World Central Kitchen truck bombed by Israel

A view of damaged vehicle carrying Western employees after Israeli attack in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on April 02, 2024. Seven staff members of the humanitarian organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), including Western nationals participating in food relief efforts and a Palestinian were killed due to attack.

(Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Israel's Deadly Bombing of World Central Kitchen Convoy Was No Anomaly: Report

A new analysis from Human Right Watch argues that numerous attacks on humanitarian relief operations by Israeli forces prove the April 1 bombing that killed 7 people was "far from being an isolated 'mistake.'"

A deadly attack on a convoy of World Central Kitchen aid workers which killed 7 people last month was not a one-off occurrence, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday, but rather representative of a documented pattern in which Israel military forces have targeted relief personnel and infrastructure despite being informed of the exact locations of those operations.

"Even though aid groups had provided their coordinates to the Israeli authorities to ensure their protection," an analysis by HRW found that eight such attacks on such operations, including the April 1 bombing of the WCK in Deir al-Balah, have been carried out by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) over the last seven months.

According to the group's report, "Israeli authorities did not issue advance warnings to any of the aid organizations before the strikes, which killed or injured at least 31 aid workers and those with them."

"Israel's allies need to recognize that these attacks that have killed aid workers have happened over and over again, and they need to stop." —Belkis Willi, HRW

Details of the various attacks, said HRW, show that the WCK bombing was "far from being an isolated 'mistake,'" as the Israeli government has claimed.

Citing figures from the United Nations, HRW notes that over 250 aid workers have been killed in Gaza by Israel since the Hamas-led attack on October 7 of last year.

"Israel's killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers was shocking and should never have happened under international law," said Belkis Wille, associate crisis, conflict, and arms director at Human Rights Watch. "Israel's allies need to recognize that these attacks that have killed aid workers have happened over and over again, and they need to stop."

The other seven attacks documented in the report are:

  • Attack on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors without Borders) convoy, November 18, 2023
  • Attack on a guest house of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), December 9, 2023
  • Attack on an MSF shelter, January 8, 2024
  • Attack on an International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) guest house, January 18, 2024
  • Attack on an UNRWA convoy, February 5, 2024
  • Attack on an MSF guest house, February 20, 2024
  • Attack on a home sheltering an American Near East Refugee Aid Organization (Anera) employee, March 8, 2024

Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Israeli authorities requesting more information about these documented incidents, but said it received no response.

"Israel should make public the findings of investigations into attacks that have killed and injured aid workers, and into all other attacks that caused civilian casualties," the group said on Tuesday. "The Israeli military's long track record of failing to credibly investigate alleged war crimes underscores the importance of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) inquiry into serious crimes committed by all parties to the conflict."

In addition to military targeting of relief operations, the Israeli military has been accused of various crimes, including indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations, forced displacement, and the targeting of medical facilities.

Also on Tuesday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) released a report documenting Israel's pattern of attacking its facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and ambulance services in Gaza during the current campaign.

"In view of this extensive timeline of reprehensible actions, MSF once again calls on all parties to respect and protect healthcare facilities, healthcare workers and patients in Gaza and the West Bank," the group said Tuesday. "An immediate and sustained ceasefire must be implemented in Gaza now to put an end to the suffering of people and the destruction of Gaza. We demand an immediate and unfettered flow of aid into the entirety of the Gaza Strip. We demand accountability for our colleagues and their family members who have been killed and wounded, and for patients."

In early May, following a month pause of Gaza operations following the deadly attack, WCK announced it was resuming its relief efforts in the area. It has also started construction on a new kitchen facility to elevate and support its mission to feed the people of Gaza as Israel's assault not only continues but intensifies.

"We have spent the past few weeks honoring the lives of Saif, Zomi, Damian, Jacob, James, John, and Jim. We are restarting our operation with the same energy, dignity, and focus on feeding people as these seven heroes brought to their work every single day," the groups said on May 5. "As our work in Gaza resumes, our demand for an impartial and international investigation into the April 1 attack remains."

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