13, 2023, November 21, 2023, December 15, 2023, December 19, 2023, and February 3, 2024.

International NGOs

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International

FIDH: International Federation of Human Rights (funded by European Union, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden)

  • October 11, 2023 statement: “Israel/Palestine: FIDH condemns the escalation of violence and double standards”: “The situation on the ground is extremely worrying, especially following the total closure imposed by Israel against two million Palestinians in Gaza, who now have no access to food, water, electricity, petrol or medicine. Indiscriminate airstrikes, the closure, and the starvation of Gaza’s civilian population are clearly prohibited by international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes.”
  • December 2023 FIDH resolution: “Israel’s pattern of attacks and measures against the Palestinian population in Gaza since October 7th, collective punishment, forced displacement, combined with Israel’s use of starvation as a tool of warfare, the cutting of water, electricity and fuel, coupled with the public and repeated statements of senior Israeli government and military officials, are evidence to Israel’s genocidal intent and acts in its current aggression.”

Oxfam (funded by European Union, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Australia)

European NGOs

73 UK NGOs (Action Aid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Medecins sans Frontiers UK, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK) (funded by the United Kingdom, Ireland)

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

War on Want (funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Open Society Foundations)


Churches for Middle East Peace (funded by Foundation for Middle East Peace)

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) (funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation)

  • October 15, 2023: Open Letter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Regarding Sending an Investigative Team to the Gaza Strip, “In addition to its indiscriminate bombing campaign, Israeli officials have also tightened the siege on Gaza. Combined with declarations by senior Israeli defense officials that no food, water, or fuel will be allowed into Gaza City, rights groups have warned that this amounts to using starvation as a weapon. As you are no doubt aware, depriving civilians of objects indispensable to their survival, such as fuel, water, food, and electricity, are among the gravest violations of international humanitarian law.”

IfNotNow (funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Tides Foundation, Foundation for Middle East Peace)

  • October 11, 2023: Tweet by IfNotNow: “This all feels so painful. It seems like you have two choices: Justify the abduction and mass murder of Israelis by Hamas? Or “stand with” the Israeli government’s starvation and vengeance on 2 million Palestinians, most of them children, caged in an open air prison? No. “

Israeli NGOs

Gisha (funded by European Union, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, UN agencies)

  • November 23, 2023 statement“…collective punishment, starvation, the deliberate killing of civilians and targeting of civilian infrastructure, and the taking of hostages violate these principles and constitute war crimes.”

Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I), Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Adalah (funded by European Union, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, United Kingdom, UN agencies)

  • March 18, 2024 Petition (Hebrew) to Israel’s High Court…”employing collective punishment to a point that may amount to starvation as a weapon of war…”

B’Tselem (funded by Norway, Switzerland, Spain, UN agencies)

  • January 8,  2024 statement: “Israel is starving Gaza”
  • April 2024 report: “Manufacturing Famine: Israel is Committing the War Crime of Starvation in the Gaza Strip”