Murder of World Central Kitchen employees: the Security Council discussed the need to protect civilians in Gaza

Убийство сотрудников World Central Kitchen: в Совбезе обсудили необходимость защиты гражданских лиц в Газе

Ramesh Rajasingham, OCHA Director of Coordination, speaks to the Security Council via video link. Murder of World Central Kitchen employees: the Security Council discussed the need to protect civilians in Gaza International Law

The killing of seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen was, unfortunately, not an “isolated” incident in the war in the Gaza Strip. Representative of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Ramesh Rajasingham stated this at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday.

Civilians in Gaza have no protection

He noted that in the enclave “there is no protection for civilians” and that Palestinians should be allowed to seek protection elsewhere. Rajasingham stressed that some Palestinians “have already left the Gaza Strip through Egypt” and many are trying to do so. He added that “any persons displaced from the Gaza Strip must be guaranteed the right to voluntary return, as required by international law.”

Rajasingham recalled that more than 220 humanitarian workers were killed in Gaza, 179 of them UN employees. Serious violations must be investigated and suspects brought to justice, the OCHA spokesman stressed.

“UNRWA [the Palestine Refugee Agency – editor’s note], the main pillar of humanitarian aid [in Gaza], was not allowed to operate in northern Gaza. If we are to prevent famine and resolve the unimaginably catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA – and indeed all impartial humanitarian organizations – must have safe, rapid and unhindered access to all civilians in need,” he said, adding that activities UNRWA “there is simply no replacement.”

“Children were driven to death by starvation”

Yanti Soeripto, president of Save the Children USA, said during a Security Council briefing that “children are not little adults.” She recalled that they are especially defenseless in a situation of conflict and therefore are endowed with additional rights.

However, according to Soeripto, the children in Gaza are “being taken hostage.” “Thousands of children were maimed, their limbs torn off by explosive weapons, mutilated by bullets, burned, crushed or stricken with preventable diseases,” she said.

And now, after “several months of systematic and deliberate denial of humanitarian access,” children in the sector are dying of malnutrition and dehydration, “deprived of food and water due to the illegal blockade.”

“They were driven to death by starvation,” she emphasized.

Soeripto’s speech was interrupted for a few seconds by an earthquake that struck New York at around 10:23 am local time. “Your words shake the earth,” Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour commented on the episode.

Palestine: Israel knew who it was aiming at

In his speech, he stated that “the killing of aid workers at World Central Kitchen is not an isolated incident.”

“This is confirmation of what you have known for months. Israel’s targets are those whom the laws of war were created to protect. Israel knew exactly who it was targeting, striking three vehicles in three locations despite the fact that they were identifiable and the delivery of aid had been coordinated with Israel,” he said.

Israel: the World Central Kitchen incident is a “tragic mistake”

Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan, for his part, said: “There is no doubt that this event was not intentional. The standard military procedure was violated, but this was the result of a tragic mistake made due to Hamas’s cynical modus operandi in exploiting civilian infrastructure and vehicles.”

“Israel will learn from this investigation and will make every effort to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again,” he said.


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