The US-Israeli murder of World Central Kitchen aid workers 

On Monday night, the Israel Defense Forces killed seven international aid workers from World Central Kitchen in Gaza in a series of three airstrikes on their vehicle convoy. The aid workers were citizens of the United States/Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland and Palestine.

The attacks used precision airborne munitions that directly targeted the roofs of the vehicles, which displayed large logos clearly identifying their occupants as humanitarian workers.

A man displays blood-stained British, Polish, and Australian passports after an Israeli airstrike, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, April 1, 2024. World Central Kitchen workers who were killed in the Israeli airstrike included three British citizens, Polish and Australia nationals, a Canadian-American dual national and a Palestinian. [AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana]

Spokesmen for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden claimed, absurdly, that the three airstrikes were the result of a “mistake” and “misidentification.” These claims, echoed in the media, have fallen apart in the face of mounting evidence that the strikes were carefully targeted.

In an interview with Reuters, restauranteur José Andrés, the founder of World Central Kitchen, said the workers were targeted “systematically, car by car.” Andrés rejected the claims by the United States and Israel that the strikes were unintentional, saying, “categorically no.”

The purpose of this attack, as explained by Francesca Albanese, the United Nations special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, was to make it “so that donors would pull out, and civilians in Gaza could continue to be starved quietly.”

Doctors Without Borders declared in a statement:

We do not accept the narrative of regrettable incidents. … We do not accept it because what has happened to World Central Kitchen and MSF’s convoys and shelters is part of the same pattern of deliberate attacks on humanitarians, health workers, journalists, U.N. personnel, schools, and homes.

These attacks are only the latest in a series of Israeli murders of aid workers, with nearly 200 killed so far. Additionally, Israel has systematically attacked starving people as they attempt to receive food at food distribution centers in a series of “flour massacres.”

After six months of Israeli blockade, the entire population of Gaza faces hunger, and the United Nations and World Bank have warned that famine is imminent. Dozens of children have already died from malnutrition, and humanitarian organizations have warned that deaths from famine will soon eclipse the number killed by bombs.

The response of the Biden administration to the murder of the aid workers was to defend Israel, deny the murders are a violation of international law and reject any international investigation into the massacre.

Asked Wednesday whether there were “any changes to the president’s policy toward Israel and Gaza as a result of yesterday’s strike,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre declared, “Nothing has changed.”

In an earlier statement the same day, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby asserted, “We make no bones about the fact that Israel is going to continue to have American support for the fight that they’re in to eliminate the threat from Hamas.”

On Thursday, Biden held a half-hour conversation with Netanyahu devoted to dealing with the diplomatic fallout from the massacre. The public readout of the call reported that Biden “made clear the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers.”

These statements were immediately proclaimed as a major policy change by the US media. But in a subsequent press briefing, White House officials stressed, again, that nothing had changed. John Kirby said Biden “made it very clear to the prime minister that the United States’ support for Israel’s ability to defend itself from a range of threats, not just Hamas, remains ironclad.” Asked if the call was an “ultimatum,” Karine Jean-Pierre said, “No.”

In other words, Biden’s “demands” were intended to cover up the US policy of funding, arming and defending the Israeli genocide in Gaza, and ensuring that there is no accountability for the military leaders and civilian policymakers responsible for the murder of the aid workers.

The US supports the criminal actions of the Netanyahu regime because the Gaza genocide is part of a systematic US-Israeli military campaign throughout the Middle East aimed at dismantling all resistance to imperialist domination of the region.

Since October 7, the United States has provided over 100 separate arms shipments to Israel, all sized to fall below the threshold necessary for congressional authorization and approval. Last week, the US responded to Israel’s massacre of over 400 people at Al-Shifa Hospital by sending another batch of 1,800 2,000-pound bombs to Israel. On Monday, the day Israel massacred the World Central Kitchen aid workers, the Biden administration approved the transfer of thousands more bombs.

The Gaza genocide, now six months old, marks a major milestone in the criminalization of imperialist foreign policy, in which systematic mass murder, starvation and genocide are being normalized as routinely used methods.

The same week as Israel murdered the World Central Kitchen aid workers, a group of Israeli and Palestinian journalists revealed the existence of “Lavender,” an artificial intelligence system used by the Israel Defense Forces to select targets for bombings that have led to the deaths of thousands of people since October 7.

The system has been used to mark thousands of Gazans as targets for extrajudicial murders. It detects when the targeted victims are at home with their families, then generates orders for the Israeli air force to bomb them, in the process blasting their families and bystanders. Each strike can permissibly kill up to 20 bystanders for every one individual targeted, and in some cases, the killing of up to 100 bystanders is authorized for a selected target.

For half a century, actions by the state of Israel have been used by Washington as a precedent for US policy. The most significant example is the doctrine of “targeted killings,” or state-organized assassinations, which was developed by Israel before being adopted by the United States, including against its own citizens.

What Israel is doing against the population of Gaza today, its imperialist backers will do in the near future. The actions of the Zionist regime in the current genocide will set a precedent for the use of high-tech weapons, including those imploying artificial intelligence, to commit war crimes on a massive scale, coupled with mass starvation against rebellious urban populations.

The eruption of war, genocide and political repression are not an aberration. Imperialism, as Lenin noted, is not merely a policy, but rather a specific historical stage of capitalist development. Opposition to imperialism is, therefore, a revolutionary question, aimed not at pressuring a government, but at replacing capitalism with socialism.

All efforts to oppose the Gaza genocide by appealing to the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and individual capitalist governments have failed. It is not a matter of appealing to the capitalist governments responsible for these crimes to change course, but rather turning to the working class and fusing the struggle against war with the developing struggles of workers all over the world against inequality and exploitation.