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A change in rhetoric, not in humanitarian aid

April 11, 2024 at 3:00 pm

Dead bodies of Palestinians killed in the Israeli attack are taken from the morgue of al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital for burial in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza on 10 April, 2024 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

To keep reading that Israel’s strike on the World Central Kitchen (WCK) that killed foreign aid workers besides Palestinians was the pivot point to slightly alter US President Joe Biden’s rhetoric, is nothing more but an ongoing affirmation that Palestinian lives do not matter.

Israel takes aim at aid deliveries entering Gaza - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Israel takes aim at aid deliveries entering Gaza – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Referring to an interview which Biden did with Univision on Tuesday this week, the Times of Israel is constructing a narrative of the US politically opposing Israel. However, there is no indication of opposition to Israel’s genocide in Gaza. The US is merely seeking a ‘humanitarian pause’ – a pause in which Palestinian suffering is temporarily alleviated until the next genocidal round. Biden said he is calling for a six to eight week ceasefire to allow food and medical supplies into Gaza. “I think there’s no excuse to not provide for the medical and the food needs of those people. It should be done now,” Biden is reported to have stated.

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And of course, the immediate context is not Palestinians facing famine, but the airstrike on WCK. “I think it’s outrageous that those … three vehicles were hit by drones and taken out on a highway,” Biden stated. Yes, but what about six months of genocide and using starvation as a weapon of war? How is it that an airstrike on a humanitarian organisation can motivate a change in rhetoric, while the actual consequences of genocide and starvation only prompt promotion of Israel’s security narrative?

Aid workers were killed in Gaza because Israel’s starvation policy is a major component of its genocide. The exploitation of both WCK and Palestinians is increasing. US diplomacy is sending a message to the world that Israel’s starvation of Gaza was not worth considering prior to the attack on WCK. Even though the entire world has seen footage of starving Palestinians, of Palestinians who have died as a result of starvation, of the massacres Israeli forces committed when Palestinians were just trying to get some basic food supplies to feed themselves and their families. Had the strike not happened, the US would not have been considering altering its rhetoric to get Israel to agree to allow a trickle of aid into Gaza.

And yet, airdrops are still happening and the floating pier will still be built, which points towards Israel maintaining its starvation policy in Gaza. Nine countries participated in an airdrop coinciding with the end of Ramadan. The international furore, weak as it is, needs to subside, however, and that is what the Biden administration is seeking. Not a cessation of genocide but the means through which Israel is not viewed through the genocidal lens as it deserves. Public opinion differs, of course. Israel’s security narrative no longer holds sway as it did prior to its genocide in Gaza, but the colonial entity is still supported by the world’s major powers. Hence, linking humanitarian aid delivery with the killing of foreign aid workers is an easier premise for both the US and Israel, but the deception cannot fool anyone, not even those disseminating it.

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