By Charlie Kimber
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2899

Israeli forces ‘intentionally killed’ World Central Kitchen aid workers

UN official Francesca Albanese said Israel targeted the aid workers to keep ‘quietly starving’ people in Gaza
Issue 2899
UN official Francesca Albanese illustrating an article about the Israeli murder of World Central Kitchen workers

UN official Francesca Albanese slammed Israel’s murder of the World Central Kitchen aid workers (Picture: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

A top United Nations (UN) official says that Israel deliberately killed the World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers earlier this week in order to intensify starvation in Gaza.

Francesca Albanese is the UN’s official reporting on the territories that Israel illegally occupied in 1967. She said, “Knowing how Israel operates, my assessment is that Israeli forces intentionally killed WCK workers so that donors would pull out and civilians in Gaza could continue to be starved quietly.”

She added, “Israel knows Western countries and most Arab countries won’t move a finger for the Palestinians.”

It’s true much of the aid to prevent escalating famine has now stopped. The Associated Press news agency reported that ships carrying more than 200 tonnes of undelivered aid were returning from Gaza after the WCK killings.

WCK has stopped all its operations. Another US charity it works with, Anera, has also suspended work. Together, they were delivering two million meals a week in Gaza.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu was forced to admit that Israel was responsible for the deaths. But he said the blasts that killed seven people on Monday were simply “a tragic incident”. “It happens in wartime,” he said.

Palestinian Saif Abu Taha was one of those killed alongside six others from countries including Britain.

Celebrity chef Jose Andres who founded WCK said on Wednesday that Israel had targeted the convoy “systematically, car by car”. He confirmed Israel knew about the aid workers’ movements.

“This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” Andres said.

He said that, after the Israeli military attacked the first armoured car, the team was able to escape. It moved to a second car which was then also blasted, forcing them to move to the third car.

The aid workers tried to communicate with Israeli forces to make clear who they were. Then Israel hit the third car—“and we saw the consequences of that,” said Andras.

The Israeli strike was delivered by a Hermes 450 drone manufactured by Elbit Systems. The Hermes 450 is powered by a UK-made R902(W) engine, produced by Elbit subsidiary UAV Engines Limited in Britain

“Explosive weapons expert” Chris Cobb-Smith told CNN news that the strikes appeared to have been carried out by an Israeli drone.

Cobb-Smith, a former British Army artillery officer, said the heavy damage to the three vehicles was consistent with the use of “highly accurate drone-fired missiles”. He added it was “hard to believe” the incident was an accident.

He also said the drone that fired the fatal missiles would have been operated in conjunction with a surveillance drone. This means the Israeli military would have had total visibility of the cars, including the WCK logo.

The attack on the WCK convoy has plunged the US and British governments deeper into crisis. The message from the mass Palestine movement that Israel is a murderous killing machine has been confirmed in the eyes of millions.

It should spur even stronger calls to halt all arms sales to Israel, to apply sanctions and to fight to stop backing the genocidal assault.

And there are new forms of pressure. More than 600 lawyers, academics and retired senior judges have signed a 17-page letter. It says “serious action” is needed to “avoid UK complicity in grave breaches of international law, including potential violations of the Genocide Convention”.

It adds that the sale of arms and weapons systems to Israel “falls significantly short” of the government’s obligations under international law. That’s given the “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza.

Pressure from below forced prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair to suspend arms to Israel in 1982 and 2002 respectively.

The US and British governments fear the attacks are too blatant, too revealing, too obvious. They also see the Israeli attack as directed at their own people. The Tory government has worked closely with WCK. The three British nationals slaughtered are all former military personnel, two of them from the Royal Marines.

The US also celebrates WCK. “I am outraged and heartbroken,” Joe Biden said after the blasts in a statement that called Andres “my friend”.

A few months ago, Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats nominated WCK and Andres for the Nobel Peace Prize. Anders had demanded a Spanish government minister should be fired for suggesting Israel was committing war crimes.

WCK is seen as an acceptable replacement for the UN agency Unrwa, which Israel falsely accused of conniving with the Hamas attack on 7 October.

On his podcast, Andres has guests such as US secretary of state Antony Blinken. So the US and British governments will hope that they can make angry noises but allow Israel to administer a cover-up.

On Wednesday White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby told reporters, “While we make no bones about the fact that we have certain issues about some of the way things are being done.

“We also make no bones about the fact that Israel is going to continue to have US support for the fight that they’re in to eliminate the threat from Hamas.”

It’s time to intensify the pro-Palestinian movement.

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