BLOG Haaretz: Weak discipline and arbitrariness of Israeli officers are the root cause of deadly attack on aid workers

The war between Israel and Hamas - 180th day

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An Israeli soldier sits on a tank near the border between Israel and Gaza on the Israeli side, Photo: Reuters
An Israeli soldier sits on a tank near the border between Israel and Gaza on the Israeli side, Photo: Reuters
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Ažurirano: 03.04.2024. 22:05h
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18: 52h

The destruction of Al Shifa hospital in Gaza will require more medical evacuations and could lead to more deaths if they are not carried out soon, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

Israeli forces, which left a hospital in Gaza on Monday after a two-week operation, detained hundreds of suspected Palestinian militants and left a number of destroyed buildings in their wake.

"The number of people needing medical evacuation will increase, and evacuations are already slow," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebrejesus.

"People will die because they won't be able to get help even from Shifa, or because of the slow evacuation," Gebrejesus said.

Israel says they killed hundreds of Hamas fighters in the hospital, which the US and the EU have designated as a terrorist organization. Hamas and medical personnel deny that fighters were there.

"The evacuation process must be accelerated," said the head of the WHO. "Otherwise we're going to lose a lot of people. We're going to lose a lot of lives."

Richard Piperkorn, the WHO representative for the West Bank and Gaza, said that the destruction of Al Shifa hospital would leave "thousands of people without health care."

He said patients would somehow have to be moved to other health facilities in the north of the war-torn Palestinian enclave, which are themselves struggling to remain functional.

"We have to admit that absolutely insufficient protection is provided in Gaza," he said. "It's a health care system on its knees as we've often said... It's insufficient. It's incomplete."

Only ten of Gaza's 36 hospitals can still function, even partially, the WHO chief said.

Al-Shifa, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip before the war with 750 beds and numerous operating rooms, was one of the few health facilities partially functioning in northern Gaza before the attack.

The Israeli military launched an offensive in Gaza after Hamas gunmen killed around 7 people in southern Israel on October 1.200 and took 253 hostages. Since then, attacks on Gaza have continued, killing over 32.975 people, according to the Hamas-led health ministry.

(Radio Free Europe)

16: 10h

Weak discipline and arbitrariness of Israeli officers on the ground are the main cause of the deadly attack on humanitarian workers in the Gaza Strip, writes the Israeli newspaper Haaretz today, citing military sources.

The reason, according to the paper, was not any problems in the coordination of the Israeli army with the humanitarian organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), whose seven activists were killed in an Israeli airstrike, dpa reports.

Activists who ran a soup kitchen in Gaza were killed, namely an Australian citizen, a Pole, a Briton, residents of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and a man with dual American and Canadian citizenship.

Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, Herzi Halevi, described the attack as a grave mistake, which should not have happened. Haaretz writes that the top of the army knows exactly the reasons, since in Gaza "everyone does what they want" on the ground.

Military regulations, according to the newspaper, stipulate that any engagement against sensitive targets must have the approval of high-ranking military officials, sometimes even the General Staff itself. But in the war in the Gaza Strip, "each commander sets his own goals" and has his own interpretation of commands. In this case, it is not clear whether permission for the airstrike was sought from the high command.

According to Haaretz, the reason was the alleged identification and suspicion that there was a Palestinian terrorist in the WCK convoy. An Israeli unit allegedly identified an armed man before the convoy entered the warehouse, the newspaper reports, citing unnamed Defense Ministry officials.

When the convoy of three vehicles left the hall, the man was no longer in it. Nevertheless, a drone attack on one of the vehicles was ordered. Several passengers left the affected vehicle and got into the other two. They continued driving, and even informed the relevant Israeli authorities of what had happened and that they had been attacked.

A few seconds later, another vehicle was hit by a rocket, and the third one exploded when they tried to transfer the wounded into the third vehicle, writes Haaretz.

(Beta)

16: 08h

The media house Al Jazeera announced that its investigation showed that the Israeli attacks on aid workers were deliberate.

Based on information from available sources, testimonies and pictures from the scene, a chronological sequence of events was created.

The investigation, conducted by Al Jazeera, revealed that the Israeli attacks, in which seven people were killed in the World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid convoy in Deir al-Balah, were intentional.

In a statement, World Central Kitchen said that their workers were leaving the warehouse after delivering 100 tons of food aid and that, despite coordinating the movement with the Israeli army, the convoy was hit.

Six foreign citizens and one Palestinian were among those killed. The agency suspended operations after the attack.

11: 11h

Poland is demanding compensation from Israel for the families of seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) humanitarians who were killed in an attack by the Israeli army in Gaza, and the speaker of the parliament, Shimon Holownja, has asked that it be investigated and punished as a war crime.

"Poland should not only seek compensation for the family of a Pole who died in an attack on a humanitarian convoy, but also prosecute a war crime. It is clear that Israelis have the right to defend themselves and their territory against Hamas terrorists, but no one has the right to kill civilians who carry help," said the president of the lower house of the Polish parliament.

