Creating new perspectives since 2009

Weaponising aid beyond starvation

June 13, 2024 at 3:00 pm

Protesters hold banners reading ”children of Gaza, bombed, starving, homeless” as people gather to stage demonstration to show solidarity with Palestinians in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC, United States on May 28, 2024 [Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images]

Israel’s raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp killed 274 Palestinians and wounded 700 more in order to free four healthy-looking Israeli hostages. The discrepancy was stark. However, what stands out in the murderous Israeli operation is the weaponising of aid to provide cover for the massacre. Denied by both the US and Israel, reports of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) using the American-built “humanitarian” floating pier and an aid truck to kill more Palestinians under the guise of rescuing the Israeli hostages must be exposed in the genocidal narrative that the occupation state continues to weave daily.

The Palestinian Red Cross Society (PRCS) released a statement on Monday, noting that, “The occupation forces deceived people by disguising themselves under the cover of aid that civilians desperately need amid their suffering from severe food insecurity.”

UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese said in a post on X: “This is ‘humanitarian camouflage’ at another level,” while noting that Israel was possibly aided by foreign soldiers to commit this massacre. “Israel could have freed all hostages, alive and intact, 8 months ago when the first ceasefire and hostage exchange was put on the table,” Albanese continued. “This is genocidal intent turned into action. Crystal clear.”

And it takes a genocidal government to celebrate the mass slaughter in Nuseirat.

“Only Israel’s enemies complained about the casualties of Hamas terrorist and their accomplices,” gloated Foreign Minister Israel Katz.

OPINION: Diamonds and coal dust: Slaughter at Nuseirat

Meanwhile, in France, US President Joe Biden praised “the safe rescue of four hostages that were returned to their families in Israel.” Not a word about Israel’s massacre of Palestinians which wiped out whole families. Killing 274 Palestinians was less of an issue than rescuing four hostages kept safe during Israel’s relentless destruction of Gaza since last October. And now that the starvation of Palestinians has become a normalised genocidal strategy, Israel is building upon its previous atrocities to kill more of them in a single operation, by not only weaponising aid, but also using the vehicles and infrastructure used to transport aid.

World leaders decry Israel’s atrocities while investing in even more diplomacy and military aid to aid and abet Israel’s genocide, because Palestinians do not matter in the grand scheme of protecting colonial interests, even when Israel is clearly manipulating the humanitarian paradigm and using it as a genocidal weapon. Palestinians are now caught in the cross hairs of humanitarian aid; between coercion to seek aid as a result of deprivation, and such deprivation being used by Israel to commit genocide. The international community is witnessing the atrocities it paved the way for and silence still prevails, because the hostage narrative disseminated by Israel is more compelling than the fact that over 40,000 Palestinians have been killed by the rogue state, with the entire population of Gaza forcibly displaced to facilitate genocide.

Ever since the start of the ongoing Nakba in 1948, Palestinians have been forced into the humanitarian paradigm to accommodate settler-colonial interests. These interests have now appropriated the humanitarian paradigm, to the point that aid is equivalent to murder. Can the UN truly claim not to have foreseen the genocidal intent of a European colonial ideology that built its own settler entity upon indigenous land, bodies and blood? Why can’t the UN see that Israel is creating new definitions of humanitarian aid that befit genocide and have nothing to do with relieving desperate poverty and food insecurity?

READ: Gaza: When 120 Palestinians were killed by Israel, most were from one family

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.