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War in the Middle East: Pressure on Israel grows after death of Gaza helpers

War in the Middle East: Pressure on Israel grows after death of Gaza helpers

Israel is increasingly coming under international criticism due to the high number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip. The USA is now making serious accusations against its ally. The news at a glance.

The deaths of foreign aid workers in the Gaza Strip in an Israeli airstrike threatens to further isolate the Jewish state and cause additional tensions with its most important ally, the United States. US President Joe Biden made serious accusations against Israel: “Israel has not done enough to protect the aid workers who are trying to provide the civilian population with urgently needed help.”

This is one of the main reasons why distributing humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip is so difficult, Biden complained in a written statement. Israel’s Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi described the airstrike that killed several employees of the aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK) as a “serious mistake.”

Israel’s military chief: That shouldn’t have happened

“The attack was not carried out with the intention of harming the WCK volunteers. It was a mistake that followed a misidentification – at night during a war in very complex conditions. This should not have happened,” Halevi said in the night in a video statement.

This was the result of a preliminary investigation. An independent committee will thoroughly investigate the incident and conclude it “in the next few days”. The army will learn from the conclusions “and implement them immediately,” said the Israeli chief of staff, expressing his regret.

Biden: This is not an isolated case

“This is not an isolated case,” complained Biden. “This conflict is one of the worst in recent memory in terms of the number of aid workers killed.” Israel has also not done enough to protect the civilian population in Gaza. Seven World Central Kitchen employees were killed in the Israeli airstrike.

Israeli President Izchak Herzog apologized to the aid organization’s founder, José Andrés. Herzog wrote on the X platform (formerly Twitter) that he expressed his deep regret over the “tragic loss of the lives of the WCK employees.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in a video message of a “tragic case of an accidental hit by our armed forces against innocent people in the Gaza Strip.”

“Everyone feels threatened now,” the New York Times quoted Michael Capponi, founder of the aid organization Global Empowerment Mission, as saying. The international community of non-governmental organizations must be “guaranteed that we are safe in our work, which is so important,” Capponi demanded.

In view of the death of its employees, the World Central Kitchen organization wants to immediately stop its operations in the region and soon make decisions “about the future of our work.” Israel risks ending up without a partner to provide and deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, the Times of Israel quoted a US government official as saying.

Helper: Nightmare come true

Tess Ingram, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), told the New York Times that she hopes the deaths of the WCK employees will “make the world realize that what is happening here is not happening in… order is”. “The news of the attack is horrific – a nightmare come true for us,” Soraya Ali, spokeswoman for Save the Children, told the newspaper.

“More than 200 aid workers have been killed in this conflict, making it one of the worst conflicts for aid workers in recent history,” said US National Security Council Communications Director John Kirby.

USA: Israel also responsible for attack in Damascus

According to the US government, Israel is also responsible for the attack on the Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital Damascus. Deputy Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh made this clear at a press conference in Washington. Singh had been asked whether the US was involved in Monday’s airstrike.

To which she replied: “The US has not carried out an attack in Damascus. I would like to refer you to the Israelis to talk to them about their attack.” When asked whether it was the US government’s official assessment that Israel was responsible for the strike, Singh replied in the affirmative: “That is our assessment.”

Two brigadier generals and five other members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) were killed in the attack. The IRGC is Iran’s elite military force and is considered more powerful than Iran’s conventional armed forces. The country strongly condemned the attack and threatened its arch-enemy Israel with retaliation.

When asked, an Israeli military spokesman said they do not comment on reports in foreign media. Meanwhile, thousands of Israelis protested again for the fourth day in a row against the government and for an agreement to release the hostages still held in Gaza.

Clashes in Israel amid renewed protests

According to Israeli media reports, the demonstrators gathered near the parliament building in Jerusalem with torches in hand. They therefore called for new elections again. The mother of a kidnapped man reportedly accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of standing in the way of a hostage deal in a speech. It was said that there were clashes between police officers and demonstrators during the protests.

For weeks, the USA, Qatar and Egypt have been mediating between Israel and the Islamist Hamas in order to achieve a ceasefire and an exchange of hostages kidnapped from Israel for Palestinian prisoners. According to Israeli estimates, almost 100 people kidnapped by the Islamist organization are still alive.

Palestinians seek full UN membership

Meanwhile, Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour asked in a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres to resubmit to the Security Council a 2011 request for full membership for a state of Palestine in the organization. The letter was shared by the Palestinian UN mission on X.

In November 2011, an application for full UN membership failed at the responsible Security Council. The veto power USA and others wanted the Palestinians to make peace with Israel first. In November 2012, the UN granted observer status to the Palestinians despite US opposition. Of the 193 UN member states, 139 have so far recognized Palestine as an independent state. Germany is not one of them.

Source: Stern

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