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Civilians and Aid Workers Must be Protected

This combination of photos provided by World Central Kitchen/, shows seven aid workers who were killed in Gaza Monday, April 1, 2024.
World Central Kitchen aid workers killed in airstrikes, April 1. (Photos courtesy WCK.)

"These workers were brave and selfless. They show the best of what humanity has to offer when the going really gets tough."

Civilians and Aid Workers Must Be Protected
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April 7 marked the six-month anniversary of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that began with a horrific Hamas-led attack on Israeli civilians. At the same time, Hamas took 250 Israelis and other foreign nationals hostage. Since then, the fighting has continued mostly in Gaza.

Those six months of belligerence have so far cost the lives of some 1200 Israelis and foreign nationals in Israel. In Gaza, over 32,000 people have been killed and over 75,000 injured.

The fighting has also claimed the lives of 224 humanitarian aid personnel working to prevent a famine in Gaza. This includes seven members of the World Central Kitchen who died on April 1 due to three Israeli airstrikes on their clearly-marked convoy.

“The [United Nations has] affirmed the imperative of protecting personnel,” said John Kelley, United States Political Minister Counselor at the UN. 'Tragically, this has not been heeded by the parties in Gaza.”

“The United States is “outraged and heartbroken” at the deaths of these individuals, who were providing food to starving civilians in the middle of a war. These workers were brave and selfless. They show the best of what humanity has to offer when the going really gets tough.”

“Moreover, this was not a stand-alone incident. This conflict has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of the number of aid workers who have been killed,” said Ambassador Kelley.

“As President Biden conveyed to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on April 4, Israel must “announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers.” U.S. policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by Israel’s immediate action on these steps.”

“We also continue to do all we can to help deliver humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza through all available means,” said Ambassador Kelley.

“But these actions are not enough to meet the needs of the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Humanitarian assistance is desperately needed now, and it must be facilitated to mitigate the impact of an impending famine. Gaza’s entire population knows acute levels of food insecurity. Gaza’s entire population is in need of humanitarian assistance.”

“An immediate ceasefire is essential to stabilize and improve the humanitarian situation and protect innocent lives,” said Ambassador Kelley. “We have urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to empower his negotiators to conclude a deal without delay to bring the hostages home. We urge Hamas, as well, to accept the deal on the table.”