Aid Group Hit by IDF Strike Says Israeli Response ‘Cold Comfort’

On Friday, Israel announced it had dismissed two officers and disciplined three others for the killing of World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza

Israel said its probe into the killing of seven members of the World Central Kitchen’s Gaza aid team found that serious mistakes were made and punished five soldiers. WCK said the move meant little after the deaths and called on Israel to respect all civilian lives.

On Monday, Israel conducted a series of three strikes on a convoy of WCK cars, wiping out the group’s Gaza aid team. Several members of the WCK staff were from Western countries, including the US, which led to a rare White House condemnation of Tel Aviv.

On Friday, Israeli officials announced the preliminary results of the investigation into the attack. “It’s a serious event that we are responsible for and it shouldn’t have happened, and we will make sure that it won’t happen again,” military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters. The IDF dismissed two officers and reprimanded three others in response.

The CEO of the aid group, which was feeding some 500,000 Palestinians every day, said the Israeli actions meant little to the victims. “Their apologies for the outrageous killing of our colleagues represent cold comfort,” said WCK chief executive Erin Gore. “It’s cold comfort for the victims’ families and WCK’s global family. Israel needs to take concrete steps to assure the safety of humanitarian aid workers. Our operations remain suspended.”

The group’s founder, chef José Andrés, echoed Gore and added that Israel must protect all civilians, not only employees of his organization. “It’s not enough to simply try to avoid further humanitarian deaths, which have now approached close to 200,” Andrés explained. “All civilians need to be protected, and all innocent people in Gaza need to be fed and safe. And all hostages must be released.”

In a press release, WCK said that accepting blame was an important step for Israel but insisted it must do more. “The IDF has acknowledged its responsibility and its fatal errors in the deadly attack on our convoy in Gaza. These are important steps forward,” the statement said. “However, it is also clear from their preliminary investigation that the IDF has deployed deadly force without regard to its own protocols, chain of command, and rules of engagement. The IDF’s own video fails to show any cause to fire on our personnel convoy, which carried no weapons and posed no threat.”

“Without systemic change, there will be more military failures, more apologies, and more grieving families,” the statement continued. “The root cause of the unjustified rocket fire on our convoy is the severe lack of food in Gaza. Israel needs to dramatically increase the volume of food and medicine traveling by land if it is serious about supporting humanitarian aid.”

The killing of international aid workers has triggered an outpouring of criticism of Tel Aviv, even from Washington, which has typically refused even mild condemnations of Israeli war crimes. However, the White House continues to send Israel billions of dollars in weapons without any conditions.

While the latest scandal marks one of the first times the Joe Biden administration has condemned any Israeli action over the past six months, it is not the IDF’s first attack on aid workers. At least 200 aid workers have lost their lives in both Gaza and the occupied West Bank since last October. Overall, at least 33,000 Gazans have been killed, 70% of whom are women and children, per local health officials.

A long line of media reports indicate the targeting of women and children is intentional. This week, the Tel Aviv-based +972 Magazine revealed that the Israel Defense Forces frequently wait for suspected Hamas fighters to return to their homes before launching a strike, often with entire families present. Israeli soldiers say they are allowed to kill as many as 100 civilians to take out a single suspected militant.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.