April 16, 2024

Netanyahu says Israel mistakenly killed seven people working for aid group as global condemnation of strikes grows.

Here’s how things stand on Tuesday, April 3, 2024:

Fighting and humanitarian crisis

  • Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel mistakenly killed seven people working for the aid group World Central Kitchen (WCK) in central Gaza. Describing the air strike as “unintended” and “tragic”, he said that “these things happen in wartime”.
  • The strike on the WCK convoy killed citizens of Australia, Poland and the United Kingdom as well as Palestinians and a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.
  • An investigation by Al Jazeera’s Sanad verification agency found that the separate Israeli strikes on three WCK vehicles were intentional.
  • At least 196 humanitarian workers – including more than 175 United Nations staff members – have been killed in Gaza since October, according to the UN, and the Palestinian group Hamas has previously accused Israel of targeting aid distribution sites.
  • The US-based charity said it would pause its work in Gaza, and the United Arab Emirates, which has financed the seaborne food deliveries to Gaza that WCK distributed, said it was putting the shipments on hold pending safety guarantees from Israel and a full investigation.
  • UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese said that she believes the Israeli military “intentionally killed” the seven aid workers in Gaza to scare humanitarian relief donors and ensure the continued starvation of Palestinians.
  • A UN-World Bank report has placed the infrastructure damage in the Gaza Strip at $18.5bn in the first four months of Israel’s assault.

Diplomacy and regional tensions

  • In his strongest criticism yet of Washington’s ally, US President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the attack on the WCK convoy and called on Israel to do more to protect aid workers.
  • Israel’s investigation of the incident “must be swift, it must bring accountability, and its findings must be made public”, Biden said.
  • Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Netanyahu that the UK was appalled by the deaths, which included three Britons, and demanded a thorough and transparent independent investigation as international condemnation of the attack grows.
  • Kenneth Roth, the former executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), called Biden’s criticism of Israel’s failure to protect aid workers in Gaza “empty words”.
  • The family of Zomi Frankcom, the Australian WCK worker killed in Gaza, said she leaves a “legacy of compassion, bravery and love for all those in her orbit”.
  • The State of Palestine has written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres requesting renewed consideration of its application for full UN membership.
  • The White House cancelled a Ramadan iftar meal after several Muslim Americans declined the invitation in protest of Biden’s support for Israel’s war on Gaza, according to two people familiar with the matter.
  • In Israel, thousands of people protested against the government demanding it secure a ceasefire deal and ensure the release of captives being held in Gaza, while also calling for early elections.
  • The US reiterated that it was not involved in an air strike on an Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, that left at least 13 people dead.

Violence in the occupied West Bank

  • Four Israeli police officers have been reported injured in a car ramming attack west of the city of Qalqilya in the occupied West Bank,  Al Jazeera Arabic reported on Wednesday.
  • According to Israeli police, the attackers also tried to stab Israeli forces at a military checkpoint and one of two perpetrators of the car ramming was killed near the town of Kochav Yair.
  • Nightly raids by the Israeli military on Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank continued with soldiers reported to have entered the towns of Azzun and Kafr Qaddum, east of Qalqilya city.

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