Aid workers should never targeted, say UN Security Council members

Aid workers should never targeted, say UN Security Council members
Aid workers should never targeted, say UN Security Council members

Africa-Press – Tanzania. Some UN Security Council members on Friday voiced concern over the killing of seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli attack earlier this week killed three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national, a US-Canadian dual citizen, and a Palestinian. Subsequently, Israel called it “a mistake,” while the aid organization believed that it was not an accident, but systematically aimed at the convoy.

Algeria’s Ambassador to the UN Amar Benjama told the Council meeting that the “crime perpetrated against the WCK is neither surprising nor an exception”, adding it is “just a new chapter in the book of crimes” committed so far.

“Humanitarian workers cannot be asked to serve at the peril of their lives,” Benjama said, and stressed the international community and the Council cannot “remain inert as life drains” from Gaza. “In the name of humanity, we must act now,” he added.

China’s ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun said Beijing asked the Israeli authorities to conduct an in “depth investigation” so as to not let the perpetrators go unpunished.

Stressing that attacks on humanitarian workers are “shocking” and ending the violence is essential, he said Israel must abide by the international humanitarian law.

‘Humanitarian personnel must be protected’

Nicholas de Riviere, the Ambassador of France, condemned the Israeli strike and called on the Israeli authorities to conduct a “thorough” investigation and not let those responsible go unpunished.

“The protection of humanitarian aid workers must be upheld in all circumstances,” de Riviere added.

US representative John Kelley said an “incident like this should have never happened and should never happen again.”

“Humanitarian personnel must be protected,” Kelley stressed.

Israel must announce and implement a series of steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering and the safety of aid workers, Kelly said, adding: “US policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by Israel’s immediate action on these steps.”

Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour said the killing of WCK aid workers is “not an isolated incident,” but “confirmation of what you all knew, for months now: Israel is targeting those that the laws of war were established to protect.”

Stressing that Israel has destroyed homes, killed entire families, displaced the entire population, demolished hospitals, Mansour said: “It is killing those who heal, those who rescue, those who provide aid and relief, those who feed, those who report.”

Mansour added that Israel has ignored the Council’s demand for an immediate cease-fire and the International Court of Justice’s order to prevent genocide.

“The problem is that Israel can violate these rules, demands and orders in full impunity,” he warned.

‘Swift, full and transparent investigation’

Also attending the meeting, Poland’s ambassador to the UN Krzysztof Szczerski said it is important to stress that the humanitarian help cannot be provided without safe access and safe working conditions for the UN humanitarian agencies and international humanitarian organizations.

“Humanitarian workers must be protected at all times in light of international law,” Szczerski said, adding international law must be upheld, and resolutions adopted by Council regarding humanitarian situation in Gaza must be respected.

“In this vein, we call on Israel to conduct a swift, full and transparent investigation that hold those responsible fully to account,” he added.

Australian ambassador to the UN James Larsen said the death of any aid worker in such circumstances is “outrageous, unacceptable and creates further dangers for civilian populations.”

“Wartime does not obviate responsibility for observing international law. We have made clear to the (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu government that we expect a thorough, genuine and transparent investigation and full accountability,” he added.

Israel’s Ambassador Gilad Erdan, for his part, expressed his delegation’s sorrow over the “tragic” incident that claimed the lives of WCK staff.

“This was a tragic mistake. Israel never targets civilians deliberately,” he claimed.

Flouting the International Court of Justice provisional ruling, Israel continues its onslaught on the Gaza Strip where at least 33,091 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children, and 75,750 injured since Oct. 7, 2023, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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