After suffering severe attacks from Israeli forces resulting in the murder of several UN staffers (who were working in clearly marked vehicles), the organization has suspended its programs which feed half of the entire population of the besieged enclave:
International aid groups lashed out at Israel on Thursday over the war in Gaza, saying that access to civilians in need is poor, relief workers are being hurt and killed, and Israel is woefully neglecting its obligations to Palestinians who are trapped, some among rotting corpses in a nightmarish landscape of deprivation.
The United Nations declared a suspension of its aid operations after one of its drivers was killed and two others were wounded despite driving vehicles bearing United Nations flags and coordinating their movements with the Israeli military.
…The International Committee of the Red Cross reported finding what it called shocking scenes on Wednesday, including four emaciated children next to the bodies of their dead mothers. In a rare and sharply critical statement, it said it believed that “the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded.”
With this decision, the people of Gaza have gone from have a few shreds of bread to nothing. Now, they not only face momentary death from Israeli missiles and shells; if not killed this way, they face death through creeping starvation. And these are people who were on subsistence rations to begin with.
Congratulations, Israel. You have gone from being grisly goons to being stranglers of Gazans. God help me, I know that sentence was severe. And I would normally never write anything so full of icy emotion. But how else can one respond to this? What words can one use that temper our outrage?
But I say, good for the Red Cross. They put the onus squarely on Israel where it belongs. By suspending aid, they’ve put them on notice that when images of the starving bodies start showing up in the pages of the world press (taken by those photographers who don’t themselves get arrested or shot at by the IDF) they will have only themselves (Israel) to blame. Why should the Red Cross have to have workers die doing the work of feeding the starving and collecting the dead? If Israel doesn’t want that happening, then let them collect the bodies and have the responsibility for feeding the Gazans. You can be damn sure that once the IDF looks that option in the eye they’ll back down pronto. They don’t want to go anywhere near having responsibility for feeding Gaza.
We should let the IDF as usual dig its own rhetorical “grave” by quoting the mealy-mouthed PR obscenities it uses to defend its brutalism:
…Israeli officials…were not certain that the source of fire that killed and wounded the United Nations drivers was Israeli.“We do our utmost to avoid hitting civilians, and many times we don’t fire because we see civilians nearby,” said Maj. Avital Leibovich, chief army spokeswoman for the foreign media.
That must be what happened in the case of the UNWRA school when that tank gunner saw all those civilians outside the school but fired anyway killing up to 40. What does the IDF take the world for–utter fools?
Death toll report on unlucky Day 13: 760 Gazan dead and 3,000 injured with up to 40% of the dead women and children. Note that this number does not include deceased males as civilians. Undoubtedly a significant number of dead Gazan males are civilians, which would consequently raise the percentage of civilian dead. One IDF soldier died in fighting today, a total of 10 killed during the entire campaign.
Hamas can bring an end to all the bloodshed with an unconditional surrender.
The picture above is one of the most terrible and painstaking pictures imaginable. Looking at it, I cannot speak, nor think.
Does this mean that we won’t have any independent bodies left to report the truths about what’s happening in Gaza?
Richard Silverstein says
No, the UN resumed aid shipments today after vague Israeli commitments to “better coordinate & communicate” with the Red Cross & UN staff.
Thank God for that. I felt that their absence would be the biggest loss to the Palestinians.