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Israeli Air Strike Kills 7 Food Relief Workers in Gaza

The world has reacted with shock after 7 international aid workers with World Central Kitchen (WCK) in Gaza were killed in a targeted strike by the Israeli air force. WCK is in Gaza trying to feed the region’s 2.3 million starving citizens…

WCK Car Bombed - © 2024 - CNN

What happened

Last week, Israel cut off permission for food and medical aid shipments to enter Gaza via land routes. The US Navy responded by mounting an effort to build offshore floating docks to receive aid supplies by ship. And World Central Kitchen – the global organization that responds anywhere to feed disaster victims – brought in 500 tons of emergency food.

WCK has set up dozens of community kitchens across Gaza. More than 1.7 million of the region’s 2.3 million residents have been rendered homeless by ongoing Israeli military action which is allegedly aimed at wiping out Hamas, the Palestinian military organization. The need for food relief in Gaza has been ruled critical by international authorities.

And now…

The Israeli airforce is being accused of targeting a civillian car in a strike that killed 7 WCK workers. The victims included a US-Canada national, as well as WCK volunteers from Australia, Poland and the UK. Only one was Palestinian.

“I am heartbroken and appalled that we – World Central Kitchen and the world – lost beautiful lives today because of a targeted attack by the IDF,” World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore said in a statement.

The world has reacted with outrage…

According to CNN:

  • United Nations (UN): United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said he is “outraged by the killing of World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza,” describing them as “heroes, killed while trying to feed starving people,” Griffiths posted on X. “All this talk about ceasefires, and still this war steals the best of us. The actions of those behind it are indefensible. This must stop.”
  • World Food Programme (WFP): “This attack on our humanitarian community is unacceptable. The safety of aid workers is paramount, as is the safety of those who come to receive aid. #NotATarget,” said Executive Director of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) Cindy McCain on X.
  • World Health Organization (WHO): “How many more lives will be lost until there’s a ceasefire? We are outraged by the killing of humanitarian workers in #Gaza. Safety is a basic requirement for the delivery of life-saving aid,” Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on X, reiterating his call for the “sustained protection of humanitarian workers across Gaza.”
  • European Union: “This shows that the #UNSC resolution asking for an immediate ceasefire, a full humanitarian access and a reinforced protection of civilians must be immediately implemented,” said European Union (EU) top diplomat Josep Borrell on X.
  • The White House says it is ‘heartbroken and deeply troubled’ by the strike, and is urging Israel to investigate the incident, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council says.
  • Poland’s Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said he had personally asked the Israeli Ambassador to Poland Yacov Livne for ‘urgent explanations’.
  • The United Kingdom says it isurgently seeking further information’ on the death of a British aid worker killed in Gaza, its foreign office said on Tuesday.
  • Australia has contacted Israel, the country’s prime minister Anthony Albanese said, adding that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has ‘requested a call-in from the Israeli ambassador to Australia’ to ‘ask for accountability‘.

And that’s just the beginning.

Israel has responded predictably…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) ‘unintentionally struck innocent people’. He also says the incident is being investigated by the IDF ‘at the highest levels’.

“Unfortunately, in the last day, there was a tragic incident where our forces unintentionally struck innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said. “It happens in war, and we are thoroughly investigating it. We are in contact with the governments [whose citizens were killed] and will do everything to prevent such occurrences in the future.”

To be fair, it’s still too early to expect top officials to know why the IDF fighter pilot involved decided to make a selective strike on a civilian vehicle.

My take

Officials from the countries whose nationals were killed in the attack have spoken publicly with caution. But others in the international community have likened the attack on the WCK volunteers to bombing the Red Cross.

Food is just as crucial to the Gazans as medical services and housing. All those factors are essential to human survival. Humanitarian organizations hold that access to those basic necessities is a human right.

Israel has come under fire from many countries and international aid organizations for it’s brutal military actions in Gaza. The main reason is, those attacks have not discriminated between civilians and Hamas forces. The UN has passed a resolution condemning Israel’s invasion of Gaza. But there has been no international military intervention to back that up. Observers say the attack on the WCK workers may be the straw that tips the balance…

~ Maggie J.