A view of the vehicle where employees from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed in an Israeli airstrike, in Deir Al-Balah, in central Gaza, Palestine, April 2. (Reuters Photo)

Israel’s 2 grave mistakes that put its Western allies in hot water

The latest developments in Gaza have forced many states to reconsider their policies toward Israel’s genocidal attacks, the suffering of the people of Gaza and the resistance of the Gazan people, which will continue to shape not only regional but also global politics.

The latest developments in Gaza have forced many states to reconsider their policies toward Israel’s genocidal attacks, the suffering of the people of Gaza and the resistance of the Gazan people, which will continue to shape not only regional but also global politics.

Israel has decided to withdraw from the southern part of Gaza, mainly as a result of a large number of losses from the Israeli security forces, the ineffective military operations against Hamas fighters and the rising criticism against the Israeli blockade of the Gazan people.

The abstention of the Western governments toward Israel’s genocidal attacks accumulates pressure not only on the streets of the region but also on the streets of Western countries. The more that Western governments support Israel’s genocide, the more pressure will accumulate. Therefore, we have to ask the following questions. Is there a red line for Western governments toward Israel’s atrocities? If there are redlines, then what are these? Will the Western governments take any concrete steps to stop Israel from committing more crimes in Palestine? If yes, then when?

Everybody knows that if the United States and other Western governments do not support Israel, it cannot continue its attacks for more than two weeks. Therefore, the Western governments are held responsible by the international community, including their own people, for the genocide as much as the Israeli government.

Killing of WCK aid staff

Last week, Israel made two grave mistakes in violation of international law that put the Western governments in a more difficult situation. The first grave mistake was targeting the World Central Kitchen (WCK), which created much criticism from Western public opinion. Founded in 2010 by Jose Andres, WCK is a humanitarian international organization trying to feed needy people. The WCK team works with staff based at its headquarters in Washington D.C. and around the world. Their motto is: “Wherever there’s a fight, so that hungry people may eat… we’ll be there.”

The WCK decided to provide 92,000 food boxes (4.7 million meals) to Palestinians in need during the sacred month of Ramadan. The WCK, which believes that feeding people in need is a fundamental act of compassion and solidarity, has sent its teams to Gaza to feed families who have been forced to flee their homes. So far, they have successfully served more than 30 million meals in Gaza. Although the WCK team was granted permission from the Israeli officials, Israeli security forces did not hesitate to hit one of their teams in Gaza. Israel has killed seven members of the organization. Three out of seven volunteers and partners were British, one American, one Polish, one Australian and one Palestinian. In other words, the WCK was/is an American institution and six out of seven members killed were citizens of Western states. No Western government directly and clearly has held Israel responsible for this war crime.

WCK founder and Chief Officer Jose Andres made an interview with ABC News on April 6. Andres has stated their convoy was deliberately attacked by Israel.

Andres has pointed out “It’s been six months of targeting anything that seems to move. This doesn’t seem a war against terror. This doesn’t seem like a war about defending Israel anymore. This really, at this point, seems it’s a war against humanity itself.”

He has stated that he requested Israel to conduct a detailed investigation, not only for the WCK and for the families of the deceased but for every other nongovernmental organization (NGO) that the Israeli security forces have targeted. He went further and blamed U.S. President Joe Biden for not telling his partner that he “cannot be conducting war in such a way,” “cannot be destroying every building, every hospital, every school, every university,” “cannot be destroying just the future for decades of more than 2 million Palestinians, leaving them without water or what is even worse–just shooting them in the middle of the street in the process of trying to have access to food” and “cannot be just giving weapons that they are killing American citizens who are humanitarians.”

Israeli attack on Iran’s Consulate

The second grave mistake was targeting the Iranian diplomatic complex in Damascus, Syria. Israel attacked the Iranian Consulate and Embassy residence and killed 13 people inside the buildings. It was announced that among the dead were Brig. Gen. Mohammed Reza Zahedi, one of the commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, a second general and five more members. It was explained that Iran’s ambassador to Damascus, Hussein Akbari, was not injured in the attack, but more than one diplomat was killed.

Iran announced that it would respond harshly to the attack. According to Iran’s official news agency IRNA, Akbari stated that Israel targeted the consulate building in the Iranian Embassy in Damascus compound with six missiles launched from F-35 warplanes. Ambassador Akbari said Tehran would respond to the attack “quickly, directly and strongly.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and his Syrian counterpart Faisal Meqdad condemned the attack. Both have stated that the attack was/is a clear violation of diplomatic agreements and principles of international law. Hezbollah also made an official statement that the Israeli attack will not go unpunished. On the other hand, Israeli authorities have begun to take precautions against possible attacks. According to Israeli news outlets such as Channel 12, Israel’s diplomatic missions were on alert. It was reported that Israeli security authorities evaluated that Iran could respond to the assassination by attacking Israel’s diplomatic missions around the world.

Targeting a diplomatic mission is only one of the latest attempts of Israel to expand the war to the region. Since the beginning of its attacks, Israel insistently continues its attempts to expand the war to neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Syria and Iran. In parallel with its attacks against Hamas in Gaza, Israel has increased its attacks against Iran and its supported groups.

It is known that Israel and the West are afraid of the Iranian state and its proxies, who carried out violent operations against Israeli and Western targets in different countries. For instance, it is generally believed that Iran targeted the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and its general consulate in 1994. While 29 people died in the first attack, 85 people lost their lives in the second. More than 500 people were wounded after the two attacks combined.

In other words, Iran has the power to inflict huge costs on the West and Israel. It is not yet clear whether Iran will respond on its own, risking a dangerous conflict with Israel and its strongest supporter, the United States, or whether it will “retaliate” through Lebanon-based Hezbollah or Yemen-based Houthis. It seems that both Israel and the Western governments have to ease the situation in Gaza in the near future to alleviate tension in the region.

[Daily Sabah, April 11, 2024]

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