Israel claims responsibility for the deaths of aid workers in Gaza. Several organizations have announced the end of their aid.

Children look at the burned car of the humanitarian organization World Central Kitchen

People in the Gaza Strip inspect vehicles of the humanitarian organization WCK that were destroyed during a bombardment on Tuesday. Photo: Abdel Kareem Hana/ap

JERUSALEM taz | Following the attack on an aid convoy in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military has taken unusually clear responsibility for the deaths of seven aid workers. “This should not have happened,” army chief Herzi Halevi said Wednesday, apologizing for the “serious mistake.” The admission of guilt differs from previous reactions by the Israeli military leadership, which has largely rejected criticism of its actions and justified them with the fight against Hamas.

Joe Biden, president of the United States

“This is not an isolated case”

According to Halevi, the drone attack was not directed at the convoy of the humanitarian organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), but was due to a “confusion.” The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported on Tuesday, citing sources within the Israel Defense Forces, that the attack was “the result of a lack of discipline on the part of the commanders on the ground.” The commanders and armed forces involved acted against orders. The military did not comment when asked.

Since the start of the war, aid organizations and human rights groups have repeatedly complained that the military is also targeting aid workers, journalists and other people and institutions protected by international law.

“This is not an isolated case,” criticized US President Joe Biden. “This conflict is one of the worst in recent memory in terms of the number of aid workers killed.” Israel is not doing enough to protect civilians.

Ships carrying relief supplies return

Israeli President Izchak Herzog assured the founder of the WCK aid organization, José Andrés, by phone that a thorough investigation would be carried out and apologized for the “tragic loss of life of WCK employees,” he said in a statement.

The deadly attack is likely to complicate Israeli leaders' plans to stop distributing humanitarian aid through UNRWA, the largest aid organization with 13,000 employees. Accuses Israel of having ties to Hamas. Following WCK, American aid organizations Anera and Project Hope also announced that they would temporarily suspend their work in Gaza. Chaled Elgindy, of the US think tank Middle East Institute, told the BBC: “There is now virtually no one left who can distribute the small amount of aid that is still coming.”

According to the Cypriot Foreign Ministry, several ships carrying more than 200 tons of aid for the starving population of Gaza are returning to Cyprus. According to UN agencies, more than 1 million people in the coastal strip are affected by the worst levels of food insecurity.

In response to the attack, Israel announced the establishment of a joint situation center with international organizations to coordinate humanitarian assistance. José Andés, however, requested it in an article in the Israeli newspaper on Wednesday. Jedi'ot Achronot, Israel must establish land aid routes. “This war cannot be won by starving an entire population,” Andrés wrote.

The UN Security Council meets over the attack on the Iranian embassy

The country is also angering the international community over the case of the alleged Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy compound in Syria. At Russia's request, the UN Security Council in New York will take up the issue on Tuesday.

Following the incident, Iran's permanent mission to the United Nations spoke of a “flagrant violation of the UN Charter, international law and the fundamental principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular institutions.”

The airstrike on the Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Monday killed two brigadier generals and five other members of the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Iran's elite military force.

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