World Central Kitchen: How Western-vetted aid helps sanitise genocide in Gaza






Beauty Dhlamini



The World Central Kitchen (WCK) followed every Israeli protocol to operate – and not be killed – in Gaza.

The American-vetted and Israeli-approved NGO embedded its team with Western army veterans who closely coordinated with the Israeli military.

Aerial images confirm WCK’s logo was emblazoned across their vehicles. Its founder, celebrity chef Jose Andres, even defended Israeli authorities from criticism in his native Spain.

Yet this made no difference to Israel’s intended strike. Rather, it took the killing of seven foreign aid workers and their Palestinian driver for the world to wake up and see Israel’s genocidal intent.

The WCK massacre on April 1 was deliberate, but it’s not just Israel to blame; the West is also complicit in the murder of aid workers.

Israel’s intentions are obvious. It achieved its objective of deterring aid to Palestinians under fire – the World Central Kitchen has now halted its operations in Gaza.

This has caused a domino effect for other aid groups assisting in Gaza with several ships bringing in aid subsequently turning around following the attack.

International law doesn’t apply when it comes to Israel. The global norm that designates aid workers as non-combatants does not protect them here.

For Israel, this is a warning to everyone, but especially to health and aid workers to stop helping Palestinians.

The West’s ‘humanitarian alibi’ in Gaza
Rather than push for a ceasefire or halt arms used in massacring Palestinians, the West has used vetted instruments of humanitarian aid to sanitise its role in the genocide.

Vetted, because the West has punished Palestinian-friendly organisations – like UNWRA – on flimsy Israeli accusations. They’ve only allowed aid into Gaza through the futile air drops, US and Israeli-vetted sea corridors, and until April 1, WCK itself.

This has allowed these countries to avoid doing the only thing that will help Gaza, namely a permanent ceasefire and Israel opening all land crossings to aid.

But the ongoing genocide and the April 1 massacre have completely eroded the smokescreen of their humanitarian alibi by setting a new threshold for Israeli terror.

This is not the first time Israel has targeted aid workers. Israel has killed more aid workers in the last six months than the total number who have died in all other conflicts in the last 30 years.

As it stands, Gaza is the most dangerous place in the world to be an aid worker and the most dangerous place to be a civilian.

What was new this time was that the aid workers killed by Israel were Western citizens.

How should aid groups respond?
Two weeks on from the World Central Kitchen massacre, the lesson for Western aid groups in Gaza should not be to turn away but to reconsider neutrality.

The Western-vetted framework of ‘neutral’ aid has failed the Palestinian people.

After six months of rampant Israeli assault on Gaza, over 250 international humanitarian and human rights organisations have now called on the West for more meaningful political action in the form of an arms embargo on Israel.

More aid groups, such as MSF, are increasingly using the word genocide to describe Israel’s war on Gaza. Aid groups that have stuck to apoliticalness and neutrality should take note.

The apolitical stance of some Western humanitarianists is problematic as the nature of the crisis is political. Otherwise, NGOs risk ‘humanitarianising’ a genocide, rendering the siege of Gaza palatable to Western audiences.

There needs to be an abandonment of the humanitarian principle of apoliticalness and neutrality because humanitarian aid – or lack of it – still has political consequences.

The rush to provide palatable forms of aid gives the appearance that Western countries have done enough and do not need to summon the resolve necessary to guarantee Palestinians in Gaza, and the occupied territories of Palestine, a safe return to their homeland.

With every ethnic cleansing, war and genocide, the limits of such humanitarianism only become clearer.

Moreover, when it comes to aid, it is Palestinians who should lead the conversation on what they actually need.

Perhaps this is why the West and Israel have done everything they can to undermine UNWRA, the Palestinian-led agency, which most believe is the only entity capable of leading the relief and reconstruction of post-war Gaza.

Some lives do not matter more than others. And if you have the social currency to make a change, now is the time to use it.






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