My Turn: Why did Israel target World Central Kitchen worker convoy?

People inspect the site where seven World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

People inspect the site where seven World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, April 2, 2024. AP PHOTO/ABDEL KAREEN HANA

By SHERRILL HOGEN

Published: 04-10-2024 3:59 PM

 

In the war on Gaza, Israel recently targeted three cars carrying humanitarian aid workers of the World Central Kitchen (WCK), killing all seven of them.

There is no excuse. This was clearly intentional. But why? WCK had a special relationship with Israel, which is how they managed to continue feeding people after Israel kicked out the far bigger U.N. agency UNRWA that had efficiently provided food aid, education and health clinics for all of Gaza from 1950 to Oct. 7. Israel even gave WCK permission to build a temporary dike into the Mediterranean to offload shipments of aid.

Odd as that was, given that Israel had barred thousands of truckloads of aid from entering by land, it did provide some small amount of food for starving people, and the workers to distribute the aid once it was inside Gaza.

So, what happened to turn Israel against this effort? The answer lies in Israel’s ultimate goal. I believe the facts on the ground verify that Israel is committing genocide, for what other objective could there be for depriving the entire population of food, water, medicine, fuel and shelter? And, if the goal is genocide, Israel cannot simultaneously be wanting to feed the same people it is trying to kill.

Thus, Israel used the WCK workers as a warning: If you try to feed Gazans, you might get killed. They used this attack to make it clear, while at the same time pretending it was a mistake.

To my Jewish friends and neighbors: I am not writing to attack Jews or Judaism, a religion I admire for its values centering justice. I do, however, condemn the government of Israel and its Zionist policies for betraying Jewish values. And I thank those Jews inside Israel, such as members of Standing Together, Gush Shalom, B’Tselem, ICAHD, and Women for Peace, who dare to support the aspirations of the Palestinian people even while their government wages war against them.

In like manner, I salute American Jews who oppose U.S. aid to Israel when it is used to bomb Gaza and arm the racist, violent settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, If Not Now, and Students for Justice in Palestine have been in the streets continuously since Oct. 7 to say “not in my name.”

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If these activists did not speak out, how would we know the truth? Not from our government. Not from Israel. And not from mainstream media. The truth tellers are journalists on the ground in Palestine, and for this role, Israel also targets them, killing at least 95 since the start of this war. To counter the lies told by the Israeli and U.S. governments, such as saying that the attack on the aid workers was an accident, we have to use alternative news sources, like Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada, Intercept, Foundation for Middle East Peace, and Al Jazeera.

To stand up for justice, we have to know the truth, which is often buried so that warmongers can continue to waste lives and resources. Let us all seek to know the truth and act to end this war.

Sherrill Hogen of Charlemont is an activist for nonviolence, a member of Kairos/Franklin County Justice for Palestine, and a member of United Church of Christ in Ashfield.