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'Gaza aid convoy attack result of Israel impunity, response shows extent of Palestinians' dehumanisation'

April 8, 2024 at 2:21 pm

A view of damaged vehicle carrying Western employees after Israeli attack in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on April 02, 2024 [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s killing of food aid workers is “reprehensible” but not surprising, as it has been targeting journalists, doctors, health workers and aid workers with “full impunity for six months”, according to a Palestinian-American lawyer, Anadolu Agency reports.

In an interview with Anadolu, Lara Elborno denounced last Monday’s attack on a convoy of US-based charity World Central Kitchen (WCK), saying the targeting of civilians and aid workers must stop.

“Israel’s deliberate killing of seven aid workers is reprehensible, but it’s nothing new. Israel has been targeting Palestinians, journalists, doctors, health workers, aid workers and UN workers with full impunity for six months now, and it must be stopped,” she said.

The 1 April attack killed seven aid workers – three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national, a US-Canadian dual citizen and a Palestinian.

READ: WHO: Infectious diseases rising among displaced in Gaza

It has triggered strong condemnation around the globe and calls for accountability, with many, including WCK founder Jose Andres, disputing Israel’s claim that it was a “mistake” and a case of “misidentification”.

Elborno said she disagrees with the notion that the killing of foreign WCK aid workers is somehow more relevant or more devastating than the context in which they were killed, “which is the genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza”.

“On day 180 now of Israel’s genocide, the Palestinian people are reeling from one of the largest massacres in our history,” she said, referring to the recent Israeli siege and attacks that completely destroyed Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, leaving hundreds killed including displaced families, patients and doctors.

However, that took place around the same time that Israel killed these seven aid workers, and “the media has unfortunately been more interested in the latter story,” Elborno noted.

She said this is “deeply dangerous logic” that indicates the extent of the “dehumanisation of Palestinians” and that Palestinian deaths are “somehow inevitable or natural”.

She asserted that this has paved the way for “this genocide and allowed Israel to get away with it for the last 180 days.”

Call for arms embargoes, sanctions

Israel, which is facing a genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), has now killed nearly 33,200 Palestinians in Gaza, a majority of them women and children, and injured almost 76,000.

It has laid waste to most of the enclave, displacing millions and leaving them facing starvation due to a crippling blockade on aid and essentials.

Elborno pointed out that Israel continues to kill Palestinians despite two ICJ orders, a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, and a damning report by UN Special Rapporteur, Francesca Albanese, which said there are “reasonable grounds” to believe it is committing genocide in Gaza.

“Yet the US has continued to funnel weapons, to cooperate in matters of intelligence and it has kept the funds flowing, and so Israel continues to act emboldened and kill and starve more Palestinians in Gaza,” she noted.

READ: World Central Kitchen founder says war on Gaza is war against humanity

She said this underscores the importance and need for “urgent sanctions” and arms embargoes.

“States need to put pressure on Israel by imposing arms embargoes, by imposing sanctions, by cutting ties with Israel in order to force it to comply with its international obligations to end this genocide, to dismantle its apartheid regime, to stop its 75-year-long violation of the Palestinian right to return and Palestinian self-determination,” said Elborno.

Asked whether countries supplying Israel could face legal challenges in the future, she replied that “risk has already materialised,” pointing to the US-based Centre for Constitutional Rights’ case against the Biden administration for complicity and Nicaragua’s proceedings against Germany for its violations of the Genocide Convention.

“Everyone responsible, whether Israel or its Western backers, must be brought to justice,” she noted.

This is essential because if such violations of international law go unchecked, they will become the “new precedent” for other states, she added.

“Every violation that Israel gets away with becomes a new practice that can be accepted elsewhere … I think taking a stand against Israel’s genocide in Gaza is, therefore, the only logical human position if one values human life and the future of humanity altogether,” said Elborno.​​​​​​​

WATCH: ‘Prior to the killing of WCK, 189 aid workers had already been killed by Israeli forces’