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Appeasing Israel prevents neither deliberate air strikes nor genocide

April 4, 2024 at 2:41 pm

A view of the ID cards belonging to volunteers of the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK) who were killed in an Israeli attack on a vehicle belonging to WCK in Rafah, Gaza on April 03, 2024. [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

The World Central Kitchen charity has just lost seven of its staff as a result of an Israeli air strike targeting their vans, and yet, in an op-ed for Ynet News, the organisation’s founder Jose Andres conveys a contradictory message: Israel has deliberately targeted the organisation but, at the same time, Israel is better than that. I’d say it is much worse than that.

Providing food in Gaza at a time of genocide is not just a humanitarian issue, it is a strong statement that puts anyone doing so at odds with Israel. The occupation state is following a policy of eliminating Palestinians from Gaza one way or another, and with that mindset in place, anyone or anything standing in the way of its ethnic cleansing has to be taken out of the equation. That is Israel; that is the Zionist colonial project. And that is what Palestinians have been experiencing since the 1948 Nakba.

In his op-ed Andres makes the point that WCK provided food to Israelis and Palestinians as needed. He described the workers killed by Israel as driven by the premise that “food is a universal human right”. True, but food is also politicised and no amount of talk about human rights, which is too often just a cover for human rights violations, will change that fact.

That is why the op-ed in an Israeli newspaper comes across as appeasing the genocidal settler-colonial entity.

“Israel is better than the way this war is being waged,” wrote Andres. “It is better than blocking food and medicine to civilians. It is better than killing aid workers who coordinate their movements with the [Israel Defence Forces].”

READ: Israel targeted foreign aid workers so Palestinians could starve quietly, UN rapporteur says

In October last year, Andres took to X to counter a statement by Ione Belarra who was Spain’s Minister of Social Rights until the following month; she denounced Israel’s genocide and international silence as complicity in genocide. Andres retorted that Belarra should first recognise Hamas’s actions as a terror attack and Israel’s response as self-defence. Only then, he claimed, can you “ask for restraint and respect for civilians in Gaza.”

As the world awaits the ICJ's verdict, Israel's genocide continues - [Cartoon / Mohammad Sabaaneh]

As the world awaits the ICJ’s verdict, Israel’s genocide continues – [Cartoon / Mohammad Sabaaneh]

Since, as Andres asserts in the op-ed and keeping only to the context of Israel targeting the WCK, the air strikes were “a direct attack on clearly marked vehicles whose movements were known by the IDF”, it is clear that Israel is no better than its actions dictate. Keeping in mind the genocide scenario unleashed in Gaza by the colonial state, Andres’s appeal to Israel’s sense of morality — which is alien to its Zionist DNA anyway and thus non-existent — is a waste of time and an insult to the Palestinians which his organisation has been feeding. If Israel really was “better than that”, WCK would not be needed in Gaza in the first place.

“We know Israelis,” Andres wrote. “Israelis, in their heart of hearts, know that food is not a weapon of starvation.” Of course, Israelis know that food is nourishment, but for those who support their government’s genocidal actions, food is a weapon not just of starvation, but also of extermination by it being deliberately withheld. Aren’t Israeli settlers preventing aid from entering Gaza and stating unabashedly that no food should reach Gaza until all hostages are released?

Israel has proved to the world that its ugliness knows no limits. In 1948, the settler-colonial state was established on the terrorism of the Irgun and Stern Gang, and the Zionists’ ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Since October 2023, Israel has clarified its intent to ethnically cleanse Gaza of Palestinians, and has backup plans for the forced displacement of the people who survive the ongoing genocide. Meanwhile, real estate magnates envisage the possibilities of selling prime sea front properties and Jewish settlers are waiting to “return” to Gaza. All of this is happening because the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian population remains unchallenged.

WCK’s humanitarian endeavour in Gaza was not just a humanitarian endeavour, it was seen by Zionists as an act against genocide. And while the narrative of not politicising humanitarian aid will prevail, it is about time that humanitarian aid is politicised as much as world leaders politicise it. Not politicising aid and pandering up to the apartheid state will not make Israel look any worse than it does already, but it will certainly render tireless aid workers even more defenceless. Andres’ op-ed achieved that, in an attempt to blame Israel from a position of neutrality. Appeasing Israel prevents neither deliberate air strikes nor genocide. He needs to understand that.

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