Israel dismisses two military officers over World Central Kitchen attack News
Israel dismisses two military officers over World Central Kitchen attack

According to a report from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Friday, two officers, a reserve colonel (the brigade chief of staff) and an active commander (the brigade fire support commander), are to be dismissed due to Israel’s “accidental” attack on seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) international aid workers.

Several other top commanders (the brigade commander, the 162nd Division commander and the commander of the Southern Command) will be formally censured. The findings of the report were presented to the WCK alongside international ambassadors and journalists.

The report, carried out by the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Fact-Finding and Assessment Mechanism and General Yoav Har-Even, acknowledges “serious errors… of judgment… [and] decision-making,” “violations of normal operating procedures,” misidentification of suspects and vehicles, poor coordination, and insufficient evidence. The findings “indicate that the incident should not have occurred” and that it was a “grave mistake.”

At the press briefing, senior Israeli officials said the soldiers responsible for the drones “mistakenly” believed they saw at least two gunmen, who they “assumed” were “Hamas terrorists,” get into the vehicles in the convoy that was attacked. This caused them to fire, in a “serious violation” of orders and standard operating procedures. They “were convinced that they were targeting armed Hamas operatives, not WCK employees.” The aid workers (3 of whom were British, one Canadian, one Polish, one Australian and one Palestinian) were killed in a drone attack on their three cars after overseeing 300 tonnes of food aid being unloaded from a ship from Cyprus. The route had been pre-approved by the Israeli military, but this was not communicated to the drone team, in what the General called “the biggest mistake.”

Har-Even, a retired general leading the internal investigation, said: “We now know that it was a mistake. It wasn’t a weapon. It may have been a bag.” The report expresses “deep sorrow for the loss,” sending condolences to the victims’ families and the WCK organization.

Following this initial report, the World Central Kitchen demanded “an independent investigation,” saying the Israeli army “cannot credibly investigate its own failure in Gaza.” It did, however, call the investigation and disciplinary actions “important steps forward.”

The leaders of the countries whose citizens were lost have each responded to the tragedy. The UK has seen outrage from both lawyers and politicians. Lawyers in Poland have opened a homicide investigation into the attack. The US has also condemned the attack, with President Biden calling for an immediate ceasefire and the National Security Council currently reviewing the report.

The death toll of humanitarians has now been found to be approximately 200, making Gaza the most dangerous place in the world for aid workers. The UN Human Rights Office said Friday that humanitarian aid and other goods must be allowed to flood into Gaza and that Israel, “as the occupying power,” must ensure that the basic needs of the Gaza population are met. Furthermore, they said that “Attacking people or objects involved in humanitarian assistance may amount to a war crime.”