Israeli President Herzog issues landmark apology for U.S.aid workers in Gaza

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Israeli President Herzog extends condolences and apologies to U.S.-based chef Jose Andres over Gaza aid worker deaths

Israeli President Herzog issues landmark apology for U.S.aid workers in Gaza

Israeli President Herzog issues a landmark apology, marking the first time for civilian deaths, specifically addressing the strike that claimed the lives of 7 U.S. based international aid workers, rather than the broader context of nearly 33,000 Palestinian deaths.

Herzog conveyed his condolences and apologies directly to Jose Andres, the renowned U.S.-based chef leading the aid organization World Central Kitchen, expressing his "deep sorrow and sincere apologies over the tragic loss of life".

This airstrike targeted members of the U.S.-based World Central Kitchen (WCK), actively engaged in providing food aid in war-torn Gaza. The victims included nationals from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, a dual U.S.-Canada citizen, and Palestine.

People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on April 2. 
People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on April 2.

"Unfortunately, on the last day, there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip. We will investigate it right to the end... We are in contact with the governments and will do everything so that this thing does not happen again" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated.

The incident has sparked widespread international condemnation, including from the United States, a longstanding ally of Israel. Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the National Security Council, emphasized the imperative of safeguarding humanitarian aid workers, highlighting the critical nature of the assistance they provide.

Nearly 33,000 Palestinians killed since the war on Gaza began

Tensions have soared across the West Bank following Israel's military offensive against the Gaza Strip, initiated after a cross-border attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023. The Health Ministry reports that over 456 Palestinians have been killed and approximately 4,750 others injured due to Israeli army actions in the occupied territory.

This picture taken from the border with the Gaza Strip shows a national flag on the Israeli side as smoke billows during an Israeli strike on the Palestinian territory on Nov. 21, 2023.

Israel faces accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), with calls for more significant efforts to prevent famine in Gaza, where nearly 33,000 people have lost their lives.

According to the Education Ministry, Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have claimed the lives of over 6,000 Palestinian students since October.

Beyond the death toll, Israel's offensive and blockade of the Strip have exacerbated conditions, leading to near-famine among over 2 million Palestinians. Additionally, there have been reports of attacks targeting aid workers and civilians seeking humanitarian assistance.

Gaza aid worker deaths outpace annual conflict casualties in past 20 years

According to data from the Aid Worker Security Database, the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has resulted in the highest number of aid worker deaths in over twenty years.
 
In less than six months, nearly 200 aid workers have been killed, surpassing the annual casualties seen in any other conflict since at least 1997.
 
Afghanistan, Syria, and South Sudan, previously known for high risks to humanitarian workers, recorded lower annual fatalities during their worst years compared to the current situation in Gaza. The casualties include personnel from the United Nations and various nonprofit humanitarian agencies.
 
Additionally, the UN has reported over 170 of its staff members killed since October 7, marking the highest number of UN personnel casualties in its history. Furthermore, a UN report on March 29 revealed the deaths of fifteen Palestine Red Crescent Society workers and volunteers.
 
Source: Newsroom
 
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