Holovnja called the reaction of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfortunate, who said that "such things happen in war", and the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, said today that the Israeli Prime Minister, as well as the ambassador in Warsaw, who rejected criticism of the attack as anti-Semitic , put the solidarity of Poles with Israel to a severe test.

"Today you are putting solidarity to the test. The tragic attack on volunteers and your reactions cause understandable anger," Polish Prime Minister Tusk said to the Prime Minister and Ambassador of Israel on Platform X.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Radoslav Sikorski, yesterday in a conversation with the Israeli ambassador in Warsaw and the head of Israeli diplomacy, expressed his indignation and condemned the attack on the convoy and the death of the Polish volunteer Damian Sobul, and demanded an independent investigation and compensation for the families of the killed humanitarians.

The Polish prosecutor's office also started a criminal investigation, and Šikorski requested that the Israeli side fully cooperate in it.

"If it is true that the convoy was targeted because there was allegedly a terrorist there and because of this the lives of civilians were sacrificed, I do not know the system in which it could find justification. If that was the case, Israel must apologize and pay compensation to the families of the victims ", Šikorski told public Polish radio today.

Šikorski told Israel's ambassador in Warsaw that it was time to apologize and repent, not to stir up passions.

"Mr. Ambassador should refrain from emotions. I would advise him to exercise more restraint. Now is the time to apologize," Šikorski said.

The message of the Israeli ambassador in Warsaw, Yakov Livin, to the criticism of the attack on the convoy that "anti-Semites always remain anti-Semitic" caused fierce indignation in Poland, although the ambassador reacted directly to the leader of the radical nationalists from the Confederation Party, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm Krzysztof Bosak and his condemnation of the attack on the convoy that it is a war crime.

(Beta)

10: 59h

Israel's army chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, said today that the attack that killed seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip was the result of "misidentification" in complex conditions.

Halevi announced the results of a preliminary investigation into what he described as a "serious mistake."

"It was a mistake that followed a misidentification - at night during the war in very complex conditions. It should not have happened," he said, but gave no further details.

He said an independent body would carry out a "thorough investigation" which would be completed in the coming days, and that the army appreciated the "important work" of the World Central Kitchen charity.

"We see great importance in continuing to deliver humanitarian aid and will continue to work to facilitate this vital effort," he said.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has confirmed that Australian, British and Polish citizens, as well as Palestinians and a person with US and Canadian citizenship, were killed in the attack on the convoy of the humanitarian organization, writes Reuters.

The organization announced that the humanitarians were traveling in two armored cars with the logo of the charity organization and in another vehicle. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday an investigation into the Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip that killed seven workers of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity, which he called "unintended and tragic".

(Beta)

10: 56h

At least 32.975 Palestinians have been killed and 75.577 injured in the Israeli military offensive on Gaza since October 7, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

In the last 24 hours, around 59 Palestinians were killed and 83 were injured, the ministry added, as reported by Reuters.

09: 17h

The White House said it was "outraged" by the attack in the Gaza Strip that killed seven aid workers.

Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that workers from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid organization were killed in a "tragic incident in an accidental strike", while Israel's President, Isaac Herzog, apologized for the airstrike.

The World Central Kitchen, founded by the famous Spanish chef, Jose Andres, is involved in the delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip, which has been arriving by ship from Cyprus to the war zone since March.

US President Joseph Biden called Andres and told him he would make it clear to Israel that aid workers must be protected, White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre said.

She said Biden called Andres to say he was "heartbroken by the news of the airstrike that killed seven aid workers, and to express and share his deepest condolences."

"We were outraged when we learned (of the attack)," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said later at a briefing.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also spoke with the founder of the World Central Kitchen to express his "deep sorrow and sincere apology for the tragic loss of life."

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that "unfortunately, there was a tragic incident in an unintentional strike by our forces on innocent people in the Gaza Strip."

"We will do everything to prevent something like that from happening again," Netanyahu said.

The Gaza media office run by Hamas, which the US and European Union consider a terrorist organization, also blamed Israel for the attack.

World Central Kitchen said its workers from Poland, Australia, Ireland and the UK were killed in an attack by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) while supporting humanitarian food delivery efforts in Gaza.

"This is a tragedy. Aid workers and civilians should never be targeted," the humanitarian organization wrote on the X network.

The US is awaiting the results of Israel's investigation into the killings, Kirby said, adding that he expects it to be completed within days, not Sunday.

When asked if Washington accepted Netanyahu's explanation that the incident was accidental, Kirby said he would wait for the findings.

The Israeli attack targeted a clearly marked convoy, after the aid organization said it had coordinated with the Israeli army to avoid any danger.

"Your question assumes at this early stage that it was a deliberate attack, that they knew exactly what they were attacking, that they attacked humanitarian workers and that they did it on purpose - and there is no evidence for that," he said.

The US State Department has so far found no indication that Israel violated international humanitarian law during the Gaza offensive, Kirby added.

Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip began after October 7, when members of Hamas in the south of Israel, according to Israeli data, killed 1.200 people and took 253 hostages.

Since then, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, at least 32.845 Palestinians have been killed and 75.392 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza.

(Radio Free Europe)

09: 10h

The war between Israel and Hamas has entered its 180th day.

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