News & Commentary

Biden admin calls World Central Kitchen murders a ‘mistake,’ asks Israel to investigate itself

Media outlets like Reuters and the New York Times have followed suit, characterizing Israel’s claim that it was a "mistake" as an "admission"

In the wake of Israel’s murder of seven humanitarian aid workers from World Central Kitchen earlier this week — including 33-year-old American Jacob Flickinger — the Biden administration is doing what it’s done routinely since October: propaganda and subterfuge on behalf of Israel.

They’re doing this via a series of scripted talking points, ostensibly meant to “criticize” the Israeli regime, but actually meant to absolve them of the bulk of what they stand accused of—and what the evidence points to (i.e., intentionally targeting the convoy, which was delivering desperately-needed food to the starving population, as part of their systematic dismantling of the humanitarian aid infrastructure and overall genocide against the Palestinians).

As part of this “limited hangout,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken admitted in a press conference on Tuesday that “a record number of humanitarian workers” have been killed “in this particular conflict” (in Gaza).

However, his response to this atrocity was the same as its been for so many others before it: ask the genocidal Israeli regime to investigate itself, while the US continues to send them billions of dollars worth of bombs and fighter jets:

During a White House press briefing the same day, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby took things even further.

He, too, talked about how Israel should investigate themselves, but he also said that there is “no evidence” of intentionality, and that the Israelis have already “admitted” that this was a “mistake”:

This framing – that Israel’s assertion that this was a “mistake” is an “admission” – seemed calculated. You “admit” to things that are true. An “assertion” or “claim,” on the other hand, can be true or false.

If there was any doubt, that was all but removed on Wednesday, when State Department spokesman Matthew Miller took to the podium for a presser where over half of the questions were about Israel bombing the World Central Kitchen convoy.

Despite saying over and over that the administration needs to wait for Israel to investigate their own murders before drawing a conclusions about what happened, he – like Kirby – simultaneously called it a “mistake.”

He did this not once, not twice, not three times, but at least seven times, even after being called out on it by one of the reporters (Kylie Atwood):

If it’s not obvious enough from that video, here are some more of Miller’s broken record talking points about the IDF murdering these aid workers as Gaza starves:

  • Israel needs to “do better”
  • Insufficient “coordination”
  • Should have “set up the right channels”
  • “Bureaucratic obstacles”

Once again this is carefully crafted “limited hangout” language, whereby he “criticizes” Israel in way that frames it all as a “mistake” or mismanagement:

Reuters is now following the US and Israeli governments’ lead, reporting that the Israeli military has “acknowledged” that its murderous strikes on the convoy were a “mistake”:

Again: Israel is claiming this (or “saying” it, if you want to be more neutral). You “acknowledge” something that’s true.

Similarly, the title of the article is: “Israel plans to adjust Gaza war tactics after killing of aid workers”:

This is another claim. An assertion. Them saying it doesn’t mean it’s really their “plan.” This government lies all the time and is committing genocide.

The New York Times likewise wrote that Israel’s leaders were “forced to admit to a string of lethal mistakes and misjudgments.”

World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés says that the convoy was “systematically” targeted “car by car” by the Israeli military, and the organization put out a statement saying in part (bold added):

The WCK team was traveling in a deconflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle.

Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.

“All three vehicles were carrying civilians; they were marked as WCK vehicles; and their movements were in full compliance with Israeli authorities, who were aware of their itinerary, route, and humanitarian mission,” the charity said in a follow-up statement.

A visual investigation by ABC News published on Thursday corroborated previous reporting by others that that the convoy was “hit by multipe strikes.”

Analyzing ground landmarks in Gaza and satellite imagery, the ABC New Visual Verification team placed the three WCK vehicles, including two armored cars, spread out in different locations over around 1.5 miles, suggesting that the vehicles were hit by at least three separate strikes.

From the position of the cars, the convoy appeared to be traveling south on a key route for humanitarian aid. Photos of one of the vehicles show it with a gaping hole in the roof that was marked with the WCK logo. That vehicle was photographed a half-mile south of the first vehicle, and the third car was found another mile to the south.

As a result of these murders, World Central Kitchen has had to suspend operations of their 60+ community kitchens in Gaza. Likewise for American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), who have provided an estimated 150,000 meals per day to the Strip since October.

A cargo ship carrying 240 tons of food destined for Gaza also had to return to Cyprus.

“The undelivered aid was part of a consignment of about 340 tonnes sent to Gaza from Cyprus,” reports The Guardian. “The aid workers killed in Gaza had just finished unloading 100 tonnes when they were killed.”

“The pause in the work of WCK and other aid groups comes as experts warn that the prospect of famine is increasing rapidly. Famine is imminent in the north of Gaza and projected to occur before May, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).”

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