“Nothing has changed”: White House backs Israel after murder of foreign aid workers

The Biden administration doubled down on its total support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza Wednesday after Israeli forces systematically and deliberately murdered seven foreign aid workers from World Central Kitchen on Monday.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, April 3, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Asked 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, “[n]othing has changed.”

In an earlier statement Monday, 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.”

He added, “No country should have to live next door to a threat that is truly genocidal, as Hamas has been, ...” that Israel has “every right and responsibility to their people to eliminate that threat after the 7th of October. And so, that support for Israel continues.”

These comments come as it becomes increasingly undeniable that the airstrike that killed the aid workers Monday was deliberate, calculated and intentional.

In an interview with Reuters, restaurateur José Andrés, the founder of World Central Kitchen, said the workers were targeted “systematically, car by car.”

Andrés said that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had been positively informed about the group’s movements. “This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” he explained.

He continued, “This was over a 1.5, 1.8 kilometers, with a very defined humanitarian convoy that had signs in the top, in the roof, a very colorful logo that we are obviously very proud of.” He added that it is “very clear who we are and what we do.

“They were targeting us in a deconflicting zone, in an area controlled by IDF. They [were] knowing that it was our teams moving on that road ... with three cars,” he said.

Andrés rejected the claims by the US that the strikes were unintentional, saying, “[c]ategorically no.” He added, “Even if we were not in coordination with the (Israel Defense Forces), no democratic country and no military can be targeting civilians and humanitarians.”

The White House’s declarations that it will continue to unconditionally back Israel’s offensive in Gaza no matter the scale of its war crimes shows the real content of the declaration Tuesday by US President Joe Biden that he is “outraged” over the killing. Such statements are meant merely to cover up the fact that the genocide is taking place with the full approval of the United States.

“What they’re telling Israel is, this is just rhetoric. These concerns are purely rhetorical,” Jeremy Konyndyk, president of Refugees International, told the New York Times. “That’s how Netanyahu is treating this. He’s treating this as something he can ignore safely, because he’s got six months of data points to show he and the Israeli military can get away with ignoring what the president is telling them with no recourse.”

In a statement of the obvious, one White House advisor told the Times, “Israel investigating itself is not going to result in any meaningful consequences for the IDF soldiers involved.”

On Tuesday, Francesca Albanese, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, warned that Israel’s murder of the aid workers was aimed at further slowing the entry of food into Gaza in order to more rapidly starve the population.

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“Knowing how Israel operates, my assessment is that Israeli forces intentionally killed #WCK workers so that donors would pull out, and civilians in Gaza could continue to be starved quietly,” Albanese wrote.

This is exactly what is happening. On Wednesday, the United Nations announced that it had suspended the movements of its personnel in Gaza at night due to safety concerns, after the UN was banned from making food deliveries to Northern Gaza.

Following the murders, a convoy of food meant for Gaza from Cyprus was turned away, leaving 240 tons of food unable to be delivered. The aid workers had just finished delivering 100 tons of food and were returning to deliver the remaining 240 tons when they were killed.

“Never before have we seen such rapid deterioration into widespread starvation,” Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, reported last month. And mass starvation at the hands of Israel is only intensifying.

Famine is “projected and imminent” in Northern Gaza, according to a UN-backed report on hunger in the region, while the number of people facing “catastrophic” levels of hunger has doubled over the past four months.

At least 27 children have died of malnutrition so far, with the number only projected to rise more sharply as the famine intensifies.

To date, 32,957 Gazans have been killed, including 14,500 children, according to Gaza’s government media office. Thousands more remain missing or are trapped under the rubble, meaning the real death toll is likely to be over 40,000.

At least 2 million Palestinians are internally displaced, and more than half of those have been sickened by infectious diseases due to lack of food, water, hygiene and medicine.